The Village – Part 1
After spending the first day in Chernovitse wandering around in the rain trying to figure out how to get to the village of Babin (how many people have the same name as a village?), we finally decided that a driver was the best option. There had to be some old guy out there with legendary knowledge of the region who was willing to take us around for the day.
Most people don’t often put much thought into taking a cab. The process is simple: stick hand out, get in taxi, go to destination, pay taxi, leave. I tend to look for the oldest car possible; the car with the most character. Why? Because anyone still willing to drive a car that old, must have character himself.
We walked out of the train station hotel and surveyed the line of taxis waiting to ferry the recently arrived away. You had your newer European cars, come older European cars, new and old Ladas (not that you can tell the difference), and an older Volga. Bingo!
A Volga is like the Soviet equivalent of a Lincoln. It’s built like an ox and sucks up gasoline like a fish. There is a certain element of class, though, so it ends up being a comfortable ride fitting for the region. The driver was as we hoped for: old. He took our map and immediately did us one better by bringing out his own map. Within seconds he had Babin pointed out on the map. “Why do you want to go there?!?!”
I gave him the story I gave everyone else and watched as in his eyes this trip went from simply carrying two tourists around to guiding people with genuine connections to the region. This fascination proved itself over and over throughout the day.
Once the price issue was settled, we took off into the countryside. I just hoped he knew where he was going.