Practical advice for travelers to Chernivtsi and surroundings including
the Southern (Romanian ) Bucovina.

 Written in 2003 by Miriam (Mimi) Reifer Taylor

A visa is needed to enter the Ukraine. All payments to guides, drivers, restaurants and most hotels in the Ukraine and frequently in Romania too are in cash. Meals at restaurants are very inexpensive, $4-$10 per person for lunch or dinner. Hotels too are very reasonable by US and western European standards.

It is not possible to rent a car in the Ukraine and rental car companies in other european countries do not allow their cars to be driven in the Ukraine. The food everywhere must have been clean, because neither of us had any stomach troubles. Nor do I think that there is more reason to worry about safety or theft than in other American or European countries. Roads in the Ukraine and northern Romania are not good, but passable.

We flew to Budapest, rented a car and drove to Romania. It is possible to cross the border from Hungary to Romania at Valea lui Mihai or further north near Satu Mare, the crossing at Carei is closed. The border crossing was uneventful and took about 10 - 15 minutes.

We then drove to Radauti, where we stayed at the Hotel Fast. It is a very small hotel, 7 - 8 rooms, very clean, some rooms with air conditioning, good food and off the street parking, also friendly staff.

We left our rented car there when we went to Czernowitz. The people working at the hotel speak little English. In Chernivtsi we stayed at the hotel Cheremosh. It is a high rise building in the southern part of town, outside the prewar part. It is not beautiful. The rooms are about 4m x 4m there are two narrow but quite comfortable beds (same everywhere in Romania too), the furniture is shabby and ugly, there is no air conditioning, the rooms and bathrooms are clean, there was always enough hot water, toilet paper and old fashioned laundry soap.

The breakfast is OK, not wonderful, the restaurant for evening meals is very good with very tasty Ukrainian specialties. We had a translator- guide the whole time we were there. Her name is Zoya Danilovitch, she speaks excellent English, is a very decent intelligent woman, about 50 years old,
warm, understanding and respectful of other people's privacy.

We also had a driver who picked us up in Radauti and later returned us, as well as a driver who took us where we wanted, both in the city as well as outlying villages. The first was Pyoter who drives an ancient Mercedes, not air conditioned, the passenger seat resembling a bucket, the second
was Sasha Vasyuk, who drives his own car (do not remember make), also not air conditioned. Both  are very good drivers and never said or did anything objectionable. Pyotr speaks some German, both speak very little English. I think Sasha is the better educated one.

We paid Zoya $30 a day, Pyotr $90 for each drive from Romania and back and Sasha, $50 per day if we went outside the city and $30 for driving around town. By day I mean from 8:30 in the morning till about 4:30 in the afternoon. If we stopped to eat, at our decision, we always also paid for their food.

We made all our arrangements for our stay at the hotel Cheremosh and for a driver to pick us up in Radauti as well as to drive us around Chernivtsi through Zoya.

Hotel Cheremosh:
      phone: 38 03722 47518
      fax: 3803722 41314

Zoya Danilovitch:
     phone at work: 380 372 248 765
     phone, home  : 380 372 273 173

In Radauti we stayed at the hotel Fast  phone: 0230 560 060
                                   cost: 1400 000 lei including breakfast.

In Campulung we stayed at the Eden  phone: 0040 230 314 733
address: Calea Bucovinei 148
cost: 1 400 000 lei per night including breakfast
It is small, relatively new, very friendly, clean and the food is good. It is on a very busy road.

The nicest place to stay in the southern Bucovina was in Voronet
 near Gura Humorului.
Casa Elena phone: 00 230 230 651 or 00 230 599 600
cost 1400 000 lei per double room per night (do not remember if breakfast incl.)

I would go there for a long stay, it is quiet, surrounded by gardens, very clean, the double rooms are nicer than the suits. We did not stay there, just had a very tasty lunch, but had a look at the rooms.
It is a very well kept place, just as nice or even nicer that the pictures on the web site.

About finding gravestones in the Czernivtsi Jewish cemetery:  After having been to the Cz. graveyard recently, I have the following advice. Until 1945, the graves were generally in chronological order,
later graves are anywhere a space could be found. Looking at the graveyard on the 1941 map, in quadrant H e, it is divided by two perpendicular paved paths into 4 large sections.

My paternal grandfather who died in 1932 is buried in the upper right (north east) sections, My maternal grandmother who died in 1937 is buried in the lower right (south east) sections. The path parallel to the street in front of the cemetery is not very evident, look for it in the vicinity of the
monument for Eliezer Steinbarg which is on the left as one goes up the main path. The whole area is terribly overgrown with bushes, tall weeds and trees, in addition when this vegetation is occasionally cut, it is left where it falls.

Even if one knows the location of a grave, getting to it requires help. Local people working at the adjoining Christian cemetery have lists of the burial plots. They charge $20 for finding a grave and leading one to it. The best time of year to go there would be spring before the current year's vegetation gets too high. It is easier to photograph the gravestones when the light is not too bright.


July 2004 update 

Zoya and Sasha (Alexandr A. Vasyuk) still work in their former capacities and were as helpful and pleasant as before. The fees we paid them did not change except for paying $10 more peer day to Sasha, because of the rise in gasoline prices. The fifth floor of the hotel Cheremosh has been
renovated, now has double beds and new furniture, sheets and towels are better quality and the soap is toilet soap instead of the former laundry soap.

We found two restaurants which we enjoyed and which I would like to recommend. The first of these is "Slava" 2 Bohomolza str., entrance from Shevchenko str. phone: (03722) 3-52-14. This is without a doubtthe most elegant restaurant I have ever eaten in, the food is local cuisine at it's very best and could compete favorably with anything one might find in New York, Paris or London. We paid about $12 for a lunch-dinner of various appetizers, soup, main course and vegetables, desert and vodka.
The second is the "Kaffe Wien" or some variation of this name on the former Herrengasse. It is both an indoor and outdoor Cafe. We had a very good and large salad and beautiful but only passable "Torte". We sat outside, under large umbrellas, on comfortable wicker chairs. All very pleasant and elegant. The price, again, was very reasonable.