Just over two weeks ago, my wife and I visited the town of Dolyna, 60 km west of Ivano-Frankivsk. I wrote about the trip here, praising this curious town of two halves as a hidden gem, off the beaten track. It’s not the most obvious tourist destination, but Dolyna does give you an interesting insight into the broader history of this part of the world, combining 1000 years of industrial heritage alongside mixture of Polish, Austrian, Jewish, Soviet and Ukrainian legacies and architecture, as well as local Boyko folklore.
Today in my inbox I saw an e-mail titled ‘From Dolyna ))’ from someone called Володимир Гаразд/ Volodymyr Harazd. The surname made me smile, as Гаразд in Ukrainian means ‘OK!’ or even, according to Google translate, ‘Okey-Dokey!‘ It turns out that Mr. Harazd is the mayor of Dolyna and was aware of the blog post. His letter included the following: ‘It was very interesting for me as the City Mayor and Dolyna citizen to read about your impressions of the time spent in our town. When you live all your life in this place you stop noticing some interesting things. Your fresh perspective is really valuable for us. Thank you for your sincerity and pleasant words about Dolyna,’ while also acknowledging that he will take my ‘criticism’ into account.
I am very impressed that the Mayor of Dolyna took the time to write to me, and did so in perfect English. So hats off to Mayor Harazd! The town seemed really clean and tidy, with good infrastructure, although the first impressions arriving at the bus station are a bit off-putting. A few tourist signs and a bit of promotion, and Dolyna could become a bit of an attraction. Especially if those responsible for promoting Ivano-Frankivsk realise that the only way the city can thrive as a tourist destination is if it cooperates with surrounding towns. Ivano-Frankivsk is lovely, but it’s the kind of place where a day and a half is enough. But incorporating Kolomyya, Dolyna, Halych and Manyava, as well as the Carpathian mountain resorts, as attractions while promoting the region as a whole, then it could take off, or at least compete for visitors with Lviv.
I also received feedback yesterday from one of the co-owners of 23 Restorany, the group behind Fabbrica, the Ukrainian-Italian restaurant, which I wrote about here and here. He was very happy to have received a ‘nice objective review’ and asked for more feedback from me about the experience. I suppose the various reviews and comments full of praise do little to help a new business, whereas a bit of constructive criticism can hopefully help the place – which has a great concept – thrive.
I’m not an expert on restaurants, nor have I worked in tourism, but it is pleasing to have contact from people in the region who are interested in what you have to say. And thanks to that make you feel part of the community.