Day 1 - San Francisco to Prague
Day 2 - Kyiv from the air
Day 2 - Boryspil International Airport
Day 2 - First Views Of Kyiv
Day 3 - Guided Tour of Kyiv
Day 3 - Kyiv - On our own
Day 3 - Night train from Kyiv to L'viv
Day 4 - L'viv with Father Ken
Day 5 - Radekhiv
Day 5 - Vytkiv
Day 6 - Trip to Kolomyia
Day 6 - Halych
Day 6 - Ivano-Frankivs'k
Day 7 - Bazaar at Kosiv
Day 7 - Between Kosiv and Kolomyia
Day 7 - Kolomyia
Day 8 - Zvenyhorod
Day 8 - Back in L'viv
Day 9 - L'viv with Orest and Vitali
Day 10 - L'viv - Morning walk with Dad
Day 10 - L'viv on my own
Day 11 - L'viv with Dad
Day 11 - Night train to Budapest
Day 12 - Budapest
Day 13 - Budapest
Day 13 - Szentendre
Day 14 - Homeward bound

September 19 - October 2, 1999

Some family history, and Why I went to Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, with Vytkiv marked in red

My grandfather, Nicholas Senkus, was born in 1876, in Vytkiv, a village in the western-most part of present-day Ukraine, about forty miles NNE of L'viv. At the time of his birth the area was part of Austria-Hungary. After WWI it became part of Poland, and in 1939 of the USSR. In 1991 it became part of independent Ukraine. The area has always been considered part of the Ukrainian ethnic homeland.

Canada, and Saskatchewan - Hafford marked in red

In 1892, at the age of 16, Nicholas emigrated to Canada, leaving behind his parents and one brother, Ivan. He homesteaded in central Saskatchewan around 1900 near the town of Hafford, where he married Anna Waligurski (1891-1987) in 1907. She too had immigrated to Saskatchewan from the area near L'viv in Ukraine. Together they raised five children, the middle child being my father, Murray Senkus, who moved to the United States in 1939, and had four children, of which I was the second. Granddad died in 1958.

Nicholas Senkus, his wife Anna, and their five children: Bill, Nettie, Murray, Olga, and Mary.

Granddad at harvest time. He grew wheat, oats, and barley.

Nicholas and Anna, Saskatoon, 1962

Granddad's farm, 1974

A Few Historical Highlights of Ukrainians in Saskatchewan

About Ukrainians in Saskatchewan - Immigration and Settlement Patterns


My grandfather was very proud of his Ukrainian heritage, and instilled that pride in all of his children, especially my father, who has always maintained his knowledge of the language (which was the primary language of his home as he was growing up). He has always subscribed to Ukrainian newspapers (such as Ukrainian Weekly), corresponded with friends and relatives in Ukraine, supported Ukrainian causes, etc. Teaching his children to speak Ukrainian was less practical, since we lived in areas where there were no other Ukrainians, and grew up during the post-WWII era of McCarthyism and fear of anything that looked or sounded Russian, but Dad tried to share with us his love of his ancestral homeland.

In 1965, during a period of relative friendliness between the US and USSR, my father (with my mother and sister) made his first trip to Ukraine, and met his relatives there. Sadly, his father's younger brother Ivan had died the year before. Travel within the USSR was still very restricted, so Dad was not allowed to visit his relatives in their villages. Instead, they visited him in his hotel in L'viv, though with lots of gestures to indicate that the room was probably bugged.

1965 - (L-R) Dad, a cousin of Mom's, Ludmilla (Vladimir's wife), Vladimir (Ivan's grandson, standing), Mom

Dad returned briefly alone in 1970, and reconnected with Vladimir and his wife Ludmilla.

1970 - (l-r) Dad, his first cousin, once removed, Vladimir, and Vladimir's wife Ludmilla.

Dad was unable to make a second trip until 1992, after the disintegration of the USSR, and Ukrainian independence. By that time he was able to travel around freely, and visit his relatives in their homes.

1992 - Vladimir and his father, Stefan
Stefan is the son of Ivan Senkus, brother to Nicholas Senkus, so Stefan is my dad's first cousin.

1992 - Stefan, his wife, and their twin daughters, Maria and Lyuba
(Stefan died in 1993)

Since that time Dad has visited his homeland at least once a year.

In 1999, Dad invited me to accompany him on his yearly pilgrimage, and I gladly accepted.

Since I expected this would be my only chance to visit Ukraine, I asked if we could visit more than just the area where our relatives live. Dad arranged for us to be part of a tour group, with visits to Prague, Kyiv, L'viv, and Budapest. The dates of my trip were to be September 16 through October 4, 1999. I was to fly out of San Francisco, meet my Dad in Newark, fly to Prague for a one-day tour there on September 17, then join our group and continue to Ukraine.

Then came Hurricane Floyd, which hit the North Carolina coast on September 16, and cut a deadly swath northward through Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New England. All flights into the area were canceled, including mine from San Francisco to Newark.

Dad was just able to get to Newark by train (on a harrowing trip during which the train derailed, and the passengers had to get out and push - or at least that's the way Dad tells it), and flew out one day late, straight to Ukraine with the group. I was stuck in San Francisco until Sunday, September 19.



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Created -- 03/22/2007
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