Ukraine: Valley of Daffodils
Valley of Daffodils is what the trip to the Carpathian Mountains was all about (and not the endless wooden churches). Many parts of the Carpathian Mountains are protected as Carpathian Biosphere Reserve (actually a UNESCO World Heritage site). One of them is the world-famous Valley of Daffodils, the only such place in Europe and probably the entire world. Absolutely wild daffodils bloom here in mid-May across a large expanse of open meadows and swamps. Daffodils aka Narcissus are showy flowers from the Amaryllidaceae family, known from ancient times for their medicinal and decorative qualities and first described in 1776 by Karl Linnaeus, who invented the whole genus/species classification system. The flowers are endemic to mountains of European Mediterranean and can only be found in the Pyrenees, Alps, Balkans, and the Carpathian Mountains. Here, near Khust, they bloom on a vast plane that turns almost snow-white in May as far as the eye can see. The smell is very strong and you are walking around as if in a perfume store. It’s an absolutely surreal experience and is by far the top experience exploring Ukraine so far, by a wide margin!