Currently Browsing: Київ

Київ Day 4(3) – 22 Nov 2009 (Киев/Kiev/Kyiv)

First off, the promised night shots of Kyiv following our adventure in Chernobyl earlier in the day: After, I headed back to the hostel to get a good night’s sleep before our final day in Kyiv. In the morning we woke early and got onto the metro toward the southern end of the city to see the WWII memorial park and the Motherland Statue. We got off at the same metro station as for the Lavra and began walked down that same street. On our guide map there is a silhouette of something that looks like the Statue of Liberty and so we were all confused until we saw this: Then we walked to another metro station to see the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial. We saw these along the way: We made it to the metro and traveled to the north part to get off at Babi Yar. At our exit point metro station I finally had an experience where the language barrier really made a difference and I felt totally helpless. The metro exited to an underground market area, like it seems to do here and we decided to walk into the store to load up on some food. I brought up the rear and was a bit behind everyone, enough for there to be a gap to allow other people to cross in between us. I turned a corner around a pillar and noticed a young woman being directed by two older men. I didn’t think of it as anything at first so I lowered my gaze, and both them and I turned to avoid each other. As I lowered my head I saw her cane and realized she was blind and then noticed that each of the men were clasping her arms tightly, one man on each side. Immediately, I looked back up and saw fear...

Київ Day 2 – 20 Nov 2009 (Киев/Kiev/Kyiv)

Unfortunately, we got a late start (around noon) because we were all out cold for the whole night and morning. But at least we felt well rested for the long day. The weather was a bit eerie with fog steadily dropping as the day progressed. Once inside, we decided to visit the museum before entering the main cathedral. There was also a bakery and a living quarters building. Then we entered the cathedral. After rejoining the rest of the group they wanted to grab something to eat. Clearly, they did not visit the grocery store the previous night to buy breakfast for each morning. Muesli with yogurt and a double-decker egg & cheese sandwich (3 slices bread 2 eggs) is my daily breakfast of choice while here. Plus the banana for consumption approximately 2.5-3 hours after breakfast, and then the poppyseed bun or blackberry roll (as was the case today) for consumption approximately 2 hours after the banana. We cannot forget the small sips of water… Anyway, going inside Мистер Снек (phonetically Mister Snack) was rewarding in itself as I saw this: I grabbed a small sandwich and postponed my banana consumption for later, namely because the sandwich was called “Smiley” sandwich and the Smiley emoticon is some favorite symbol of Kyiv. It was mentioned a lot and we saw it on the walls of different places. Afterward we split up and the group I was in went to the Golden Gate, which was very similar to the one in Vladimir, but it lacked a corny diorama. But the interesting history made up for it. We learned that it was built to be the main ceremonial entrance to Kyiv in 1037, during Grand Prince Yaroslav’s rule. It also served as a fortification tower. In the 18th century, to preserve the gate from further dilapidation, it was completely covered with...

Київ Day 1 – 19 Nov 2009 (Киев/Kiev/Kyiv)

About three weeks ago we decided to go to Kyiv, one week later. But then Chris accidently bought the tickets for the following week and so we had to wait. But on the night of Wednesday 18th of November 2009, we boarded a Russian train and tried to sleep our way to Kyiv. It was difficult to sleep as we passed through 2 border controls which took about 30 minutes each and occurred around 2 am and 5 am. So I didn’t get much sleep. My built-up excitement fueled my adrenaline which powered me through the day. Let me just say before any further that Kyiv is most definitely, most certainly, without a doubt, 100%, hands down, my favorite of favorite places that we have visited here. It is beautiful. But more than that, it’s comfortable to walk around and explore. Moscow is too big to do this, and so while I am oriented in Moscow by the metro system, I have no idea how to get from one place to another by walking. In Kyiv, one can walk all over the central part of the city and walk down Kreshatik (great street) and not feel overwhelmed like in Moscow. The streets are a more manageable size and so seem more comfortable to walk alongside (you can see what’s on the other side). On a side note, (that had nothing to do with how much I liked the city whatsoever–maybe a little), the women are gorgeous. We were all stunned. The entire time. Everywhere we looked. I’m not saying Russian women aren’t pretty, just that, wow. And guess what, one can buy one and bring her home, as was advertised all over our tourist guide map. This is actually quite sad and while I read that the government in Belarus is trying to shut this industry down, I haven’t...