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

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.

The Moscow Kievskaya train station. Moscow has individual train stations for each major city to which it sends trains.

The Moscow Kievskaya train station. Moscow has individual train stations for each major city to which it sends trains.

The inside of the Kievskaya station (Kievskaya is adjective form of Kiev). Yes, that is a hammer & sickle on the center of the back wall.

The inside of the Kievskaya station (Kievskaya is adjective form of Kiev). Yes, that is a hammer & sickle on the center of the back wall.

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.

I'm awake in the middle of the night on a train in the middle of nowhere. But at least there's snow!

I’m awake in the middle of the night on a train in the middle of nowhere. But at least there’s snow!

Kyiv! We made it! By the way, the word starting with a "Y" on the right of that billboard spells "Ukraine."

Kyiv! We made it! By the way, the word starting with a “Y” on the right of that billboard spells “Ukraine.” The ї = и (Russian) = i (Roman)

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 researched yet if Ukraine is doing the same. It’s possible they have, because all of the internet sites attached to the ads didn’t work (it was a little outdated), which is a good thing (of course we tried the websites, we were laughing about how absurd the whole thing was and didn’t believe that the ads were actually real).

On a more serious note, there’s one major difference between the women in Moscow and those in Kyiv: use of high heels. In Moscow, every girl, woman, female toddler (not really), wears high heels all the time. It has gotten to the point where it seems absurd. And most of the population look quite fake, ungenuine, and uncomfortable. In Kyiv, it did not seem as mandatory of a cultural rule. And so their women seemed more natural and comfortable, because they dressed more by choice.

Alright, moving on…some of our travel buddies were hungry so after dropping our stuff off at the hostel, some of us dropped into a Coffee House to fuel-up. I came prepared with breakfast on the train: yogurt, cereal, poppyseed bun. But I got a sandwich and a strawberry shake so I wouldn’t be hungry later.

My sister would be ashamed of me leaving this unfinished strawberry smoothie and whipped cream. But the milk here is weird. They put odd preservatives in it that make it taste funny (terrible) to me.

My sister would be ashamed of me leaving this unfinished strawberry smoothie and whipped cream. But the milk here is weird. They put odd preservatives in it that make it taste funny (terrible) to me.

Then we went to see the city.

The National Music Hall, for performances.

The National Music Hall, for performances.

A treble clef on the patio out front.

A treble clef on the patio out front.

And turning around…

And turning around, independence square.

Independence square. Our hostel was about 400 ft down the road in the top right of this photo.

Now I'm standing on top of the bridge area looking back at the Music Hall. Cool Clock eh?

Now I’m standing on top of the bridge area looking back at the Music Hall. Cool Clock eh?

Roof of the main mall in Kyiv. All of their malls are underground. Usually, they are underneath main intersections and continue underneath the adjoining streets.

Roof of the main mall in Kyiv. All of their malls are underground. Usually, they are underneath main intersections and continue underneath the adjoining streets.

Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)

Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)

Ukraine Hotel. It was on the left of the panorama.

Ukraine Hotel. It was on the left of the panorama.

Then we headed out the other side of the square and up the hill. Esther in Moscow told us that we miss half the city by not going into the courtyards of apartment complexes alongside the road so we decided to start venturing into them and chose our first.

Inside of a courtyard, apartment area.

Inside of a courtyard, apartment area.

It wasn’t that exciting, but in a simple way it was pleasing.

The top of the street opened up to Mykhailivs'ka square. It's kinda fun imitating statues.

The top of the street opened up to Mykhailivs’ka square. It’s kinda fun imitating statues.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the other side of the square.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the other side of the square.

And those who oppose the current government:

Communists! We dared not get any closer as we didn't want to get hurt.

Communists! We dared not get any closer as we didn’t want to get hurt.

We then headed towards the river to look out over the hill.

This is a cable train that we could take to get down and up the hill. We didn't take it but it looked fun.

This is a cable train that we could take to get down and up the hill. We didn’t take it but it looked fun.

I think here it was sealed that this was my favorite city thus far.

I think here it was sealed that this was my favorite city thus far.

Overlooking the Dnieper River

Overlooking the Dnieper River

And the panorama of the entire view.

And the panorama of the entire view.

We turned around and walked back toward Mykhail's Cathedral. It looked very pretty amidst the trees.

We turned around and walked back toward Mykhail’s Cathedral. It looked very pretty amidst the trees.

We then walked through the park back toward our hostel and found this giant arch which lights up in rainbow colors at night.

We then walked through the park back toward our hostel and found this giant arch which lights up in rainbow colors at night.

The entrance to our hostel.

The entrance to our hostel.

The hostel is 4 windows up. The room where I slept is the window with the satellite next to it. I slept on the top bunk just to the right of the window.

The hostel is 4 windows up. The room where I slept is the window with the satellite next to it. I slept on the top bunk just to the right of the window.

After visiting the hostel and picking up the rest of our group who had decided to nap we went out again to see the city. This is the southern side of the park from earlier with another bridge over the Dnieper.

After visiting the hostel and picking up the rest of our group who had decided to nap we went out again to see the city. This is the southern side of the park from earlier with another bridge over the Dnieper.

Kyiv has beaches!

Kyiv has beaches!

A cool entrance to what above reads "Antiquary"

A cool entrance to what above reads “Antiquary.”

The most racist thing we've seen. A Jewish restaurant with a Jewish statue counting his money. And something about a bear.

The most racist thing we’ve seen. A Jewish restaurant with a Jewish statue counting his money. And something about a bear.

After getting sort of lost in the part of Kyiv that was visible in the panorama overlooking the Dnieper (the part close to the river), we headed toward the hill-range and found this church on the way.

After getting sort of lost in the part of Kyiv that was visible in the panorama overlooking the Dnieper (the part close to the river), we headed toward the hill-range and found this church on the way.

This is Andreevsky Street. It has been preserved in an 18th century time period and was wonderful to walk up. It totally transported us back in time.

This is Andreevsky Street. It has been preserved in an 18th century time period and was wonderful to walk up. It totally transported us back in time.

It had this cool statue too that made for fun photos. It reads the dudes name below.

It had this cool statue too that made for fun photos. It reads the dudes name below.

Farther up the road an incredible old bus sat.

Farther up the road an incredible old bus sat.

Someone over here has good taste in brands.

Someone over here has good taste in brands.

Almost to the top. Along the sides of this road paintings and other souvenirs were for sale.

Almost to the top. Along the sides of this road paintings and other souvenirs were for sale.

Finally, at the top:

Andreevsky Spusk. Unfortunately, the government had let it dilapidate too much before they decided to restore it so we were unable to go inside as it is being renovated.

Andreevsky Spusk. Unfortunately, the government had let it dilapidate too much before they decided to restore it so we were unable to go inside as it is being renovated.

Plus, blue skies. This day was the first time many of us had seen the sun in about a month. To tell the truth I hadn’t really noticed until this day. I guess I just forgot about it and so it didn’t bother me. Then we headed over to this big cathedral that stuck out over the top of the city. Actually, it was a bell tower for the cathedral.

Days are short now. This is about 4:30 pm and is a preview of Sophie's Cathedral. We visit it tomorrow.

Days are short now. This is about 4:30 pm and is a preview of Sophie’s Cathedral. We visit it tomorrow.

I realized I hadn't taken any photos of police yet in Moscow. Some drive cars like this with a little different color scheme. The car is a Lada, Russian made.

I realized I hadn’t taken any photos of police yet in Moscow. Some drive cars like this with a little different color scheme. The car is a Lada, Russian made.

Finally, we decided to head home. But on the way:

The other side of St. Mykhail's at night.

The other side of St. Mykhail’s at night.

This globe stood in Independence Square and while we missed it during daytime, we couldn't miss it at night once illuminated. Some teenagers were hanging out to the left of it. Most of the young folk seemed to loiter around the squares and sidewalks of Kreshatik Street. It made for a very friendly atmosphere.

This globe stood in Independence Square and while we missed it during daytime, we couldn’t miss it at night once illuminated. Some teenagers were hanging out to the left of it. Most of the young folk seemed to loiter around the squares and sidewalks of Kreshatik Street. It made for a very friendly atmosphere.

After getting rather filling pizzas for $3 a piece we walked 20 more ft to the turn in for our hostel for an early night as all of us were wiped.

4 Responsesto “Київ Day 1 – 19 Nov 2009 (Киев/Kiev/Kyiv)”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I think I’m in love with your site. Or Russia, hard to separate the two. I am so crazy about some of your pics, the Antiquary, the “jew” sculpture, your landscapes, I make Glenn look at them with me. I can see why you love Kyiv. It’s not the most glamourous but it has an antique sweetness, an intimacy about it that comes through your photos. I’d love some of them blown up and framed. You have another gift, boy! You’re observant and have one hell of an eye.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m back. I love your music critiques! They’re a hoot. I’m sure I would have loved the concerts because, what the fuck do I know about music? But if I had your schedule, I’m sure I’d’ve been comatose
    I never commented the first few times but I actually loved reading about your studies and profs. Not that I understood any of the math but I read it to Wendy and we goggled and laughed at you and your friends with sympathy in our hearts. Also, I have a theory. Does the milk taste weird because of preservatives or other factors?

  3. LebCa says:

    I actually have no idea why the milk tastes funny. We all think it’s the preservatives though.

  4. Papa says:

    Keep up the good work

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