Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category


Leaving Ukraine

July 7, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

suspension bridge wires

Friday morning, we got into a taxi and hurtled toward the airport. Neither of the taxis we rode in had functioning seat belts, which always makes me uncomfortable.

view out the airplane window at the runway

Back into an Air Arabia plane. Thankfully, this flight was also only about half full, so we had an extra seat between us.

bugs bunny cartoon on the drop down screen

They showed the same Bugs Bunny cartoon.

white, fluffy clouds out the window

Many miles of white fluffy clouds.

brown haze out the airplane window

One does not really realize how much of the desert is airborne until you see it from the top.

view of desert as plane is landing

Hello Sand Pit. Back to miles and miles of brown.

sunset pink clouds


Ukraine: Day Seven

July 5, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

Day Seven happened to be the Fourth of July and we are Americans. Where did we spend our country’s Independence Day? Why at the National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), of course. Nothing like celebrating Soviet heroes on an American holiday.

But, first, we went to the hydropark to see the miniature Kiev park. (You might remember our visit to Miniaturk in Instanbul – miniatures of key buildings of Turkey.) This is similar, although not quite as well developed or kept.

model of a blue church with golden domes

The hydropark is on an island in the middle of the Dnieper River. People come there to fish, swim, and bask on the beaches.

After this, we went by metro train and bus to the World War II memorial complex.

stainless steel statue of a woman holding a shield and a sword stands 62 meters tall

Mother of the Motherland stands on top of the museum. The museum is well worth a visit. All the displays are in Ukrainian or Russian, but there is an audio tour (which we used) and there are also printed explanations in multiple languages provided in each room. The displays were very well done and very personalized. Every display case had portraits of people involved – ordinary citizens, soldiers, and officers. The most powerful display, for me, was the bone grinder which was used to turn human bones into fertilizer. Mankind’s inhumanity is sometimes overwhelming.

To see all the pictures, click here.


Ukraine: Day Six

July 5, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

The walking we did on Day Five very nearly did me in, therefore, Day Six became rest up day. We did nearly nothing other than eat and sleep.

bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs

The advantage of renting a studio apartment, having a vague itinerary, and travelling with my chef is the freshly made hot breakfasts.

ironwork sculpture - bearded man with watering can

We did venture out in the evening to meet our friend for dinner. Walking from the metro train station to the restaurant, we passed this apartment building that has a blacksmith shop in the ground floor. I suspect that they never lack for heat in this building.

ironwork sculpture - knight's helmet mounted on the side of the building

Back to the neighborhood restaurant from Day Three, we had a lovely dinner with our friend Rupert.

light brown bread slices in a basket

Having ordered “white bread” this is what came. Rather healthy looking white bread.

salad of cucumber, tomato, onion, feta cheese, and olives.

This is my Greek salad.

pork meat, grilled squash, and tomato sauce

DaddyBird’s pork entree.

two pieces of beef steak with wine sauce

My steak with wine sauce. (There were a couple of other pictures I was going to add, but I cannot seem to get them to load successfully.)

We had a pleasant, relaxing evening followed by a train ride and walk back to our apartment. However, upon arriving we discovered that the electricity was out in our building. It was just our building. DaddyBird had planned for such emergencies, so he had flashlights. The real problem was sleeping, since DaddyBird has sleep apnea and needs a CPAP device which requires electricity. It was a hot and restless night. We can say that we’ve had the complete Ukrainian experience.


Ukraine: Day Five

July 3, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

The day began with a walk down to the neighborhood market.

rows of metal sheds housing goods for sale

The market area is quite large including many rows of metal sheds where people are selling EVERYTHING – shoes, clothes, purses, hair brushes, laundry detergent, etc.
At the center, is a building full of meat, fruit and vegetables.

fruit and vegetable market

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

golden church domes

For all the pictures and comments, click here.


Ukraine: Day Four

July 2, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

Soviet hammer and sickle emblem on an iron gate

Most of the museums are closed on Mondays, so we took a stroll through the historical heart of the city. Starting with a metro train ride. Then a downhill walk to the central area we had visited after dark before. Stopped into a phone store so that DaddyBird could get a local sim card. The challenge is finding a store where there is a clerk who speaks English. With that accomplished, it was time for lunch at a brew pub.

steep hillside rail car

Another metro train ride to a stop near the funicular entrance and a ride up the funicular later, we were on the top of a hill. At the top of this hill is the St. Michael Cathedral. Quite amazing and beautiful. We continued our walk to St. Andrews Church. By this time for me, the thought of climbing the steps to St. Andrews was a no brainer. I had a seat on the bottom step and people watched while DaddyBird scaled the hill and checked it out.

baroque style church on the top of  a hill

We continued on down the hill gawking and taking pictures all the way. Once we reached flatland, it was time to catch a metro train back to our neighborhood and meet friends for drinks.

red velvet wall hanging with a picture of Vladimir Lenin on it

To see all the pictures and comments, click here.


Ukraine: Day Three

July 1, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

A rather low key day spent wondering about, looking at our surroundings. Most of the time spent sitting, eating, and talking.

blue sky, white clouds, ornate gable of an old building

To see all the pictures and commentary, click here.

Public transport is old, noisy, and bumpy, but it is reliable and cheap. You might want earplugs for riding on the subway train, but it will only cost 2 Hryvnia ($0.25 US or 0.90 AED) to ride to any destination on the three lines. To ride the trolley buses (electric) it will cost you a whopping 1.50 Hryvnia ($0.18 US or 0.67 AED) for a single ride for any distance. Both the trains and the buses run on frequent schedules. During peak times, the trains run at 3 minute intervals and off-peak 6 minutes, or so. (Back when I was travelling by public transit in Portland Oregon, the intervals were 10, 15, 20 minutes and more off-peak.)


Ukraine: Day Two

June 30, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

brown toilet paper rolled tightly with no cardboard center

One guess what this is. It’s not very attractive or promising, but it is serviceable.

shoes placed on the heated towel rack

After the rain storm, my shoes were quite soaked. Luckily, we happened to have a water heated towel rack that dried them effectively.

We spent most of the day light hours blogging and sleeping and more sleeping. In the evening, we headed out for a walk to the downtown area (approximately 2 miles). It was just a leisurely stroll, looking at the sights …

ornate church spires

looking in store windows …

porcelain figures, a horse drawn carriage

and counting the many sushi bar signs.

orange sign for the Manga sushi bar restaurant

We stopped in here for dinner – Puzata Hata.

red sign over a restaurant door

It turned out to be a cafeteria style restaurant where one gets a tray and goes down the line pointing to food desired.

two trays full of plates and bowls of food

Here is what we ended up with. Chicken, potatoes, salad, dumplings, and borsch. This spread cost us 124.55 Hryvnia ($15.27 US or 56 AED). When selecting the bottled water, I had compared the blue label and the green label to try to decipher what the difference was. I could not, so just went with the green label. Upon opening it and having it explode, I deduced that green label means sparkling water. Blue label, therefore, is probably still water. Live and learn.

yellow building with a red roof, yellow bus, city street

We continued our walk downtown with my mood much improved with my hunger finally sated. The architecture is lovely and varied. It is refreshing to see an old, well established city with a clear identity.

mechanical candy making machine in the store window

We stopped into another Roshen candy shop. This one had a lovely candy making machine in the window to amaze children, young and old.

beautiful building with fountain, lit after dark

The sun went down and the lights came up. We stopped here for a while to sit on a park bench, rest my feet, and watch people go by.

The downtown area was full of people enjoying a pleasant summer’s evening. Due to the weekend the streets were closed to automobile traffic and pedestrians were free to wander where they would. Buskers and street performers were out and about.

In fact, here’s a little taste.

In the end, we took the metro train back to our neighborhood and called it a night.

For all the pictures, click here.