Living The Dream
Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
561Trip End Ongoing
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Realistically, I didn't sleep much on the train, so we both crashed for a couple of hours. Once up, we hit the streets of Kyiv. Independence Square was huge with some nice monuments. We walked up to a huge rainbow shaped monument with an old statue under it. It was of a Russian and a Ukranian man being friendly to each other. Very USSRy !!! We entered a park, walked past Dinamo Kyiv's homeground and onto a little bridge. All over it were padlocks with writing showing people's love for each other. Lucy wouldn't let me place one on saying how much I love myself !!! Next up was the old palace. It's built in an Italian style, as most of Kyiv was designed by the same Italian who attacked St Petersburgh, however it was covered in scaffold. Such is life. Next door was the parliament building where the Orange revolution took place. There are still tents outside as the elections were on last week. As it was getting late, we decided to get some dinner. Afterwards, we did the Ukranian thing. We grabbed some roadies and went back to the hostel. At 0.25 pence, it would be rude not to !!!
Kebabs for breakfast. This is the done thing in Kyiv !!! Actually, they were pretty good. Around the corner from us is the Chornobyl museum, and as we have a trip booked, we thought we should go. It told a good story, it showed the reactor before/after the explosion and what it looked like now. Now I can't wait to go !!! We walked into the city and along the way, we found St Andrews church. The paintings inside were great. It also looked very Italiany !!! St Michaels Monastery was next. There use to be one here that was years old, but the Soviets knocked it down. Once Ukraine became independent, a copy was built and is meant to look the same. For a building that's 7 years old, it certainly looks impressive. At the other end of the road was St Sophia. It isn't a church anymore as there was a huge barney between the Catholics and Christians, so now it's a museum. The inside reminded me of the Aya Sofia in Istanbul. The murals were awesome. Our last church was St Volodymyrs. Once again there were more murals, and I just stood there with my jaw on the ground. There was nothing else I could do.
Living The Dream
For dinner, I finally lived the dream. I've had Port in Porto, Kilkenny in Kilkenny, and tonight we had Kiev in Kyiv. If I die now, I've lived the dream. My life is satisfied. I am content !!! To make sure we were really happy, more roadies were consumed. This really is the life. Roadies and Kievs !!!
According to the LP, if you are going to the Lavra, make sure it's not on the weekend. In the Lower Lavra, there are a couple of churches but the real reason for being here are the caves with the mummified monks. Once inside, the Ukis stop at every coffin and picture, and the kiss it and cross themselves, whilst we just look for the hands or feet that are showing, which you do get to see on quite a few of them. In the caves, as a tourist, you are only allowed to see so much. Generally there are monks there to stop you going further in with the Ukis. During the second set of caves, I followed the Ukis in, and when the monk went to grab me, a Uki woman started talking to me and I gave her a few da, da, das, and he let me go. It wasn't much different, but there were a few chapels. Once out, we hit the Upper Lavra. The churches here were nice, but the highlight was the micro minature museum. There was a chessboard on a pinhead, a flea with gold shoes, a tiny lock and key on half a hemp seed. There were loads of other things as well. To see the stuff you needed to look through a microscope. How the fuck the guy made them is beyond me. Back on the metros, we went out to see the Jewish memorial. The Nazis had killed over 100000 people in what is now a park. The Soviet memorial was huge, whilst the Jewish ones were more humble.
We had one last day, so after dumping our bags in left luggage, we hit the markets to buy the Ukranian dolls for our Mums, plus I needed to get Paul that Di doll he so needs !!! The prices were way more expensive than L'viv, but there were more to offer. We bought a shitload of them, but not the Osama Bin Laden one. I figured that if it was found in my pack, I wasn't ready for the rubber glove !!! We then stumbled upon the last surving statue of Lenin. Fuck knows where they are all now, but the one that is left is quite small. Maybe he is not thought of very highly anymore, but he is part of Ukranian history, a history that not long ago ended.
Kyiv is a nice place, bigger and more expensive than L'viv, but not as friendly. The metros are always packed, no matter what time it is. I have never seen anything like it. I do have good memories, especially of the dream, because there is nothing like eating a kiev in Kyiv !!!