We made it!

Kiev Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
First view of the airport.

Going through customs and immigration control wasn’t too problematic, but it required filling out a form that no one told us about until we were at the control point.  The guard wasn’t helpful at all, just stared us down till be walked away.  Another passenger figured out that a form had to be filled out and we all did so and made it past the police control without any problems.  I was a little concerned because my passport is full • just about out of space for more stamps • I’ll have to do something about that next time I go to the consulate.  

 

Anyway, after immigration was customs with another declaration to fill out (kind of like going home to CA) and our luggage was x-rayed (also happened to me in Atlanta once).

On the way from the airport to the city, I was surprised by the enormous freeway! Reminded me a little of LA!
 Again, no problem of course, but all of the checking and controls makes me nervous.  When we exited into the arrivals area our driver was waiting for us and took us to the office where we had to go and settle our apartment.  There is a lot to write about that!  But, it’s worth a review and I’ll get around to that later!

 

We had lunch at 3 o’clock at a place called ЛУЗАТА  ХАТА (Puzata Hata) which was quite an experience!  If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a lot of different Ukrainian foods this is the place to go!  I hope that the Cyrillic letters that I inserted are correct!  Lunch was really good.

Crossing the Dnieper River.
  After that we headed to Khreschatyk Street which is a broad, monumental avenue.  It was a nice stroll down that street taking pictures.  Along the way we changed some money and got our first Hryvnas!  Michal tells me that the name of the currency comes from the word for "neck" since centuries ago, money was threaded on a cord worn around the neck.

 

When we reached Independence Square we headed up a street to get to St. Michael’s Monastery and Cathedral which is really beautiful with golden cupolas and painted blue.  Outside the monastery grounds there is an enormous esplanade between St. Michael's and St. Sophia's.  There is a monument that I liked seeing there - to St.

Along Khreschatyk Street.
Olga, Princess of Kiev.  It was built in 1913 and restored in 1996.  I took a lot of pictures but couldn’t take any inside!  It’s an amazing place.  There was a service going on and the monks and priests were singing in incredible voices. The combination of the beautiful music, amazing architecture, and the smell of incense and beeswax candles created an intense atmosphere.  I could have stayed there for hours.

 

After the main church, we went inside another monastery building • a white one with a beautiful wooden roof.  I didn’t catch the name of it unfortunately.  There was also some beautiful singing in there.  There are a few little shops around the monastery selling icons and other religious articles.

Along Khreschatyk Street.
 Some of the icons are really beautiful.  We looked at the things for a little while but then left the monastery and went to a little terrace café between St. Michael’s and St. Sophia’s for something to drink.  We made friends with a little bird there who came and sat on the back of a chair and eventually onto a table to look for some crumbs.

 

It was too late to go into St. Sophia's Cathedral, we'll save that for tomorrow, instead we headed towards the National Opera of Ukraine.  The building is pretty, and I take a few pictures.  The Opera House was built from 1898 to 1901.  Just a block away from the Opera we saw the Church of the Annunciation which is both a church and a fortification.

Along Khreschatyk Street.
  It is originally from the 11th century but looks like it has been rebuilt and restored not too long ago.  At one time, this was the main entrance to fortified Kiev.

 

We wandered around the area, looking at some fantastic buildings, including some of the University, until the Sun started going down.  Then we headed back to the office that was renting us the apartment that we were staying in.  The whole issue of the apartment really deserves a review which I will write!  The people in the office couldn't speak much English, but we could tell that something was amiss when we got there.  It turned out that the people who had been staying there before us had left very late and the place still wasn't cleaned up.  Instead of just telling us this, they kept on stalling for about an hour.

A church close to our apartment.
  Eventually they sent us to the apartment - quite an experience trying to find the place (I think the guy tried to make it a little more difficult so that we'd give the cleaning people a little more time!).  Eventually we got there - again, the subject of a review! It was interesting, because the building itself and the stairway led us to believe that we were in for an unpleasant surprise, but when we got inside it was pretty fancy - about 200 m2 and, I think, prepared for people coming for wild times!  Anyway, the place was nice, but a complete disaster - whoever had been there before had left a terrible mess.  The cleaning lady looked like she didn't know whether to clean or just walk away!  She was also concerned about how late it was and if we were going to be upset or anything.  What's the point in getting upset?  We told her not to worry - that we'd go out to dinner and that we'd be back late.  She gave us a key and we left. When we did get back - later that night - the place was just fine.

festerwretch says:
I ate at the Пузата Хата twice in Lviv, and I was only there two days! I thought it was great.

I didn't eat the borscht there, but I did have it in Ukraine, and I have to say it was particularly good - and I'm not a borscht guy normaly! :)
Posted on: May 18, 2008
paulkernan says:
Great blog. Long time since I was there - during he 'previous regieme'. Sounds like you are enjoying yourself and are a seasoned traveller too. Cheers Paul.
Posted on: May 08, 2008
homeres says:
but you know what, it's those hassles that make the best out of a trip, cuz you'll tell everybody about it! lol
Posted on: May 05, 2008
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First view of the airport.
First view of the airport.
On the way from the airport to the…
On the way from the airport to th…
Crossing the Dnieper River.
Crossing the Dnieper River.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
A church close to our apartment.
A church close to our apartment.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
Along Khreschatyk Street.
This is an election poster for upc…
This is an election poster for up…
Tulips planted along Khreschantyk …
Tulips planted along Khreschantyk…
Along Khreschantyk Street.
Along Khreschantyk Street.
Along Khreschantyk Street.
Along Khreschantyk Street.
Along Khreschantyk Street.
Along Khreschantyk Street.
Along Khreschantyk Street. View of…
Along Khreschantyk Street. View o…
Along Khreschantyk Street. View of…
Along Khreschantyk Street. View o…
Along Khreschantyk Street. View of…
Along Khreschantyk Street. View o…
Along Khreschantyk Street. The oth…
Along Khreschantyk Street. The ot…
Independence Square
Independence Square
St. Michaels Cathedral
St. Michael's Cathedral
Statue of St. Olga on the square b…
Statue of St. Olga on the square …
St. Michaels Monastery and Cathed…
St. Michael's Monastery and Cathe…
St. Sophias Cathedral in the dist…
St. Sophia's Cathedral in the dis…
St. Michaels Monastery and Cathed…
St. Michael's Monastery and Cathe…
St. Michaels Monastery and Cathed…
St. Michael's Monastery and Cathe…
Detail of the painting on the wall…
Detail of the painting on the wal…
St. Michaels Monastery and Cathed…
St. Michael's Monastery and Cathe…
St. Michaels Monastery and Cathed…
St. Michael's Monastery and Cathe…
Another beautiful building at St. …
Another beautiful building at St.…
Another view of St. Michaels Cath…
Another view of St. Michael's Cat…
Belltower of St. Sophias Cathedral
Belltower of St. Sophia's Cathedral
More detail of the belltower at St…
More detail of the belltower at S…
Square in front of St. Sophias Ca…
Square in front of St. Sophia's C…
A beautiful building in Kiev.
A beautiful building in Kiev.
Looks like I got this one wrong! A…
Looks like I got this one wrong! …
Another view of the oldest church …
Another view of the oldest church…
Another view of the oldest church …
Another view of the oldest church…
Opera House and Theater in Kiev.
Opera House and Theater in Kiev.
Closer up - the Opera House.  It w…
Closer up - the Opera House. It …
Another view of the Opera House. Y…
Another view of the Opera House. …
Detail of St. Michaels Cathedral …
Detail of St. Michael's Cathedral…
Small pavilion at St. Michaels mo…
Small pavilion at St. Michael's m…
St. Sophias.
St. Sophia's.
Checking out our first Hryvnas.
Checking out our first Hryvnas.
Cold Ukrainian beer!
Cold Ukrainian beer!
A friendly visitor.
A friendly visitor.
The Hyatt Hotel.
The Hyatt Hotel.
Another view approaching St. Sophi…
Another view approaching St. Soph…
This Monument is dedicated to Hetm…
This Monument is dedicated to Het…
Bell tower of St. Sophias Cathedr…
Bell tower of St. Sophia's Cathed…
Nice mosaic decorating the side of…
Nice mosaic decorating the side o…
The National Opera of Ukraine.
The National Opera of Ukraine.
One of the University buildings.
One of the University buildings.
This is the entrance to the office…
This is the entrance to the offic…
A Ukrainian way to drink a shot of…
A Ukrainian way to drink a shot o…
Detail of the belltower at St. Sop…
Detail of the belltower at St. So…
Kiev
photo by: Biedjee