in which I am reminded of all the things I love about the former Soviet Union on an admittedly calm afternoon in Kiev (I just wanted to use that for my title).
Given that my layover, once I was through customs, was all of 6.5 hours, there was a significant portion of me that considered sitting in the airport for the duration of it. But that is so boring, and there was, after all, enough time. And thus, I traded $20 cash and hopped aboard a bus to the city, arriving at the main central station 45 minutes later. I jumped aboard the subway (cost: not even a quarter–I love Ukraine!) and got off at Arsenalska, where I purchased a map (a little less than $1) and walked towards the Pechersk Lavra. The way took me through a lovely park, scattered with various memorials, including my beloved eternal flame.
There was also a memorial (and (closed) museum) for the Holodomor, the famine forced on Ukraine in 1932-33. Sadly closed on Mondays.
The memorial from below:
And close up:
My destination was the famous caves monastery that is one of Kiev’s most famous sites. While I was unable to go down into the caves (they needed to be accessed by 4:30, and I wasn’t there until past 5), the grounds and various churches were stunning.
The gardens around the monastery were particularly lovely.
Really, Kiev has lovely parks and gardens.
My time was limited, however, and having seen what I could of the monastery, it was time to focus on something I had seen in the periphery, and which I knew was a short walk away. Namely, I headed toward Pechersky Park, only to find it even more fantastic than I anticipated. Check out the path into the city. How had I missed this my first time in Kyiv?!?
Really, the park was full of this stuff. It was awesome.
But, my time was running out. A glance at my watch and I knew it was time to head back to the airport. So I walked out, drinking a beer (Bile, for those who care and are in the know, which was a bargain at 7 hrivnia, not even a dollar–I love Ukraine!) and grabbed a bulochka with cabbage (mmm), then hopped back on the subway, to the train station, and caught my 11 pm flight on to Astana. Part II of my three capital tour had been a success.