Looking out towards St. Sophia's Cathedral in downtown Kyiv

My first international trip… Ukraine!

Part of the Maidan, or square, in downtown Kyiv.
Part of the Maidan, or square, in downtown Kyiv.

My first international trip ever was to Ukraine. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone! I’d really only explored some parts of the US and outside of a trip to Calgary, I had never left the US. That all changed the summer of 2012. I happened to have a couple of good friends who work for the US government and at the time, were stationed in Kyiv, Ukraine. So I figured, why not! Let me say I was not prepared for the almost 20 hours of travel to get from Denver to Kyiv…

Standing in front of the Ukrainian President's office.
Standing in front of the Ukrainian President’s office.

 

I arrived in Kyiv to find the county of Ukraine preparing to host the 2012 Euro Cup. As part of this, the city was alive with all sorts of cleanup and construction. They were anticipating many football (soccer) fans in the capital city, along with the other hosting cities in Ukraine. The first few days of my stay I explored around downtown Kyiv which is rich in history and churches. The picture here is showing the giant half soccer ball that is covering a large window. 1 level below the street there is a shopping mall. Below the mall is the entrance to the metro (subway).

 

Workers restoring the cobblestone road that is the Andriyivsky Decent that leads from upper Kyiv down to the Podil neighborhood.
Workers restoring the cobblestone road that is the Andriyivsky Decent that leads from upper Kyiv down to the Podil neighborhood.

The upper town of old Kyiv sits on a hill. The river is down the hill in a neighborhood called Podil. There are a couple of ways to get from upper town to lower town. One of those ways is to take the funicular up and down the hill. It takes less than a couple of minutes and costs about .25 cents US. The other way is to walk the Andriyivsky Decent. The decent is lined with merchants during the day selling all types of items. When I was there, they city was rebuilding the cobblestone street in preparations for the Euro Cup.

I was fortunate to stay 2 weeks in Ukraine on this first international trip. In addition to exploring Kyiv, I was able to spend a weekend in Odessa, which is a port city on the Black Sea. Additionally, my buddy and I took a day trip to tour the Chernobyl nuclear site. That was quite an experience but the stories will have to wait for another post…

 

 

 

More info on Kyiv:

Wikipedia page for Kyiv

Kyiv Post Newspaper

Visit Kiev Website