Thursday, July 28, 2016

Week in Ukraine

Yesterday we marched around Voronezh in the scorching heat, but enjoyed our day in the city none the less. More on that later! For now, impressions from my week in Ukraine.

Tuesday evening I arrived late, so we didn't do much except take a short walk and hang out at home. We were cat -sitting one of the strangest cats I have ever met and she took no time to get to know me by climbing right up on top of my head. Wednesday we had a full day walking around the city,visiting the America House, and meeting friends at a pub for live music before heading to the train station for our overnight train to Kharkov.

Extremely tired, but in good spirits we spent Thursday enjoying Kharkov, including riding several rides at Gorky Park. In the evening I went to meet my church friends a bit outside of the city for a fun evening of catching up after three years apart. Friday the weather wasn't great, but we made the most of our second day in Kharkov. It seems that in both Kharkov and Kiev scores of trendy, cute cafes and restaurants are popping up. Nastia especially enjoyed "Fresh Line", a subway-style sandwhich shop and "Франзуа" a bakery which advertiseres itself as a "French bakery with a Ukrainian soul". I can recommend the black&white croissants and bakery sandwiches.

After a cosy ride on the express train back to Kiev, sipping tea, eating German chocolates, and watching a movie, we were glad to sleep in our beds at home again. Saturday we had a quieter morning, but were full speed ahead from the evening on. We decided to have a "fancy evening", which consisted of dinner at a sushi restaurant and then a beautiful classical music concert  at the breath-taking cathedral "Костел". Tickets start at only 50 hryvnia and there is some sort of performance almost every evening.

Sunday I went to church in the morning before heading out to the village to visit Nastia's great grandmother for her 88th birthday. Even though we nearly fell asleep in the marshutka back to Kiev, we spent the evening in downtown Kiev soaking up the weekend city vibes.

On Monday we treated ourselves to manicures (for a discounted price since Nastia is the master of coupons) before picking Mario up from the bus station and heading out to the countryside for a shashlik party.  The 8 of us sat around speaking a mixture of Russian, English, and Spanish. It's so much more meaningful to visit a place and really connect with the people and be invited into their homes. We couldn't party too long though, since we had a busy last day in Kiev planned for Tuesday. We managed to fit in everything we had planned for Tuesday and even grab a quick last dinner at Puzata Xata before catching the bus to our next adventure in Russia.

To be honest I don't have any huge statement about the Ukraine I saw this week. Despite everything going on in the country, it's still, at the end of the day, the same Ukraine I fell in love with 5 years ago and I'm always glad to be back for a visit!

1 comment:

  1. Aw, sounds perfect, Chelsea! So glad you got the chance to revisit Kharkiv too :) :) :)