Monday, July 25, 2016

Europe Trip 2016 ~ Ukraine

Ukraine was brilliant!

I spent two weeks between a small town named Malyn about two hours outside Kyiv, a few days actually in Kyiv, and a few more days in Lviv in the south western region.

Malyn was nice for a respite from the bustling cities I've been touring. It was a very small city with a lake and a town square basically. Families would go to the dam to play in the water or fish or ride bikes. The town square was a meeting for all the buses. Malyn is an old city that hasn't been rebuilt. The buildings destroyed or rundown are still in states of decay. Lots are overgrown and sidewalks are uncobbled. But there is an old charm to be had. The people were helpful, friendly, and smiling! None of them spoke English so I was fortunate to have a translator with me :)

One of my favorite encounters was with a shoe repairman. My heels were coming badly apart and I didn't want to fix them in Hungary or Austria, so I had waited till Ukraine. One morning, my friend and I went to the town bazaar and the shoe repair guy. What a trip he was! A row of gold teeth on the top, skull belt buckle and rings, tattoos everywhere and wild unkempt hair. But he was grinning and happy and helpful and when he found out I was American, he wanted to repair my shoes for free since I was the first American he'd encountered. He wanted me to bring him back so he could repair shoes in America!

My new friend, the shoe repair man in Malyn.
I don't have many pictures from my time in Malyn. Mostly I went to doctors to get check ups that I could now afford and had the first experience ever of a dentist telling me my teeth were perfect. They didn't need cleaned!! (I haven't had a teeth cleaning in over a year so I'm going to get a second opinion on that). At the end of my time in Malyn I recorded a couple of videos with my new friend, pianist and sister. You can watch them here and if you know anyone interested in hiring us, please send them our way!

After Malyn I took a small vacation to Kyiv to see the sights. Kyiv is a great city and very large. I hadn't been in a city so big since leaving the US. I'd been learning Ukrainian while I was in Malyn so I got to put it to good practice as I took buses and trains around the city (it was far too large to walk).

Independence Square

My new favorite costume!!

Panorama of a very small part of Kyiv

Dreaming of the ocean.

Panorama looking over the Dnieper.

Statue of the Motherland
A life size scale of a mammoth bone hut at the Natural History Museum.

After Kyiv, three of us trekked to Lviv for a mini holiday; my friend, pianist and sister, Nataliia and a dancer friend, Richard.

It rained or was cloudy and cold the whole time we were there. Didn't enjoy that but the city was lovely. Walked around and around and around as Lviv is much much smaller than Kyiv. It's similar in size to what I am used to for European cities.

I wasn't hungry or I would have totally tried the black bun burger.
The third one is green, although it's hard to see in the picture.

This elderly lady stopped by the statue for a moment to cross herself and pay homage. It was a touching photo.

Nataliia's new "baby"...a 5 month old puppy at the string instrument shop.
The opera house in Lviv. No opera was playing while we were there so
we didn't get to see a performance, but the hall was beautiful.

We went to a cat cafe. Unlike Japan, the cats and human food are in the same place.
Nataliia had a very interested party in her food choices lol!!

Reaching for her share of Nataliia's plate.

I have so many more cat pictures but I'll refrain from posting them 
all in the blog and make an album separately. 
Some fabulous shots, funny, beautiful, and downright laughable.
I finally got to see an organ concert. Was disappointed when it was electric,
but it was a nice program. No, I did not use flash to take the picture.
Found a statue platform with no statue so naturally....

What a grand time was had in Lviv!!!
Despite the weather in Lviv, I had a grand time and I look forward to my next trip to Ukraine. Besides, I had just started getting the language down so I can't stay away too long or I'll forget everything!

I'll write soon of my following adventures in Krakow Poland.