June 20-22nd 2008
On a bridge looking at Independent Monument Square.
Waking up early and catching flights is becoming a regular event in my life! This time I did it to go to the Ukraine. I had to fly out of Koln/Bonn airport. So I took a bus to the S-bahn station, then a train to another train, and then finally arrived at the airport. At the airport I learn that my flight was cancelled! I thought, just great, I’m going to get there so late, or there isn’t going to be a flight at all! I had to wait in line for 30 minutes for them to tell me that I was already re-booked on another flight. Luckily I arrived early and had time to run to the other check in counter and still make my flight. I fly into Prague and had a lot of time in-between my flights. I tried to sleep but that didn’t work out so I walked around. I found this free place to use the internet and as I was getting ready to sit down at the computer I glanced over to the guy next to me and he was looking at Eastern European women; naked and doing interesting poses. He was taking notes and writing stuff down on a piece of paper!! I thought weirdo! Anyway, I checked my stuff online, walked around some more and then ate KFC at 10:30am, a first for me so early. After breakfast I went to board the plane. I finally got to Kiev by 2:30pm, and hour later than scheduled. I attempted to follow the direction that the hostel gave me. So I took the bus to the train station, got lost, asked for directions and finally found the metro. I couldn’t read anything so I just followed the crowd, going down, down and down. I asked this girl, by pointing, how to get to my desired stop. She pointed in response. I had no idea if I was going to the right place or not, but I had to take that chance. I got out of the metro station, baffled as to where I was or where to go. So I said, screw it I’ll just walk and take a taxi, and that is what I did. I walked and ran into some interesting stuff, took some pictures then hailed a cab. It took less than 2 minutes in the cab, indicating that I did in fact get off at the right spot! I checked in, rested a little, and then went to find food. I ate at this place called Pizza Leggera. I had lasagna and it was delicious! After that I just sat around, met some interesting people, chatted for a while, watched TV, and then went to bed.
The bed was total crap so I didn’t sleep long even though the day before I had slept less than 4 hours. I felt more refreshed then I did the day before, so it wasn’t bad. I got dressed, and then went to the TV room to wake up more. I talked again with the people that I met the night before. They were heading out for breakfast so I joined them. We ate this bakery down the street, then I went back to hangout some more and these American girls that I met the night before were going out, so I joined them. We walked all around the city seeing the St. Sophia’s Cathedral, and Assumption Cathedral. We then ventured to Independent monument, which was a huge square with an underground mall right in the center of it. The mall was just like the ones that you would find in the states. I was impressed. Anyway we ate at Double Coffee the great chain diner that I mention I found when I was in the Baltics. They had it in the Ukraine too and it was just as good as I remember! After lunch we headed back to the hostel to take a little break. On the way I decided to go into St. Sophia’s Cathedral, which was a good idea considering right when I get in there it starts to rain. It was small on the inside but interesting and very old. After that I decided to go to the opera house and see if there was anything playing that night. There was so I bought a ticket. I didn’t know what the show was, but I didn’t care. I went back to the hostel and rested until the opera. At the opera I found out the name was Norma, an opera set in ancient Rome, so naturally it was all in Italian. The only downfall was that the translation was only in Ukrainian! But I read the acts before it started, so it was fine. After the opera I went to the hostel and talked to this German lady for an hour in German, which was pretty challenging considering it was late and I was tired! I finally went to be at midnight.
As usual I woke up early, changed, watched TV, and then headed out for breakfast at McDonalds! After that I just walked down the streets that I hadn’t been before in hopes to explore more of Kiev. I succeeded. I saw some really nice parks and buildings along the streets I choose. At the end of one street, I found more underground shops. I went under to check it out, and then came up totally disoriented! But what I had stumbled upon was great. They were filming some type of old film in the city of Kiev. I’m not sure if it was American or Ukrainian film or what really, but they had all these old time cars, and the extras had 60’s looking clothing on. I hung out there for a while watching the movie come to life, but decide that I needed to rest so I headed back to the hostel. I watched TV for a while, and then the American girls were going for lunch so I joined them for another round at Double Coffee! After lunch I had to go back and get my stuff to go to the airport. I took a cab, and enjoyed the hassle free ride! I got to the airport early and yet the flight was still late. So that meat that I had to run to my next flight. I thought I was going to miss it, but oh wait it was an hour late; which meat that I was going to miss the train and maybe not get another one to Düsseldorf. AAAHHHH. It all worked out though although I did arrive home 1.5 hours later that expected!
Kiev was a 3. Big, pretty, modern with plenty of interesting people and good food!