Arrival in Kiev.
I don’t know what about you but I have serious problems in sleeping if I’m not in a proper bed and this means that although the berth in the train was not so bad, when the train arrives on perfect time in Kiev at 7:10, if on one side I’m eager to get out of the train on the other one I can’t say I feel very powerful. However I have to go through it because there is a long morning in front of me. I know already that the room won’t be available in advance but at least I agreed on leaving the luggage at the hotel. As first step, then, I need to get there. I’ve never been to Kiev but I know there is a metro line and I look for it. Luckily I’ve still some Hryvnia from the only time I’ve been to Ukraine, 5 years ago in Lviv and so I can buy a token for the metro. Metro is not busy as it is Sunday morning and most of the people is sleeping, lucky them. Finding the hotel is not that difficult, it is very close to the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the most central and famous square of Kiev, home of demonstrations leading to last political changes. Room should not be ready before 13:00, I have then about 5 hours to spend touring the town. It is a wonderful day and this gives me motivation to fight tiredness.
First part of the tour.
Finally I’m sitting in a cafe to have a quick breakfast and, at the same time, using wifi to plan itinerary for the morning. From the cafè window I notice an unusual movement of people dressed to run. Ukrainian could also be a sporty people but this is really too much. There is for sure some marathon or a similar event. I will see. Now having finally a planned route I get out of the cafe and I head first to the golden gate that is within a walkable distance. All streets around Nezalezhnosti square are going uphill since the square is in a sort of small valley. Golden gate does not impress me too much and I already start wondering whether Kiev is a nice town, I move to the second one the St.Sofia Cathedral. Well, if front of it, my doubts about Kiev fades away. This is really a fantastic sight. This UNESCO site is absolutely magnificent. With the ticket it is possible to visit also the refectory but the most interesting sight is the Cathedral where unfortunately is not possible to take pictures. When I get out of the monastery, I’m finally fully awake so I can see that there are really runners everywhere and that there also music and stages and all the typical infrastructure of this kind of event. This makes impossible to me crossing the mass of people ready to start the race or whatever it is and I’m trying to bypass it. In this attempt I end up in a very nice park, the Landscape Alley, that reminds a bit of Gaudi’s park Güell in Barcelona. That one has surely a better location, with this one being more oriented to children with its funny statues. It is Sunday, you can see it also from the market laying along all Desyatynna street next to the impressive Saint Andrew’s church. In all this happy mess of markets, runners (I realised there are several races all around the town) and people enjoying the sun I find also a small gastronomic fair with mostly local produce even if they have also a pale imitation of Sicilian cannoli. Now I would like to reach the funicular but before of it I pass next to Saint Michael’s monastery where there is on going some religious ceremony. I’m not able to understand what it is exactly but I go among the crowd, trying to respect the worship. There are popes leading the procession and people behind is singing. You can hear it here: Getting out of the monastery I reach the funicular.
Funicular and riverbanks.
Station of the funicular I have close is the upper one so I will go down to the riverside. There is quite a lot of people here so I have to wait two rides before entering. Funicular works with token as the metro. Drivers are women on both cars. It is not particularly impressive if you’ve taken one in your life because view is not that spectacular. Along the river Dnieper bank they are offering cruises with different programs and durations. I think the one in Odessa was enough. Little bit further there is a row of little restaurants mainly serving barbecued meat and vegetables. I give in to the temptation and I take a shashlik with aubergines. Price is based on the weight apparently without distinction between meat and vegetables. I walk a little bit more by the riverbanks then I catch a free wifi and I see an email from the hotel informing me that room is ready. I feel now all the tiredness and therefore I’m very happy so I move immediately taking the nearby metro. While I’m on the train I’m thinking that the metro station is more or less at the same level of the lower station of the funicular. Will the metro go uphill in just two stops? Answer is that metro does not go up. Is the escalator that does it with a trip that is probably longer than the one in the train. Once in the hotel I fall asleep. Zzzzzz
Hey, who are you? Did I sleep so long? Ok, joking. When I wake up, I don’t know why but I’m still not in the mood for Ukrainian food so, for the third time in four days I eat Georgian. However their specialties are so many that there are always a lot of options. Tonight I take the Adjaran Katchapuri, a recipe from Batumi. This version is peculiar because it has an egg on it. This time I also take Chacha, the Georgian firewater. The waitress, from Thailand, allows me to choose the best one letting me taste before all the available ones. This way is like having double dosage. Tomorrow I promise I will eat Ukrainian food since it will be my last evening in this country but for today I’m quite satisfied. Day is finally over. Tomorrow another full day in Kiev. And now, please find here following you the gallery from Ukraine’s capital.