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    • Day4

      Kiev, entre Occident et Orient

      January 13, 2020 in Ukraine ⋅ ☁️ 1 °C

      Kiev, capitale de la Grande Ukraine. Encore une fois qu'une journée pour voir ce que la ville a à offrir. La journée commence bien, il y a une bagagerie à la gare où nous pouvons laisser nos sacs ! Premier jour de liberté donc et nous partons, légers, vers la Laure des Grottes, gigantesque monastère orthodoxe inscrit au patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO. Architecture orientale et églises obscures, le lieu est sacré et deux choses sont d'or : les coupoles et le silence. On croise plus de croyants que de touristes, ce qui participe à l'ambiance solennelle de ce grand complexe religieux. En sortant, on déambule entre les chars soviétiques et les vestiges des conflits passés.
      De retour au métro, on vise une station au hasard, espérant nous diriger vers le centre ville. Plutôt bien tombés, on se promène au milieu des vieux bâtiments historiques, pittoresques au premier étage et commerciaux au rez-de-chaussée, le contraste est frappant. On déambule jusqu'à un marché de Noël et une patinoire locale qui clôt parfaitement nos quelques heures ukrainiennes avant de reprendre le bus.

      PS : Le métro de Kiev est le plus profond du monde. Pourquoi ? Pour pouvoir servir d'abri en cas d'attaque ou d'accident nucléaire. Le souvenir de Tchernobyl pousse à la prudence.

      PSS : Une petite vidéo de patins à glace, soyez indulgents, ça faisait vraiment longtemps.
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      Est ce que la patinoire est ouverte l'hiver ?

    • Day10

      Такие мгновения особенно дороги и в этом есть что-то очень уютное 😊
      Желаем и вам душевного уюта и хороших выходных😘
      P.S. в нашем районе последние три дня были спокойными, а на звуки сирен уже реагирую не так остро.
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      Рада, что у вас спокойно и Бодя в хорошем настроении, люблю вас



    • Day2

      Auf geht's nach Tschernobyl

      October 30, 2021 in Ukraine ⋅ ☀️ 5 °C

      Fahrt übers Land

      Es geht vorbei an vielen kleinen Dörfern, Häuschen im Wald. Ab und zu mal eine Kuh oder Pony.
      Kleine Marktstand an der Straße, viel Wald und einige Felder .
      Es sind andere Auto und Busse such mit uns unterwegs Richtung Norden Zone.
      Heute ist es ziemlich neblig, aber es ist nicht kalt.

      Es werden heute 1500 Besucher erwartet.
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    • Day2

      Made it to Kyiv!

      July 29, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      I’m really not the best person to recount the next part of the day as I wasn’t conscious during much of it. The way to our plane from the gate was by bus (which I managed to sleep on although it was likely less than 10 minutes) and then I also slept through the entire flight. Tyler did some last minute cramming with Ukrainian lessons on Duolingo (which included some LONG blinks as per Tyler) and then he made a new level on Mario Maker 2 (apparently with a very difficult ending).

      Cobblestone Freeway tour staff was right there after we made it through baggage claim (our luggage came) and escorted us to a small van to drive us to the Ibis hotel. I again slept for much of that drive. When we arrived, we had about 15 minutes to change and reapply deodorant and then had to be downstairs to go to dinner. Dinner was at Chicken Kyiv. A lovely green salad and the chicken Kyiv with mashed potatoes.

      I’m pretty sure everyone else is out exploring but we’ve turned in a bit early because tomorrow is a big day... Virsky!!

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      Have a good sleep. Enjoy every moment of the Virsky Workshop.


      I stayed at an Ibis hotel in Kyoto! Or would it be Kioto? :)


      So excited for you two... and all! Ditto... enjoy your special time at Virsky!! ❤️❤️

    • Day167

      KIYV kann auch schön!

      October 14, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

      Und dann gibt es in dieser Stadt noch so viel schönes. Wir hatten auf verschiedenen FreeCityTours die Stadt erforscht und verschiedene Quartiere besucht. Die junge Revolution und der Nationalfeiertag mit seinen nationalistischen Demos, ebenso die Ukrainische Küche die nur aus Fleischgerichten besteht sorgten für spannende Gespräche.

      Fazit Nadia: „doch nöd so schlimm, trotz Polizeistaat“
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    • Day1

      First Day In Kyiv

      October 4, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      Firstly I managed to navigate myself to my Airbnb quite comfortably from the airport despite having no data on my phone so that is a positive start. Also, the metro ride cost the equivalent of 25p in Ukrainian hryvnia. Lastly, not only is my Airbnb host very attractive and welcoming, but she is also a proud artist displaying some of her paintings in the apartment.Read more

    • Day2

      Cathedral City

      October 5, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      The beautiful architectural and ancient golden domed cathedrals dotted around Kyiv are certainly sights to behold. The exterior alone is very impressive on each of these majestic buildings and needs no further encouragement from me to view and admire them for yourself.Read more

    • Day4

      Kyiv Sightseeing

      July 31, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      Today is our main day for exploring Kyiv before we move on to our next destination. We had a slightly later start, breakfast at our hotel and then back to the bus for a city tour.

      Our tour guide Tanya, was a native of Kyiv and she was a really interesting and an informative guide. Fun fact: Kyiv was founded by three brothers, the oldest of which was named Kyi. This is where the city name Kyiv came from (Kyiv is the correct spelling, Kiev is the Russian version).

      Our tour was a series of short bus rides and stops at the main sights of Kyiv. The first was St. Volodymyr Cathedral (yellow church). This a church in the Byzantine style and is still an active church. We bought a candle to leave at one of the altars. In the process of buying it, I tried unknowingly to pay with a 0.10 hryvna coin (worth about half a penny). The lady of course shook her head and then I figured out how much that coin was actually worth and paid the 3 hryvni price (worth about 15 cents).

      The next stop was the golden gates which was the main entrance when Kyiv was a walled city. Here we learned a bit about Prince Yaroslav, who was instrumental in the history of Kyiv and built the oldest temple here which was started in 1011 AD. Apparently he lived to be 76 which was quite a feat in the 11th century. Our guide explained that the locals here joke that his statue is called “the man with a cake.” (see photo)

      Our next stop was St. Sophia. This is the oldest original church in Kyiv. We spent quite a lot of time in the main church. The exterior is now white with blue domes (in a Baroque style) but the original was with stone masonry. They have now uncovered parts of the walls to show the original stone. The interior mosaics were very interesting. Tanya was explaining that the frescoes on the walls were hidden with plaster and forgotten for 300 years, and were rediscovered by accident and then restored.

      Then within the church we got to see an artistic mosaic comprised of 1500 Easter eggs called “Looking into Eternity.”

      Another fun fact: the word hryvna comes from the Ukrainian word for the mane of a horse. Apparently this is because when the money was named, one single silver piece was enough to buy a horse.

      Next we walked to St. Andrew, the stunning church at the top of the hill. It has gorgeous deep blue/teal domes and the colors are just stunning! It is named after St. Andrew because in the 1st century he predicted that a large city would be built on that spot (where there wasn’t a settlement at that time). We were given about 20 minutes to walk around Andriyvski Uzviz, where there are many vendors set up along the road down the hill. Decided not to get anything here as we think there will be more interesting and unique options in Lviv.

      The next stop was the outside of St. Michael. This church was destroyed when Kyiv was under the USSR regime but has since been rebuilt. This site is also very important in regard to the revolution at Maidan in 2013-2014 as it was a refuge for people seeking safety. There is a memorial to the hundred heroes as well as a long wall with the soldiers lost in the ongoing war on the East side of Ukraine.

      Here we saw a monument of Cyril and Methodius, the brothers that created the Cyrillic alphabet (hence the name of the alphabet). Right beside this area, there is also a mural of Nigoyan, one of the first victims in Kyiv at Maidan in 2013/2014.

      Next stop, lunch! We walked through Maryinski Park to the restaurant. Another lovely four course meal (salad, soup, chicken shashlyky and potatoes, followed by crepes filled with apple). As with all of our meals, it was fresh, properly cooked, and very flavourful.

      The next group plan was to go back to the market streets at Andriyvski Uzviz. This would have meant walking around shopping at the vendors which we didn’t really need to do. Deciding to skip the group plan was not a difficult decision, especially since it’s our last day in Kyiv and we haven’t been to Maidan yet. So we headed off with a few other dancers that chose to forgo the street vendors. We walked in the direction of Maidan and decided to drop the boys off for a beer so that the girls could go shopping.

      Christine, Christina and I wanted to go to Всі. Свої, a very unique Ukrainian store that has only high quality products that were made in Ukraine ... Lovely selection of ceramics, furniture, and home decor. As we were shopping, we were talking about how we would have liked to buy some very impractical things to travel with - such as throw pillows, large soft blankets, or maybe a piece of furniture. We did spend quite a lot of time in there and turns out the boys were joking about us taking so long because we were buying a couch. We might have bought something like that if it would be possible to transport home! I landed on a couple notebooks with pretty patterns on them. A very inexpensive shopping trip given how much looking around we did.

      We eventually made it to Maidan, the main central square. In 2013/2014, peaceful protesters started to speak/collect due to the president declining to sign the agreement for Ukraine to join the EU. The president ordered the police to beat the protesters and for months there were barricades built right in the middle of this modern city square. Around the tall obelisk in the square, they have developed a memorial of what happened. A lot of the information posted highlighted the influence of social media in the events that occurred there. Approximately 100 people died during the conflict, many of whom were civilians involved only in peaceful protest. Tyler and I would recommend watching the documentary “Winter on Fire” to learn more about the events.

      Having been in Kyiv at this very place mere months before this began with Cheremosh in June 2013, I was really amazed at how much it has already been restored. If I didn’t know about the conflict, I wouldn’t have known anything had really changed this gorgeous square.

      We walked a couple blocks to find a non-touristy restaurant for dinner. Highlights were a yummy tomato, goat cheese and watermelon salad and Tyler had a cool dessert - strawberry soup. This was a vanilla panacotta served with a straw berry sauce/soup. I then headed to the hotel to exchange money with Shane and Tyler went with the others to see the deepest metro station in Europe (the escalator down does look very impressive).

      Another very full day! Tomorrow is one of our long bus travel days so it’s off to bed here!!


      PS Apologies for the errors in the original post... I was half asleep when I posted last night and missed some interesting autocorrects.
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      Nice mix of old and new. Churches look stunning.


      Your writing entices me to go there. It sounds really interesting.


      Sounds like such a memorable, beautiful day. 😊 ❤️

    • Day3


      July 30, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Wow! After staying up for 27 hours straight, boy did I sleep great. I don't think I even stirred once during the night. Apparently Brooke woke up 5:30 AM, wide awake and felt rested. She laid there for the next hour, trying not to disturb me, but was secretly willing me to wake up. I woke up around 6:45 AM (still an hour before the alarm I set) and we headed down to breakfast.

      Breakfast was a great European selection of breads, meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and hot selections. There was even hot cabbage rolls! European breakfasts are always so wonderful and fresh!

      After breakfast, Shane offered to take us for a quick walk to show us where to take money out and exchange CDN dollars. Took out 5,000 hryvni which was about $250 CDN. We also walked to the supermarket to buy a bunch of bottled water. Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the Virsky workshop! We actually went down to the lobby early so I could start stretching out the back since I'm a little tight from the day of being on an airplane.

      The Virsky studios is literally right across the street from our hotel, so everyone was dressed in dance gear and we walked over. The actual dance studio is on the 3rd floor with a main lobby area that we put our bags in. There was a bit of miscommunication where our group thought we were starting at 9:30, but the actual start time was 10:00 so we had extra time to get ready. Took some photos by the Virsky sign and also did a group message for an alumni wedding that we are missing.

      Going into the Virsky studio was quite the experience. The studio is massive, almost 3 times the size of ours and has a full wooden dance floor. The workshop was run by Halyna and Vova, alumni principle dancers in Virsky. We started with a ballet barre warm up. The exercises weren't the most complicated, but they were still intense because the instructors were quite critical. There were many times where they gave us corrections to the entire group for things to focus on.

      After a short break (pretty sure so the instructors could have a smoke) we went into center work and technique. I promptly put myself in the 4th line, not 1st but not last (Brooke was 2nd or 3rd line, much more confidence). The exercises were similar to what I have seen in the past, but I always find it tough to figure something out after being shown once (hence the 4th line). After the center work and some cross-floor, they split us into boys and girls and went through more jumping and spinning exercises.

      After another 10 minute (smoke) break, we went into combinations. This part the overall consensus was that they seemed to not have a real plan in mind for what to teach. They asked if we knew the Virsky Pryvit which some of us do and it turned into learning the different combinations from the opening of that dance. Brooke and I were able to keep up quite well, but that is because we have done it in big shows from the past few years. However it seemed that the two instructors didn't know the exact intricate details of each combination and I personally would have preferred to learn an excerpt from some other dance that we don't know.

      Final thoughts on the Virksky workshop:
      -very exciting to dance in the studio where they rehearse
      -great experience to learn from two people who performed with them years ago
      -it was incredibly hot and I was sweating like you wouldn't believe
      -A bit too short and it would have been cool to see part of an actual rehearsal
      -FYI they asked us not to post any photos from inside their studio so we will have some cool things to show when we get home

      After the workshop we were directed to head back to the hotel and be ready to go in 15 minutes. I don't know if we've mentioned it yet, but our tour is through Cobblestone Freeway so everything is pretty planned and arranged and there are 4 representatives with us as guides. What that means is that we have a schedule to keep and needed to be getting on our way to lunch. Brooke's opinion here was that more time could have been planned so we could have a moment to breathe. Anyways, we had the quickest shower of our life since we were soaked, changed clothes and headed downstairs.

      Lunch was at Salo Bar. The pre-arrangement of meals is excellent because we show up and they have everything ready. Lunch was a multi-course meal of a cabbage salad, borscht, meat cabbage rolls, potato pancakes (Dad you would have loved them), and perogies. It was all fabulous and delicious. Also ordered a round of beers with some dancers since we earned it this morning. Halfway through we were told that we were leaving in 5 minutes and we pretty much had a repeat of Nuremberg where I had to finish my beer plus some of the girls'.

      The afternoon consisted of memorial sight seeing. First up was the Holodomor Memorial museum. For those that don't know, the Holodomor was a series of famines in Ukraine that were implemented by the Soviet Union in 1921, 1932, 1933, and 1947. The Soviet Union forced Ukrainians to meet unreachable harvest quotas, which meant there was not enough food for the actual people of Ukraine, and millions died of starvation. I was aware of these events but what I didn't know was that the truth was censored for over 50 years. We watched a short 15 minute video and then had a tour of the rest of the museum. I really liked the main memorial called the Candle of Memory which was encased in a metal cross representing how Ukraine was like a prison.

      Next we were driven to the World War II memorial. Our guides gave us some background information on when Ukraine entered the war, their roles, and the battle that was fought around the Dnipro River. The main statue was a really tall monument called "Motherland" that was built in 1981. The statue is holding a sword and shield. Interesting facts were that the shield was embellished with a Soviet Union symbol and when Ukrainian government outlawed the symbol it was deemed too expensive to remove. And a myth around the sword was that the sword was cut off so that it would not be taller than the crosses on Valgra Church, who knows if that is true.

      We then headed back to the hotel. Brooke stopped off early to go body suit shopping with some girls and was very successful. I went and had a beer in the hotel bar with the guys. Then it was time to head for dinner.

      Dinner was a multi-course meal with a small group of dancers / singers performing for us. It was so nice to be performed to for once! The food was delicious and very abundant. Some of the highlights were the potato pancakes (Dad you must be so jealous), grilled beef, and the sour cherry perogies for dessert. The small performing group sang for us and also had everyone come up at different times throughout dinner and do folk dances with them.

      Another traditional part of a Ukrainian meal is vodka toasts. The tradition is to do 5 toasts throughout dinner and the toasts are to: 1. The Host, 2. Friends, 3. Love, 4. Parents / Grandparents, 5. Good Health. The restaurant had an incredible cherry vodka that was very easy to go down. The toasts went fairly quickly and then it was custom toasts afterwards. We also can't end on an even number so I think we finished at 13 in total (the pours started to be smaller as the night went on)

      Finishing off the night with a drink with the dancers at the hotel bar. Tomorrow is a city tour of Kyiv.

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      Sounds like an awesome day!! Lovely photos. Beautiful moments! Hugs to you both!


      A full day....... Potato pancakes and vodka shots now I am jealous. Sounds like a great day


      Sounds delicious!


      As always, an excellent description of the food Tyler! 😋

    • Jul19

      Kiev - Майдан Незалежності

      July 19, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      We arrived in Kiev by plane from Riga. Our hostel was right next to Майдан Незалежності, Independence Square, a noisy, busy meeting place full of fountains, bars and street performers.
      The Square has also always been a rallying point for protests and demonstrations and was the central point of the 'revolution' in 2014. In fact, while wandering around in the evening, we suddenly noticed a huge group of people with red balloons gathering around a big monunent at the end of the square. Despite being handed a balloon and invited to join in, we didn't manage to find out much about what was going on except that it was something to do with the president.
      We ventured a little further from Independence Square to St. Michael's Golden Domed Monastery and St. Sophia's Cathedral and had a good look around at lots of huge Russian style church buildings. Also in that area we did a brilliant Matrix themed escape room, which was the first time we've attempted one just the two of us. We weren't quite at the top of our escaping skills but really enjoyed it and only finished a couple of minutes late.
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      Vera and Tom

      St. Micheal's

      Vera and Tom

      St. Sophia's

      Vera and Tom

      Morpheus and Neo

      Vera and Tom

      A surpsingly good boozy cherry drink , recommended by Anna at a bar right next to our hostel


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