Опасная зона

Опасная зона

Friday, July 4, 2014

No Visa Required - Part 1: Kiev

During easter, Gilbère and I went for a little round trip in eastern Europe, covering Ukraine (Kiev, Chernobyl, Chernivtsi and Lviv), Moldova (Chişinău) and the rouge nation Transnistria (Tiraspol).

This will be the first post in the series, covering impressions from Kiev.

Flying from Warsaw, I arrived at the Boryspil airport in Kiev, where Artem (PhD student at a laboratory) picked me up. The ride to Kiev central station took us past an enormously large area of commie blocks, of which I unfortunately do not have any picture of, only some video footage. (Gilbère and I work on a full movie of the trip btw.)

The main railway station is truly a massive sight as well. Overwhelmingly, both from the inside as well as from the outside.
Kiev railway station
Subway system is build in the usual communistic neoclassicism, Kiev also features one of the deepest of the subways world wide, possibly only surpassed by Pyongyang in North Korea. However no official records exist of that, surprisingly...

Entrance to the subways are equipped with blast doors in case of nuclear attacks. This way the subway system also serves as a bomb shelter.

Blast door, not sure if door is sliding in from the side, or raised from the ground.

We moved down to the Maidan square, to take a look at the barricades. The transition is quite sudden. Kiev is a beautiful city, and looks totally normal, and suddenly you round a corner and run into a war zone full of barricades...

"I will not move, nor will I be moved."

Gilbère noted that most of the tents, represent various villages all around Ukraine.

Euro trash, possibly.

The building of the labour union. Employees have a day off, it seems.

The feeling at the square was very peaceful, felt more like some weird festival going on, where some people were wearing camouflaged clothing. The only real threat where people with tame pigeons and those guys dressed up as bunnies approaching you, trying to convince you to give them money. You must stay clear of them, no matter how sorry you feel for them walking around in silly costumes.

Gilbère prefers (just like me, most of the times) to what we call "minimize cross sections", meaning, trying to act locally and reduce possible vectors of approach for people targeting tourists.
This means, for instance, Gilbère takes pride in not to run around with a tourist camera and a sky blue jacket, but with a polyethylene shopping bag and dressing shabbily.

This time, though, he sticks out:

Hey Gilbère, recheck your cross section... 

Not surprisingly, the Sberbank Russia has a hard time.

On the entrance only a very laconic message was put up:
Handwriting says "Putin - fart"

Leaving the Maidan square, things got very civilized again. A few of my best pictures:
Governmental building. Note guard to the lower left.

Hotel Kiev, not sure if it was still being used.

During the grey spring time, a coffee franchise stuck out with their "space-cake" pink snails, forming obvious targets for hostile missiles from abroad. Someone should warn those people.

Most of the trip was just usual sightseeing. Going a bit further outside the most touristic parts, you can still find very beautiful houses, most of them in good state. Also (at least seen with Danish eyes) astonishing little trash is lying around. My hometown Aarhus is a filthy mess compared to the general cleanliness of Kiev.

Random corner somewhere just north east of the city center of Kiev.

At the end of the day we went to a faboulous Geogian restaurant Gilbère recommended, the НІКАЛА РЕСТОРАН. Place was deserted, yet the food was great indeed, and we got our personal live musician.

Those where ხინკალი, a famous Georgian dish. In order not to offend people, you must eat them in a special way, not spilling the liquid phase inside, Gilbère insisted.


We went back to our commie style hotel "Експрес", after a detour to the railway station and a strange posh karaoke bar. Hotel was great, I give it three hammer and sickles out of five.

Not much to be told, next day we had to get up early for the trip to Chernobyl. Stay tuned...

Full picture album available on picasa and google+..

No comments:

Post a Comment