Hello from Kiev,
I’m writing this as I soak my weary bones in a well deserved bubble bath. I don’t know what this hotel is costing me, but it’s worth every penny. It’s heaps better than trip advisor suggested, although the comments about the “ladies of the night” seem to be true – despite all the security downstairs.
First impressions of Kiev. A little bold and brash like Moscow. All the cars are new – poor little bobby wouldn’t fit in here. (I hope he’s still alive Leanne…)
It’s also quite a hilly city. I almost burst into tears when I walk down a big hill – because that means in a minute or two I’m likely to be faced with a gigantic big uphill.
A brother and sister from the Russia trip also travelled to Kiev, so we did quite a bit of site-seeing together. They went out to Chernobyl for a day, which I did think about, but I just wasn’t convinced that it would be 100% safe. They said it was an amazing experience. You got to go right into the exclusion zone. You even visited Pripyat, which essentially is a ghost town. Everything is as it was left when people had to evacuate. They went into shopping centres, amusement parks and schools, with books on the ground and writing on the backboard. Trees are now growing through buildings. They said it was amazing, like something out of a movie, but really eerie. Apparently the amount of radiation you experience is the same as a flight from New York to London. Plants are growing back, but they were warned to stick to the paths. It wasn’t a good idea to step on the radioactive moss. You also got the chance to go right up to the plant. It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to see their photos, but I’m still okay with my decision not to go there. The Chernobyl museum was enough for me.
I spent my time in Kiev visiting some of the local attractions. Including the caves monastry. It’s a holy site with mummified bodies of monks that pilgrims visit. Unfortunately South America has wrecked me for any more mummies. Nothing can beat the mummies in Nazca, Peru. But it was amazing to see how much the bodies are worshipped. I thought someone was going to set my head scarf on fire with their candles as they lurched from kissing the tomb of one monk to kissing the tomb of another. I also visited the War Museum, which is dedicated to Urkraine’s experience in WWII. It was eerie to see the war camp pictures. Apparently the museum has a glove made of human skin. I did see a glove, but luckily I didn’t realise that was what I was looking at.
On a more cheery note Kiev is a city of ice-cream. The weather is still in the high 30’s, and I succumbed to entering the fountains to cool off. Next stop is Vienna where the forecast is below 20 with rain. I won’t know what’s hit me.
Best wishes & lots of love