Page 4 of Vinovat Sudarynya Travel Blog Posts

Europe June 5th 2008

With Ana in Lugansk taking final exams, I found myself alone in the flat for two weeks. Faced with an unenviable choice between silence and Ukrainian television I spent my time outside instead, enjoying the summer weather and the city's collective lightened mood. One walk took me to the Lavra monastery, and the war memorial within the grounds. A tall, needle-shaped statue stands in the middle of a small courtyard, and the names of the commanders who died during the Second World War are engraved into grey stone plaques along the path which leads up to it. Sixty three years on, many people still leave flowers, such is the Ukrainians' deep respect for those who have helped to create their nation. From the memorial the view of Kyiv - the river Dnieper and, further, the left ... read more
A view of the city, from the Lavra monastery.
A view of the city, from the Lavra monastery.
A view of the city, from the Lavra monastery.

Europe May 26th 2008

As soon as it became light after 6 in the evenings there was no need to take the metro home straight after work. Instead I met Ana on Khreshchatik (between the ice cream stall and the breakdancers) and we walked up the hill from Besarrabskii market - past the statue of Lenin - to sit on the benches in Taras Shevchenko park. We sipped apple juice bought from a kiosk, and relaxed as the sun went down behind the trees. Every day a chess tournament would take place under the pagodas in the corner of the park. Dozens of old men in dark grey felt caps observed the boards in front of them, oblivious to the rain, concentration etched onto their faces. We spent one Saturday with Lyuda in Lisova, a district at the very easternmost ... read more
Couples dance in Teatralna metro.
Churches, Podil.
Churches, Podil.

Europe April 3rd 2008

It was a humble setting for an impromptu day trip. The countryside - far from the bright yellow corn fields and blue summer sky as it appears on Ukraine's flag - reminded me more of the clothes I was wearing: the sky from which cold rain was falling was the same dull grey as my jumper, and the fields as dark, muddy and worn as my jeans. We passed filthy cargo lorries from all corners of Europe travelling in the other direction, on the last stretch of motorway before arriving in the city. Small factories unattractively fill the no man's land between city and countryside. I was sitting with Ana and our friend Lyuda, in comfy seats at the back of a minibus travelling north-west from Kyiv in the direction of Zhytomir and Rivne, towards the ... read more
A turkey.
Lyuda's grandmother's house.
A Chicken.

Europe March 19th 2008

After four months below freezing the temperature has risen above zero - spring has arrived. My body feels more relaxed with some warmth inside it; sunlight, not pains in my back, wakes me up at 7 each morning, but I still stumble from my bed to the shower via the biscuit cupboard so clumsily that vulytsya Melnikova's other residents must think that Chinggis Khan's Mongol horsemen are invading again. The view of the Orthodox Church from my balcony - my favourite part of the flat - is disappearing spire by spire behind one of the dozens of construction projects which are dotted across the city. My kitchen now looks not toward one of the last standing splendours of Tsarist Russia but at dirty grey scaffolding instead; eventually I will only have another post-Communist housing block to ... read more
The Lenin bust in Teatralna metro.
A park near St. Sophia cathedral.

Europe February 27th 2008

Like most capital cities, Kyiv is home to people of all professions, nationalities and temperaments. But it's surprising the things which some have in common. One night in the autumn I was in a busy bar on vulytsya Zhytomyrska which formed the centre of a Venn diagram for "French people in Kyiv", "Russian-speakers" and "rugby fans" - the gathering of people with whom I spent this Friday night were just as intriguing: "Ukrainians", "members of the International Christian Assembly" and "rock music lovers". I imagined that you could fit everyone in this demographic into a phone box on Khreshchatik but - thanks to Lyuda's ruthless PR skills and the presence of a few misfits like myself and Ana to make up the numbers - there was a crowd of about two hundred inside the Lybidska coffee ... read more
Imprint gig - Vasya.
Vulytsya Mihailovska.
Rodina Mat War Memorial.

Europe February 18th 2008

Ana's mother came to visit at the weekend. We weren't sure what to show her in a town where we are running out of ways to pass the time ourselves, but Nadezhda Vasilievna wasn't expecting a grand tour; she has chased me from her living room sofa in Popasnaya often enough to know that I'm not at my most energetic at weekends. She arrived after a gruelling sixteen hour train journey from Luganskaya oblast' as fresh as the home-made smetana cake under her arm. Within seconds of stepping into our flat she had emptied the contents of two bags of food onto our kitchen table and set about preparing brunch: plates were fetched from cupboards, chewy black bread, chicken, potent cheese and ham were cut into thin slices and placed on them. The choice of which ... read more
Catholic Church.
Catholic Church.

Europe » Ukraine February 1st 2008

My life has been moving in slow, predictable circles lately; if only the same could be said about my ice-skating. Fed up of not doing anything creative with our weekends, we went to the Bolshevik Arena in Shulyavska for a Saturday skate. Everyone around us on the ice rink was in a good mood; teenage girls giggled and twirled past distinguished sixtysomething men in grey suits, who in turn glided past young couples, clinging on to fearless toddlers in bright woolly hats. Each accidental shoulder barge was met with a smile and a helpful push in the right direction. I just tried not to fall over, propelling myself with the same small, unconfident steps which I used to shuffle along vulystya Chervonoarmiyska's own patch of ice on my way to work on chilly mornings. After a ... read more
Dnieper bridge.
Vulytsya Volodymyrska.
Khreshchatik buildings reflected in a Post Office sign.

Europe January 21st 2008

It became so cold last week that on Monday my peach yoghurt turned into a block of ice inside its bottle during the five minute walk between the shop and my flat. Ana bought me a pair of black stockings to go under my work trousers and keep my legs warm, but I had only just managed to wear them in before the temperature rose again to a little below freezing. Respite from the frostbite. The grim, grey, snowless sky is so low each morning that it almost rests against the top of the buildings. My kvartal has become quieter since the New Year's parties with everyone reluctantly returning to work. People on the street are outnumbered by gangs of ravens, their black feathers fluffed up to keep the cold out, a nuisance to superstitious Ukrainians ... read more
The Olympic rings - Respublikanskii Stadion metro.
Newspaper reader.
The frozen Dnieper.

Europe January 8th 2008

Red, green and yellow lights adorn Kyiv's buildings - from its expensive boutiques to its listless housing blocks - to mark the end of the year. A sharp wind bites at my ears on days when I forget my woolly hat; the temperature has fallen to minus 13, but the only trace of the snow that covered the streets when I left two weeks ago is the white ice that fills the cracks in the pavement, like the froth on a cappuccino that has been left to go cold. I am not the only one who winter has started to sink its teeth into: on my way to work each day I pass three dachshunds in the courtyard of my building, who seem less than impressed at being lifted from a warm floor by their owners ... read more
vulitsya Volodymyrs'ka.
A statue to two of Kyiv's founders, on Maidan Nezalezhnosti.
The Golden Gates: Zoloti Vorota metro.

Europe December 12th 2007

There is a problem with our cosy new flat which neither of us could have expected: the pesky static created by a small room which is full of fabric. No sooner have we stopped bumping into the kitchen cupboards in a sleepy trance during the cold dark mornings than we are sent jumping into them again aftter being zapped by a dressing gown or the sleeve of a work jumper. Never before has a goodbye peck on the cheek been so frought with risk; I now have a little scar on my nose. Tales of the underground But I've become rather fond of my 28 minute commute. I can afford to prise my creaking back from my bed - which feels as if it was carved out of the same material as the angel statue on ... read more
From the 'Kyiv through the eyes of Afisha magazine' exhibition, autumn.
Khreshchatik in the snow.
Myself and Ana.

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