5 days in Kiev (part 3)
Day 3: We spent today with our friend's driver, Oleg Kryvoshyy, who moonlights as a tour guide. Oleg was wonderful, spoke good English and was very knowledgeable about Ukrainian history...our visit was completely enhanced by his narratives and unflappable driving. (He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org) We began with city sights: the "Great Gate" of Kiev immortalized in Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" symphony, St. Sophia's Cathedral with its lavish interiors (and stern docents enforcing a "No Photography" rule), St. Michael's with its spectacular golden domes, and St. Andrew's with its nearby Uzviz (literally "Descent"), a narrow, steep winding street filled with artists and their paintings...very Montmartre-feeling. Back at the apartment, we watched the moving and terrifying film "Battle for Chernobyl"...Chernobyl is a tourist site today, but very expensive to visit, and still slightly radioactive. (We were warned not to eat certain foods, like strawberries and potatoes, that grow in the irradiated earth near Kiev.)
Day 4: A beautiful, sunny day; near 70 degrees...miraculous for October. We went to Kiev's magnificent opera house for a matinee performance of "The Nutcracker". It was a brilliant, delightful performance, and cost us each the equivalent of $17...amazing. In the afternoon, we walked through the Botanical Garden and visited St. Volodymyr's (Vladimir)Cathedral. This bright yellow 19th century building looks like a wedding cake and is the headquarters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Quilcene, WA USA 10/25/12
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