As mentioned in the previous entry, I went to Kiev last weekend. It’s the capital of Ukraine, an Eastern Europe country probably best know for the Chernobyl disaster - even though it was part of the Soviet Union at the time - and the more recent Orange Revolution. They also have the hottest prime minister alive, Yulia Tymoshenko.
I didn’t go alone, of course not. I’m not that much a fan of travelling alone, partly because I’m a coward and partly because I don’t tend to befriend strangers that easily. I’m not that repulsive, it’s just that I don’t usually talk to complete strangers and it can be particularly hard when I don’t speak the language. I can see their lips flapping, but I have no idea what they are saying1. So I teamed up with six other guys, among them Hallvard and Hans Olav. Seven guys with what you’d probably call different agendas for the trip, but the best intentions.
At first glance Kiev looks exactly like you imagine a post-Soviet Union city should look like. Grey, dark and foggy. That we arrived at one in the night might of course have contributed to the first impression. Initially we had a little trouble finding our hotel and the Guamanian Embassy was not too keen on letting us check in at their offices. But eventually we realized that our hotel was the building next door to the embassy. We woke up the six guards and the night receptionists and checked in at the Kozatskiy.
If you’re not too concerned about how a hotel looks, but you want a bed and a hot shower smack in the middle of downtown Kiev, I would certainly recommend the Kozatskiy. It’s cheap and most likely safe, being guarded by at least six guys that all look like ex-Spetsnaz. Why they feel they need them there should probably be grounds for some concern, though. And don’t expect them or anyone at the hotel to speak any English. That is actually the case for all of Kiev and most likely all of Ukraine. Some people do speak English, but don’t go there with the assumption that they all do, because you’d be wrong. Instead, try to learn some basic Russian, be aware of the fact that a P is actually an R and the H is not an H, but an N. It’ll actually make sense after a wile.
Just a few meters from our hotel we found a place to eat, Double Coffee. If you ever go to Kiev or any city with a Double Coffee, it’s a place you’ll learn to love very quickly. They serve food, coffee and alcohol at reasonable prices, they are open 24/7 and based on our empirical research it doesn’t matter how drunk you are, they’ll still serve you as long as you have some Hryvnia or a credit card in your pocket.
Kiev’s night life is also interesting. Drinks are cheap and the women know how to dress. High heals and short skirts or boots and tight jeans? Whatever floats your boat, my good man. Ukranian women might not all be super hotties, but they sure know how to dress. Thumbs up for that.
If you go to Kiev as a tourist to look at the sights you are also in for a treat. There is plenty to see but you want to go when the weather is nice and hope that you are not as unlucky as we were. The fog was thick and heavy the entire weekend and at times it was hard to see the top of the statue at the Independence Square.
All in all, our Kiev adventure was a success. If you live in Norway, you can fly with WizzAir from Torp for the low-low price of 268 NOK for a round trip. Highly recommended.
2009-02-13 11:44 CET