Ukraine — the Chernoby motherland! Since I’ve spent my whole life wanting to visit and Arcadiy had already been to Kiev once for a conference, it was one of the first countries to hit the top of our list. Although I always suspected I would love the place I wasn’t prepared for just how much. By the end of our time in Kiev we were (jokingly?) looking at apartment postings!
Our goal for Kiev was to, essentially, live like a local. This was easier for us than it would be for the average American given Arcadiy is Russian and there are a lot of similarities between Russian and Ukrainian food and culture. And I’ve already spent the last few years getting used to him. We stayed in a super cute Airbnb and it felt like home for the first time in a while during our trip. This feeling of home was really what made us fall so hard for Kiev.
It was also officially winter by this point and it was starting to get cold for real. I even had to buy some nice winter boots, a fact that made our Russian relatives feel slightly reassured that we might not freeze to death. The cold didn’t stop us from going on some adventures around town. It is, after all, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe and history usually means cool things to see.
This is a super cute park that is filled with interesting statues and colorful artwork. We stumbled across it during a long stroll and didn’t find out until later that it’s one of the top things to do on TripAdvisor in Kiev.
This is a very holy site. Holy enough that women need to cover their heads and wear long skirts in order to enter the buildings. I wasn’t expecting the second part but, luckily, they have long skirts to borrow at every entrance.
It is so holy because it isn’t only a monastery but also a burial site for monks. The monks are buried in catacombs and you can actually go inside! We, of course, walked around the catacombs and it was fascinating.
The monastery itself is gorgeous. We spent an entire day wandering the grounds.
L’viv is in Western Ukraine, near the border of Poland, and has a complicated history. We were drawn here because it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraine. Overall, it was a bit of a strange city where we felt fairly out-of-place, especially compared to Kiev. That said, we did manage to go to a fancy all-you-can eat brunch that cost less than $5 per person. In case you weren’t sure, Ukraine is cheap!
You can take a look at the rest of my Ukraine pics here!