Day 1 - San Francisco to Prague
Day 2 - Kyiv from the air
Day 2 - Boryspil International Airport
Day 2 - First Views Of Kyiv
Day 3 - Guided Tour of Kyiv
Day 3 - Kyiv - On our own
Day 3 - Night train from Kyiv to L'viv
Day 4 - L'viv with Father Ken
Day 5 - Radekhiv
Day 5 - Vytkiv
Day 6 - Trip to Kolomyia
Day 6 - Halych
Day 6 - Ivano-Frankivs'k
Day 7 - Bazaar at Kosiv
Day 7 - Between Kosiv and Kolomyia
Day 7 - Kolomyia
Day 8 - Zvenyhorod
Day 8 - Back in L'viv
Day 9 - L'viv with Orest and Vitali
Day 10 - L'viv - Morning walk with Dad
Day 10 - L'viv on my own
Day 11 - L'viv with Dad
Day 11 - Night train to Budapest
Day 12 - Budapest
Day 13 - Budapest
Day 13 - Szentendre
Day 14 - Homeward bound

September 19 - October 2, 1999

First views of Kyiv

Kyiv area
Monday, September 20

As we drove into Kyiv from Boryspil Airport and the driver described to my uncomprehending ears what we were passing, I snapped a few photos.

We passed mile after mile of those Soviet-style apartment blocks I had seen on the eastern side of the Dnieper from the plane. I was told later that most state-owned apartments were deeded to the residents when Ukraine abandoned Communism, and many owners have now customized their balconies, which I liked - it relieved the monotony - but the locals were apologetic. I guess they are too accustomed to the uniformity to be comfortable yet with individuality?


We were on Mykoly Bazhana Avenue as we crossed the Dnieper. This was the view from the Southern Dnieper Bridge, southernmost of Kyiv's bridges. I could see a huge silvery statue dimly visible on the skyline, stark and forbidding in size and attitude. That's the Dnieper in the foreground, with a huge island park in middle-ground, and central Kyiv beyond.

LYBID HOTEL - Peremohy (Victory) Square

The driver dropped me at the hotel, and I tipped him $5, suddenly feeling he was the nicest guy in the world. He thanked me profusely, and drove away. We were staying at the hotel Lybid, which looked bright and modern, and promised some relief from the misery of my trip. At the front desk, there was someone who spoke some English, and they had my reservation, which was reassuring, and they knew who Dad was, but they had no clue where he - or anyone else with the tour group - was, nor when they would return.

I debated what to do - sit and wait for Dad to show up, or do some sight-seeing. I had not prepared for this situation, so had no maps, no guide books, no plan. I decided there was no point sitting around, Dad might not know at all that I was arriving, and might not return until dinner time, or later.

I checked in, dropped my satchel in my room, and went for a walk, eager to see anything, though I had been traveling for almost 28 hours and was exhausted. The Kiev Circus was right across the street. I wish there had been time to attend a performance, but I was two days late, so had only 30 hours in Kyiv.

Western-style ads are starting to show up in windows and on small signs, but large billboards like this turned out to be rare.

Smoking has increased dramatically in Ukraine since Independence, largely as a result of advertising and other promotions (free cigarettes, for example) by Western cigarette companies. Details here.

I was eager to connect with Dad, so returned to the hotel. He soon appeared, having been at the airport an hour later than I - our very laid-back tour agency representative had failed to confirm my flight arrival time, which was earlier on Mondays. It was about 5PM, so we spent some time catching up on our recent adventures, then had dinner. I went to bed early, hoping to sleep enough to have some energy the next day.

I snapped a few photos from the hotel.

View from Dad's room, sixth floor of Hotel Lybid, lookng east. That's Shevchenko Boulevard heading away at an angle.

View from my room, also 6th floor. Looking east, but farther south than from Dad's room. Corner of Saksahans'koho Boulevard and Staravokzal'na Street.

View from the end of the corridor on the sixth floor, looking South. The big arch at left just above the trees is the railway station fromm which we departed the next night.

Corner of Zhylianska Boulevard and Staravokzal'na Street. (I did not get to ride a streetcar in Kyiv.)

I am a rail enthusiast, so I took every opportunity to ride streetcars, trolleys, trains, subways, etc., and to photograph them.

Views of hotel corridor and my room. The room was tiny, and a bit Spartan by U.S. standards, but clean, quiet, and reasonably comfortable. The plumbing was a mystery at first, but my persistence was rewarded, and I showered to refresh myself for dinner.


A Note on English transliteration and spelling of Ukrainian words:

Before Ukrainian Independence 1991, Ukrainian words were transliterated into English using Russian conventions of pronunciation and spelling. The Cyrillic letter Г, for example, was written "G". So the word ПЕРЕМОГИ, the name of the square on which the Lybid hotel sits, was transliterated "Peremogy". Now that Ukraine is independent, the more proper H is used for Г. (Ukrainian has the "G" sound in only a few words borrowed from foreign sources.) So the Lybid sits on Peremohy Square.

Other sounds are also transliterated a bit differently now. Kyiv's main airport, Бориспіль, for example, shows up with English spellings of "Borispol", "Boryspil", and "Borispyl". Boryspil is the preferred spelling. Kyiv itself, though commonly called "Kiev", is officially Kyiv. I have tried to use what I think are the correct spellings, and apologize for any mistakes.


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All text Copyright © 2007, William M. Senkus

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Created -- 03/22/2007 Revised -- 03/22/2007