Five Favorite Things in Kiev

Kiev and I did not get off to the best start. It was snowing lightly when I arrived on a Saturday in mid-January and then it proceeded to snow every single day for the next nine days. When it finally stopped snowing, no sooner had I started celebrating the fact that I could finally get …

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A Preview of Odessa

The first thing I noticed as we drove through the outskirts of Odessa was what was missing: snow. After weeks of snow in Kiev, freezing temperatures in western Ukraine and a horrible mix of melting snow, ice, slush and mud in Moldova, I felt like spring had finally sprung for me. The sun was shining …

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Crossing the Black Sea (Part 1)

I arrived at the UkrFerry office promptly at 10:30 a.m.  on Thursday morning and asked for Vladlen – the faceless man with whom I had been exchanging emails for the last month about the Black Sea ferry from Ilyichevsk, Ukraine to Batumi, Georgia.  In our most recent email exchange, Vladlen informed me that the ferry, …

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Another Homestay Gone Awry

One of the things I was anticipating the most during my travels was the opportunity to do homestays – living with local families, learning about their culture and sharing a little of my own. Unfortunately, they haven’t quite gone as well as I hoped. The latest chapter? Living with a seventy-year old woman named Alevtyna …

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Checking Out Western Ukraine

When people think of Ukraine, they tend to think of the capital city with the golden-domed churches: Kiev. While I enjoyed Kiev, I really fell in love with Ukraine during the two weeks I spent exploring the western part of the country.   Lviv   My first stop after Kiev was Lviv – the pseudo …

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A Trip to Chernobyl

The most fascinating thing for me about visiting Chernobyl was the 90 minute documentary we watched in the van on the way to what is known as the 30 kilometer exclusion zone. It isn’t that the rest of the day-long visit wasn’t interesting – it certainly was. But it didn’t feel as eerie or moving …

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