airbnb.com. In Ukraine, it's common to rent a room/apartment instead of checking into a hotel, but it can be a bit of a hassle to negotiate with the ladies at the train station who offer the apartments and to accept a place sight unseen. Airbnb is an international Craigslist of lodging- 192 countries and counting!- and makes it easy to find something more comfy than a sterile гостиница. We found a cute apartment in downtown Kiev for $100 a night. It was only 20 seconds away from the Lev Tolstoy metro stop, across the street from a vibrantly green park, and a very short walk from the main street of крещатик. There was even a microwave; pity we didn't get to use it, as it's the first time I've been around a microwave in the past 2 years and because it had a mysterious setting labeled "Russian chef", which may or may not have instantly replicated a delicious bowl of borsch, we'll never know.
|View from the balcony of our rented apartment|
|Independence Square on May 9th|
Living statues, Segway riders, and costumed characters also performed for the passerby.
|The pricey Hotel Ukraine|
|Taras Shevchenko statue|
|Taras Shevchenko university|
|old apartment building next to the Hotel Express|
Then we set off for one of my favorite spots in Kiev- Родина Мать. It was my second time here and the views were just as breathtaking and rewarding as they were on the first visit.
There's always so much to see here, I doubt we'll ever have time to see these churches from the inside.
My brother has always been fascinated with tanks, planes, and artillery, so we spent part of the afternoon exploring both the War Museum (about 5 uah to enter) and the plane/truck graveyard (around 3 uah to enter).
|Memorial signed by veterans of the Afghan war|
|IED clearing, Soviet style|
And then it was on to Kharkov...