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October 11, 2017

Layover in Kiev Ukraine

In October 2017 I was travelling from Austin Texas to Yerevan Armenia and had a 18 hour stopover in Kiev Ukraine. Immigration is quick and easy, no long lines. On a chilly October evening, my flight arrived at 5 PM, I had researched before going to Kiev on transportation from Kiev Boryspil Airport to the city center, a cab river approached me and offered to take me to the city center for 50 USD, I laughed at him and negotiated the price down to 20 USD. There was an ATM, I changed money and was off to the city center. At the time of writing this 1 USD = 26.0485 UAH Ukrainian Hryvnia. So basically 500 UAH was my price for the cab ride.

I was staying at a Soviet era hotel, Hotel Ukraine.The location was just perfect, hotel overlooks Independence Square. Walking distance to Eating places, entertainment and shopping.

Independence Square kiev

The first picture above is the Independence Square, taken from outside the hotel and 2nd is the Hotel Ukraine, a part of Soviet History. The biggest advantage was it was right next to the main street in Kiev, khreschatyk street. I was there on a Saturday,  khreschatyk street was blocked off and there were bands playing on the street and tons of other entertainment like street performances.

The Ukrainian revolution of 2014

Outside the hotel is also a shrine to pay homage to people that died in the Ukraine  revolution of 2014

After checking into the hotel and a warm shower later, I was off to explore the city on foot.

I was there on Oct. 14th and it was Ukraine Defender’s Day with celebrations and a rally going on, right outside my hotel. Streets were blocked off to traffic, so I asked a few people what's going on and they barley spoke English, then I asked a young student who explained it was Ukraine Defender’s Day celebrations. Video I took is below of the parade

Then I took off on foot to explore the city by foot, Kiev has beautiful Churches and Monasteries, below St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, photography and video was not allowed inside, it was beautiful though.

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery is a functioning Orthodox monastery. It's a tourist attraction that includes a cathedral, bell tower, refectory, and gates, all built in Ukrainian Baroque style.

Above Photo - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (MFA) is the Ukrainian government ministry that oversees the country's foreign relations.

Ended up getting a bite to eat at a sandwich shop on my way to the hotel as I had an early morning flight. Then thought its a Saturday night, might as well have fun, so went to khreschatyk street where people were dancing on the street.

Made it back to the hotel just after midnight and the had the reception do a early morning wake up call. Woke up at 6-30 AM, shower and free breakfast, which was awesome and at 7:30 AM cab ride back to the airport. Again the cab cost was 500 UAH.

And was off to the Caucasus. First stop Yerevan.

What's your favorite thing to do on a layover?


1 comment :

  1. Wow... I can see how confident you were negotiating with the Cab driver. I guess this was your first time visiting Ukraine... We are often faced with some of these challenges visiting a place for the first time... But It doesn't really matter when the goal is to *explore*. Thanks for sharing your experience.


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