We’ve found that one of the best times to visit Europe is in the Fall. Cool, erratic weather and persistent rain convince many visitors to stay home … but not us.
With the right attitude and good rain gear, even gloomy skies and unpredictable downpours can’t wash the color and fun out of a trip to Kyiv.
For most tourists, their best color memory will be the city’s beautiful churches. Kyivites are serious about religion, but that doesn’t mean their churches are conservative, somber affairs. From deep, rich hues to delicate pastels, color is the rule rather than the exception and these iconic cathedrals are a veritable religious rainbow brightening the cityscape.
A population of 3 million residents guarantees diversity – particularly in post-Soviet Kyiv. You don’t have to look far to see splashes of color and whimsy. From wall-spanning mosaic cats and color-coordinated food displays to a witness-to-the-revolution floral clock in Independence Square – all grab the eye.
And on our walk around town, something else grabbed our attention … food. We searched out Chicken Kyiv of course, sampled varenyky in all varieties, and washed it all down with a frosty, Ukrainian beer. Luckily, we stumbled on a popular, not-a-tourist-in-sight cafeteria restaurant which was the perfect place for sampling small portions of local favorites.
Trying new foods is always a high point when traveling, but one thing we knew but hadn’t properly planned for was restaurant menus and grocery labels in Cyrillic. Most people in Kyiv speak Ukrainian or Russian, and English is in short supply. The Cyrillic alphabet has 33 letters, 16 of which don’t exist in English. If you think this ratio means a 50% chance of getting what you expected … you’d be wrong.
Morning coffee brought the point home. I just wanted milk for my coffee – white bottle, grazing cow on the label … must be milk. Right? Let me tell you, coffee does not taste the same with yoghurt. Eww! Thankfully, there was a mini-market close by where I bought the who-would’ve-guessed milk pyramid.
James & Terri