I was flying through Kiev on my way to Turkey, and for an extra $20, had a 36 hour layover which gave me some time to explore Ukraine’s gorgeous capital.

I must admit that I had rather low expectations for the city, but was pleasantly surprised by the architecture and the feel of the old streets. With the temperature below 0 both days, I was amused by the fashionable coats and heeled boots a lot of women wore.

I left my suitcase at the airport’s Left Luggage and set out on a shuttle bus. On this bus, I met one of the few people who spoke English–he was a sweetheart and helped me figure out which way to take the subway.

When I emerged from the subway in Independence Square, it was to this:

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The square was the place of many revolutions, including one two years ago, and I was intrigued to see one building being reconstructed that had pink paint splotches symoblising those that had died.

I was excited to see a Christmas market being constructed between St. Sophia’s and St. Michael’s, and would have loved to be back in a week to see how it looked with all the vendors selling.

St. Michael’s with its golden domes was one of the most marvellous cathedrals I’d ever seen, glittering in the sun.WP_008944 WP_008945 WP_008946 WP_008953 WP_008974

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St. Andrew’s Church
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All along the sides of many streets, vendors sold handcrafted items–from paintings and ornaments to cozy socks and pretty bags.
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Lunch: including borscht which was some of the best soup I’ve ever had, and chicken Kiev.
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This was my favourite of Kiev’s monuments: these two lampposts in love. Supposedly if you and your lover kiss next to them, you’ll stay together.

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This bird’s tail though. Even Kiev’s birds are cool.
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Just random buildings next to a random monument!
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St. Sophia’s Cathedral by night.
The Golden Gate--one of the two original entrances to Kiev.
The Golden Gate–one of the two original entrances to Kiev.

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I stayed at the hostel TIU Kreschatik and totally recommend it–though small, it was in a fantastic location and the staff was friendly.