3rd Jun 2011 - Trail blazing Eastern Europe
The final stop - Kiev
The sleeper train to Kiev was due to take about 11 hours. We boarded at 10pm and found our cabin. We got a 4 berth cabin which is always a bit of a gamble but we were very lucky in ours! We took the bottom bunks, we had a young guy above us who was very quiet and spoke a little bit of English and then a very young nervous looking girl got on, her father was there arranging her stuff for her and then he left as the train pulled away! Ben and the guy left so me and the young girl could get changed which was sweet of them! I think everyone was tired so after watching a bit of a film on the laptop we turned it off and went to sleep for the night! Even though we were exhausted I can never fully relax and sleep properly when there are strangers in the same room so I dozed for the whole trip!
We got to Kiev at about 9am. Kiev is huge so we got a taxi to the hostel – ‘Kiev Dream Hostel’ we had booked into a dorm room for the next 2 nights. And the hostel was great, really clean and quite new too and we had a view of the stadium being built out of the communal area window. The stadium is under reconstruction for the Euro 2012 football.
It was really hot in Kiev, the weather was amazing and we managed to catch some rays while exploring! Kiev has many attractions and is a really attractive city. As we only had 2 days here we got a tour bus round the main sights as they were pretty spread out. Kiev’s underground system is very unique as it is extremely deep and it is decorated very finely, one station even had fancy chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the escalators seemed endless taking us deep down to the stations!
There are some really stunning buildings in Kiev such as the golden dome St Michael’s cathedral and St Andrew’s church. The bus went through Independence Square and Kreschatyk Street.
We celebrated the Friday night and the final night of our Eastern European adventure by going to TGI Friday’s and enjoying a fantastic steak and plenty of overpriced cocktails!! For lunch we sampled the famous chicken Kiev and had a buffet lunch in a café that our hostel owner recommended! The food is amazing here in Kiev, particularly the chicken Kiev’s which we have always liked!!
Back in the hostel we socialized with a nice Japanese guy who left us an origami rose with his email address when he left; he was telling us many things about Japan and was really interested in our upcoming Korean venture. Our flight was booked really early so we had a bit of an early night and it was nice to be in a proper bed again as the last few nights were pretty horrific sleep wise! Just as we were going to sleep the young couple in the bunk bed opposite us decided that obviously no-one would notice if they started having sex under the covers!! So that was quite funny as everybody clearly knew what they were doing – that’s what private rooms are for people!! Spend a few extra quid and get some privacy! Ha-ha!!
So we like Kiev, it has loads to offer and is somewhere we want to come back to as we didn’t have as long as we wanted here. Ukraine has only recently introduced visa-free travel so there is a way to go to improve its tourist-friendly signage but still the people are friendlier here and it felt like a safe place to travel. So this concludes our month round eastern Europe, there have been mostly highs and a couple of scary lows, but we have had an amazing time and seen some fantastic places with great people so we feel quite sad to be ending the adventure. However, we can’t wait to go home and see our friends and family and we have a really fun 10 weeks back in the UK planned!! Bring it on!! Home, here we come..