I visited Kyiv, Ukraine back in the summer of 2010. I had an amazing time there, despite the sweltering 110 F heat and 60% humidity AND despite getting food poisoning from an ill-fated McDonald’s chicken sandwich AND despite the fires in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl that the US government was SURE was going to kill every American who dared to enter Ukraine.
In a couple weeks from now I will be headed back to Kyiv, only this time, under much more somber conditions. I intend to visit and to document what’s been going on over there, the struggle for independence and for the creation of a government that suits the Ukrainian people. I was very lucky to have witnessed history unfold in Cairo in January of 2011 when their revolution began, and I am very hopeful that I can visit Ukraine and help tell the stories of those who have been fighting these last few months for their freedom and their ideals of a right and proper government. I know many people who think me insane to go at such a time, but the struggle of all humanity moves me in a deep way and I can think of nothing more worthy of my words, time, interest and travel than to tell the stories of the Ukrainian people, as told to me.
Last time I was in Kyiv, I made some amazing friends, some of which I still speak to often. I will be staying with Aricio, who own’s the Kyiv Central Station hostel, and who was an amazing and wonderful guide for me the last time I visited. A friend of my cousin, who shall remain anonymous, will be assisting me with getting interviews and translating them for my coverage.
I look forward to my departure soon, and I hope that the Ukrainian people may find whatever peace and justice they are seeking.
Kyiv Ukraine Links (recommended activities and accommodation):
Kyiv Central Station Hostel: $20/night for private double room with shared bathroom to $9/night for a bed in a 12 bed mixed gender dorm. Aricio runs the hostel and is an amazingly helpful guide.
Chernobyl Tour: $145/per person (discounts for groups) — full day activity, totally wacky, somewhat safe, a chance of a lifetime. The cost is basically just bribes to get through guarded check points and to pay for a bus that plays weird patriotic soviet music.
Soviet Bunkers Tour: $130/per person (discounts for groups) — half day activity, very interesting for those who are into WWII history and Soviet memorabilia.
Tank Driving and Shooting Guns: $1100/per person (discounts for groups) — full day activity, literally the most badass thing ever! You do get to drive an actual tank and you get to shoot all sorts of ridiculous weaponry. Highly recommended.
Kyiv Opera House: Seats range from $5-$40 per location per performance. You can purchase them online or pick them up at the box office locally, once you arrive. Performances include ballet, opera, and orchestral music.
Pechersk Lavra: Entrance is fairly cheap (I don’t remember how much because I actually snuck in using a friend’s old expired ticket, so shoot me), but this place is utterly amazing and includes many unique museums and churches all for the small price of one ticket. In addition, there are underground tunnels and even an underground cathedral and mummified monks that are considered very holy. A must see!