Visiting Kiev

I’ve had my eye on a trip to Ukraine for a while. With lots of history, great food, and the fact that they don’t use the Euro, there were lots of reasons for visiting this wonderful country.

 

Arriving in Style

We flew in via Frankfurt on Lufthansa and had access to the Non-Schengen Air Canada and Senator lounges. Although the Schengen lounges at FRA are quite nice, I’ve found the Non-Schengen ones to be a little quieter and a bit nicer, as they generally cater to more expensive long-haul flights.

We grabbed a hearty breakfast with proper Canadian maple syrup at the Air Canada lounge and then headed over to the Senator Lounge for drinks at their bar before boarding.

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Air Canada Lounge breakfast
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Air Canada Lounge buffet
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Lufthansa Senator Lounge bar menu
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Drinking a Moscow Mule while overlooking the tarmac

 

First Sights

After landing, we ordered and Uber to our hotel. Kiev looked a bit dreary at first, but the city began to look a lot more appealing as we neared our hotel.

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Driving into Kiev

We stayed at the Aloft Kiev for only 80 euro per night. Since my stay, the hotel has changed owners and is now the Sky Loft by Rixwell.

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Aloft Hotel room

As I was settling in, I saw a beautiful double rainbow outside my window.

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Double rainbow from my hotel room

For dinner, we took the hotel’s recommendation and headed across the street to a restaurant named Barvy.

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Barvy cocktail menu

The pictures probably speak for themselves, but the food and drink were really good. We tried to keep things as traditional as possible and each ordered borscht, along with a Ukrainian chicken dish and a cake recommended by our friendly waiter.

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Drinks at Barvy
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Traditional borscht
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Ukrainian chicken dish
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Some cake

After dinner, we walked off some of those calories and explored the downtown area. After a certain hour, the city closes off the main street, so it’s perfect for a leisurely walk.

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Downtown Kiev
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Downtown Kiev
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Downtown Kiev
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Downtown Kiev
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The Founders of Kyiv Monument
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Independence Square
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The musical fountains of Independence Square

 

 

 

Exploring More

Although everything was easily walkable for the most part, I of course, had to check out the Kiev Metro system.

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Entering the Kiev Metro
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One of the beautiful underground stations
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Soviet era train cars

One of my favorite sights to see was Saint Sophia’s Cathedral. The climb to the top of the bell tower was not for the faint of heart!

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Saint Sophia’s Cathedral
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Climbing the bell tower at Saint Sophia’s Cathedral
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Saint Sophia’s Cathedral from the top of the bell tower

Nearby was St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, also a beautiful sight.

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St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery

A short Uber ride away was the Friendship of Nations Arch, which featured a beautiful view of the river below.

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Friendship of Nations Arch
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Friendship of Nations Arch

Also nearby was the Motherland Monument, a 335 foot stainless steel statue built in 1981.

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The Motherland Monument
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Some tanks at the foot of the monument
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War memorial
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War memorial

Another highly rated spot downtown was Rebernia, a charming restaurant with surprisingly inexpensive racks of ribs. Make sure you arrive well before you think you’ll be hungry, as it’s a long, long wait to get a table. Fortunately, there’s a wine bar attached to the restaurant, so you can have a drink or three while you wait. But seriously. Go here!

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Some amazing ribs
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One of the risqué bibs they give out
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The attached wine bar

On our last afternoon, we had to see what the food was like at a Ukrainian McDonald’s. I can’t remember what was on the burger, but it was quite good. The fries were also a nice change from what they serve in the USA.

 

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Ukrainian McDonald’s

Overall, I really enjoyed Kiev and I look forward to coming back to explore more of Ukraine. The people were nice, the food was delicious, and there was a lot to see.

Next up, a review of our trip to Chernobyl and Pripyat.

Thanks for reading!

-Matt

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