Monday, March 3, 2008

Kiev, Ukraine

A couple times a year, I decide to dig through some of my past work. The other day I was looking at my pictures from my trip to the Ukraine way back in 2004, and I decided that I would like to share them with you all. It's hard for me to put into words what I was feeling as I looked at all the amazing things, so I'll do my best. I also can't find my journal where I made notes about all the places I visited, so I'm going to do my best to describe from my memory (which isn't always 100% correct), so please bear with me:)

First, here's a link to the Kiev Wiki page, here. You can get some basic info on Kiev if you're interested. It's definitely a fascinating place.

Before we get to the pics, I'm sure most of you are asking yourself of all the places in the world, why go to Kiev? Well, my amazing Aunt Diana got involved with the Peace Corps. She has been over there for quite some time now (she's currently head of all Peace Corps Ukraine), but when we visited, she was second in command. My interest in Kiev started from all her e-mail correspondence with the family. She originally was over there to teach women how to start and run their own businesses, some of them are still successful to this day, which is an amazing accomplishment. Anyway, she offered us a place to stay, and my Uncle Hugo volunteered to be our tour guide.

It was a fun trip as Jenny was in her first trimester with Max, and feeling very sick (she basically lived off of Cheez-it's for a week). We spent most of the time walking around, napping, then walking some more. The churches were gorgeous, as you'll see later in the pics, and the architecture all around Kiev was fascinating.

I would also like to add that these pictures were taken in 2004, when I had just bought my first DSLR, the craptastic Nikon D100, so I was still learning how to use it. And, sadly, I had absolutely no confidence in asking people if I could take their picture. I remember breakdancers outside of the McDonalds, street musicians in the subway, cars driving on the sidewalk, and none of it documented by me. Oh, if I could only go back in time with what I know now. I didn't even take a picture of my Aunt and Uncle!

So, enjoy the pics!

We'll start with the cathedrals. Things to look for.
1. Lots of gold steeples
2. Very intricate designs/architecture

St. Andrews Cathedral

You'll see the cathedral sticking up in the background. My other shots of this cathedral kind of suck, but I like how you can see the buildings around it and how tall everything is.
st andrews cathedral

St. Michael's Cathedral

This was my favorite cathedral that I got to photograph. It was absolutely stunning!
st michaels 4

st michaels 3

Look at all that intricate design on the steeples. I would like to point out that all that gold is really gold.
st michaels 2

This shot was taken from the tower of St. Sofia's, which is the next cathedral you'll see.
st michaels

St. Sofia's Cathedral

st sofias

This shot is interesting to me because of the background. Those buildings are where most of the people of Kiev live. We'll get to more of them in a little while.
st sofias 2

st sofias 3

St. Vladimir's Cathedral

st vladimirs cathedral 1

st vladimirs cathedral 2

The Lavra

The Lavra had the most cathedrals. It was hard to get a shot showing all of the different cathedrals they had in this one area. We also took a tour of the caves beneath the Lavra (you couldn't take any pictures), and had to tour them by candlelight. Also, check out the red-ish part of the foundation on the bottom. This was what was left after the Lavra was destroyed in World War II. When they re-built all the churches after the war, they built on the original foundation and never re-did it, so they always remember the history. I actually don't know why they did that, but I do know that that's what was left after the war (I'm really an idiot, and it's late) Amazing stuff!
the lavra 2

the lavra 1

Random Shots

Here's an example where I wish I could go back again. I would love to have asked this guy if I could have taken his picture. Instead, I wussed out and took a shot from the back:(

Andreyevsky St Shopping - This street was lined with shops, most geared for tourists. Once again, I don't really have a good picture to show what it really looked like. You live and learn, right? I do still like these record players, though.
andreyevsky st

Angela Kuschyk, artist - I did meet this artist, and my aunt wanted to buy a piece of art from her. Jenny and I bought one as well. It's a very intricate drawing and the only original piece of artwork we own, besides my pictures, of course. She was very nice and let me take her picture. You can see some of her work in the background, and keep in mind, it was all drawn by hand.
Angela Kuschyk russkiart

Even in Kiev, you can see Will Ferrell

The House of the Chimeras - I'm pretty sure that some government official lived here.
house of the chimeras

This was one of the main streets in Kiev, Kreschatik. They had lots of protests here. Anyway, I liked the way it was lit up at night.
Kreschatik at night

This is Mariyinskiy Palace, in the middle of a huge park.
mariyinskiy palace

A couple more shots from Mariyinskiy Park
mariyinskiy park 1

mariyinskiy park 2

Just a playground I found in an alleyway we were walking through

The markets were interesting. If you look in the background, you will see more of those tall buildings that I mentioned before. According to my aunt, those buildings are built in squares, and then in the middle of the square, they have markets where the people buy their food, clothing, and anything else they need to live. Most people don't own cars, so it's hard for them to go anywhere to buy the necessities, so each little area has its own market. Jenny made me leave out the pictures of the meat markets, so I'll describe them to you. It was basically skinned rabbits and chickens for you to buy and cook yourself. Personally, I love the shot, but Jenny doesn't, and she ALWAYS has the final say:)

These were taken in Podol Market.

podol 2

A nice subway shot.

the lavra 3 toilet

I hope you enjoyed my pictures of Kiev, and I hoped I did a good job of explaining what was in the pictures:) It was definitely an amazing experience, as it still is the only time either Jenny or I have been out of the country.

And, sorry it's so long, but thanks for reading this far!