For starts, and to be fair; I came the wrong time of the year! Winter… So I may be a little bitter.
The people of Kiev put up a tough front. This initially comes across as hatred, suspicion and disgust towards you (mostly from men). If you can break past this they are awesome, friendly and will do anything for you! The girls at the hostel (both Dream Houses) became my closest friends and they alone brought my opinion of Kiev from neutral to positive.
The City: Kiev is like any major European city with a few twists. Similarities: Not cheap, has big clubs, pretty churches, free walking tours, people try to rip you off, has McDonald’s, etc… Differences: Still has that Soviet Union vibe, corruption still clearly plays an economic roll, everyone (everyone) wears black leather jackets, better than Moscow (so I’m told), Russia with no visa, and the big clubs… girls strip naked and make out.
One fun fact: A trip on the metro will leave you wondering why the escalators run at turbo speed and go on for eternity. The reason; In a time of war they can second as bomb shelters and the walls that line the escalator shafts can be removed to retrieve the non-perishable food hidden there. Did I mention suspicious?
I really didn’t want to write about Kiev because I knew I wouldn’t give it a fair chance in the winter, but I spent a lot of time there getting busy work done. All in all I would say Kiev, and Especially Ukraine, is a good place to visit… but wait till summer!
I guarantee you, had I started my trip how I originally planned, at Kazantip in southern Ukraine in July, this post would be explaining to my parents why I’m not coming home *(I think Kazantip deserves a post on it’s own so more to come).