Zachary and I went to Kyiv last weekend. (“Kyiv” is the Ukrainian spelling. You probably know it as “Kiev,” which is the Russian spelling used when Ukraine was part of the USSR. Ukrainian or Russian words and spelling are a political issue here. Hmmm. Language politics. Hey, you Canadians… Where have we heard of language politics before?)
We were in Kyiv attending meeting of Fulbright scholars to hear information for those who had recently entered the country to teach in the Spring semester. Zachary made friends with Casssidy (14) and Andrew (8), who you see with Zachary here in the lobby of the Express Hotel.
We hope to visit Andrew and his dad, Kelly, in Micholaiv We also hope to visit and Cassidy and her family in Zaporozhnia, the home of the Cossacks!
Meanwhile, it’s still cold. The warming tents we have heard of for the homeless population must be located outside of the major city parks. Although we have heard horror stories (from CNN and BBC at least) about the homeless population freezing in the unnaturally and brutally weather, we have not witnessed the story. We have conducted our business in corridors where the homeless have not been in the streets, and the population has been able to conduct business as usual.
With regard to our own family in L’viv, a night’s train-ride west of Kyiv, we have been able to dress in layers for the temperatures. It reminds me of dressing for skiing. (However, it is not as expensive and not as close as Camp Fortune.)
In Kyiv, Zachary and I had a good 5-mile walk around the city. We walked through many of the wonderful city parks, but saw no evidence of the tents that the city has provided for homeless people. These must be located out of the center. The Kyiv we encountered was indeed cold, but welcoming. We enjoyed a lovely lunch at an Italian restaurant near the Dnipro/Dnieper river, including the best tiramisu I have ever had since I was introduced to it in Athens, Georgia (USA) twenty years ago! Who would have thought?
We walked past the Dynamo Stadium (the home of the successful Kyiv football team — as someone who lives in L’viv, I must say “BOO!”)
This stadium is not where any soccer games for EURO 2012 will be held. Otherwise we could watch the whole thing from the walkway beside the river.
I haven’t heard about deaths in our area from the cold. I wondered where the homeless people in L’viv were able to get warm. Bill answered that question. When he met us at the train station when we got back from Kyiv, he said that many homeless people were sleeping in the waiting room at the train station. That was fine until just before our overnight train arrived (at 6.30), when the whole lot of sleeping and otherwise humanity occupying the waiting room (including Bill) was kicked out so the cleaners could finish their work. Anyone with a broom here has a ton of authority.
Soon, I will have more to say about other L’viv points of interest and events. (If you think that pledging love by locking locks is romantic, wait until you get a load of the chocolate festival!) Stay tuned.