The True Colors of Kiev

I had anticipated gray. Drab gray and maybe some varying hues like ash, charcoal and smoke. How was it that the sun was shining—brightly? Shouldn’t it be overcast and drizzly in a former republic of the Soviet Union?

While wandering through the streets of Kiev in 2006, I marveled at the range of colors: the Easter egg baby blue of the Wedgewood like St. Sophia’s Cathedral; the almost sapphire blue of the sky; the glittering gold of onion shaped spires on the stately Orthodox churches and the Outback orange of Tara Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

Even a little Soviet era car parked haphazardly outside Kiev’s Besarabsky Market sported an electric leprechaun Kelly green paint job.

For some reason the botanical bounty of Ukraine’s capital surprised me, too. The greenery of the many parks, the red flowers that bloomed and lined sidewalks as well as the multi-colored floral arrangements available at several stalls in Besarabsky’s created a stop-and-smell-the-roses vibe. The food I consumed even had electric color like the bright luscious red of the most delicious tomatoes I had ever eaten in my life.

I had anticipated much more asphalt, slate, cement and pavement. Really, walking around Kiev was more like sauntering along Main Street, Disneyland, when you half expected to be hunched over in a bleak and endless breadline out of a grainy newsreel.

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Gimme Shelter — Cool Structures and Statues

© Edward Schuck

Travel Oops is introducing another new feature — it’s not actually about Oopses, either. I wanted to include photos of architecture in the blog, since buildings can be such beautiful sights. So here’s the first cool building to feature: Uspens ky Assumption Cathedral Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, in Kiev Ukraine.

This is one of the many gorgeous cathedrals in Kiev. The golden onions are so striking especially against a vivid blue sky. Because of seeing so many 1980s movies with Soviet villains and sinister settings, I was constantly amazed at the beautiful colors I saw in Kiev when I visited in 2006. You almost go there with the impression everything will be grey, steel, cement and dark. Or course there were the Soviet cinderblock buildings, but the wonderful sensory details are so prominent in Ukraine.

Silos, Cows, Poppy Fields and Ukrainian Soldiers with AK-47’s

© Edward Schuck

Cows, silos, barns, and cornfields. Count these as the main sights of a trip I took in 2006. One would think this place was Iowa, Wisconsin or my home state of Minnesota. Nope. I was in Ukraine looking at fields of corn and pastures of cows. Lots of fields and lots of cows.

Ukraine has long been considered the breadbasket of Europe, and so is the region from where I hail. While it was a nice coincidence, being in breadbasket turf, even in another country, was not necessarily what I wanted to experience. One of the main ideas behind travel is to visit places and appreciate cultures that are different from your own.

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