There are certain stereotypes or preconceptions I have about various parts of the world. I know that many of them are probably wrong so I’m doing what I can to actually experience things in person, but that doesn’t stop me from going in to any particular trip with certain expectations. On this trip, my first to Ukraine, I was expecting mostly a Soviet-style experience. And while there are obvious bits of that throughout Kiev, it is hardly the dominant influence, at least from what I’ve seen in the first eight hours here.
Sure, there is evidence of the former Soviet empire here. It would be a shame if it all disappeared. And say what you will about their style of governing, it was pretty useful for city planning, with wide avenues, promenades and parks replete with fountains and grand statues. And Kiev definitely has those bits.
But they also have a ton of smaller, older buildings. narrow alleyways and cute shops lining the squares.
And the architecture of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches is quite impressive.
Oh, and the grand statues are still grand, but many of them are now commemorating things like Ukrainian independence rather than events of the Soviet era.
Toss in a couple good local beers and some snacks at the local cafes and I’m quite happily proving to myself that the stereotypes aren’t always so accurate.
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