Sunday, April 11, 2010

Update #24 - Kiev, Ukraine

April 11th, 2010 -

hi there is everyone doing???? enjoying the beginning of a new season????
i think spring has officially started round here finally....we have had a beautiful week off for
spring break....and although i was not here for part of it, the part i was here for was lovely... although for the next two days they expect it to rain....a great way to end a vacation *sigh*

during this past break i was in portugal....but i will save that for my next update....lisbon
specifically....a town with old world charm, tasty port, tiled buildings and amazing hills....
it was very cool and i would go back.....

but a few weeks back i was in a snowy and cold kiev for a basketball tournament, and
although i didn't see much of the city, i saw enough to know it reminded me of a bigger
bucharest....there were dogs and traffic everywhere....although the dogs were mostly curled up trying to stay warm.....some of the buildings were incredible, very russian...and there were even a few statues up honoring lenin....we had some amazing food and drink, especially ukrainian vodka....we had this honey pepper one that was outstanding....much of the food was meat based,
like most of the eastern countries, but i found some really tasty treats.....we even made it to canadian night...the canadian embassy hosts a bar night one a month and we just happened to be there for it....they even had north american snacks for was exciting :)

i was there for basketball though and the girls, well, for the first time in AISZ middle school girls basketball, won a was exiting because it happened in the last two
seconds with an outside shot from our only returning player this was great to watch.... otherwise we played okay....didn't win any other games, but its a learning experience, as any coach knows....however, i think this will be the last year i coach this sport as it's just not my favorite and it goes if we had lacrosse, that would be a different the end you never know though.....

onto the pictures....the first is a view from the hotel we stayed in....very interesting place..
some aspects of it were modern, like the bathroon, others were not, like the communist
style building, lobby and room....very narrow, fit one bed comfortably, just bizarre, but we
were told this was a much better choice than the national hotel the coaches stayed at
before....i guess there were little old matrons in charge of each floor who took your key
from you when you left the room, waited on the floor all day and night and gave you back
your key when you came back in.....they just would wait on each floor, watching over the
keys and making sure the wrong people weren't coming into the rooms....crazy.....
as you can see from the first shot, there was still snow on the buildings and ground and
it snowed every day we were there except the last one....

the second shot is of a cool metro stop by our hotel....kiev, like all previous soviet countries, has a great underground
art on the walls, and the stations are usually very different from each other

the third and fourth shot are of an orthodox church that was down the street from our hotel....we went in it and heard a mass going on and the singing was all orthodox churches in this area, there are no seats, and you move around the church counterclockwise kissing all of the icons.....i haven't been in one of these since romania, so it was a nice to experience it again....

the fifth shot is one of their science universities....i just really liked the building...

and the sixth shot is of lenin....hard to see, but it's really him...

down from our hotel was the main shopping street....all of the modern stores, in buildings from lenin's and stalin's many of the travel books about kiev, they say this street is a must see, a grand, wide avenue, with lights and beautiful buildings along is a source of pride to ukrainians i think, as it is well kept up and still grand and fun to walk down.....the next three shots are buildings along this street...i really liked the tiling of the first building....and the lights of the second two.....

once we got back to the hotel, i got a shot of the train station down the street....another
grand, well lit building.....
shot number 11 is of my team....goofy girls all of them :) three of
them,on the right side, all korean, were actually from another team...our team was too
small for the tournament, but we really wanted them to play....the rest of the girls are from
our school here in croatia....they are all from different countries....the states, canada,
croatia, austria, israel, and iran.....a multi-national team....i wonder if you could guess who
came from which country :)
the next three shots are along that avenue again...we went wandering there for dinner our
last night in town and had an incredible indian feast....then went to a fun ukrainian beer
hall where everyone was drinking vodka....not sure why it was a beer hall???? but there
were at least 25 different types of vodka and brandy to choose was a good time
had by all.....

the final shot is the morning we were leaving....i had to get a close up of the orthodox domes in the sunlight....soooooooooooo pretty.....

so kiev....i am glad i went, i bet it is much prettier when its not so cold and snowy, but
i am not sure i need to go back....i have been told there are some amazing places in the
ukraine territory, but i am not sure i will get a chance to see them....the only other things
i would really be interested in would be some of the catacombs in the city and chernobyl...
call me a crazy science girl, but i think it's important to see and understand places like
that and then pass on what you learn.....
it was a fun trip....a great learning experience for the kids and on the flight back we met
the bloodhound gang....very exciting....they were on their way to bucharest and then i did not go see them...but two of the girls did....not sure what possessed
their parents to let them go....if you know them as a band, you know they are some dirty
minded folk.....
anyway....if you head to kiev, i would recommend the spring time....maybe even the
summer...unless you are going to do stuff in the snow, like ski or time i
write....which will be hopefully soon, it will be abut my trip to portugal this past week....
i am not traveling again until the summer, but i just finished arranging a sailing trip thru
some of the croatian islands with friends (even some from boston are coming!)....after
the sailing trip i head to the i hope to meet up with some of you there....i
will be in the philadelphia area from the beginning of july until the beginning of august,
with one week for a conference up in boston i am hoping i will get to see some
of you and catch up with your life updates....unfortunately i will not be making it to the
west coast this summer...not enough time or money to make it all work out....and then
i am back in europe, traveling with a friend to see friends for about three weeks....and then
school starts again....
i am planning to be in croatia for only one more school year....and then i hope to head to
africa or if you are planning to come visit, please do, although the next choice
might be more exotic, and further away :) at least i am hoping for that....and if you live on
one of those continents and hear of a middle school science position...please let me know
about's time to get out of europe and on with the life plan of living on every

hope all is well and you have enjoyed this update....i haven't heard from some of you in a
long, long time...please feel free to drop a line and say hi!!!! i will be cleaning my mailing
list sometime this let me know if you do not want these updates any longer
thanks for reading and happy traveling to you!!!!