With our own personal tour guide, Natasha, we have been able to do some sightseeing in between our visits to Bella.
My favorite place so far is the Architectural Museum just outside of Kiev. It is an outdoor spread that showcases actual houses, artifacts, churches, costumes from both the Eastern and Western parts of Ukraine from the 1800-1900's. The houses, churches, and schools are set up like they would have been in Ukraine from a specific time period. We also had amazing authentic borscht, salo, brown bread, with a Greek salad. Yummy! Area crafters set up tables with pottery, hand-painted Ukrainian eggs, and other artifacts all for sale for very good prices. In fact, this is where I purchased my Ukrainian embroidered shirt.
On another day, we took a Riverboat ride down the Dnipro River. It was an extremely hot day...so the cool breeze on the boat was refreshing.
During our first few days here, we were able to visit Independence Square, St. Andrews Church, and other beautiful Orthodox churches. The architecture is breath-taking...sort of Baroque and Rococo in style.
We have also experienced the Chernobyl museum. It is so hard to fathom that a whole section of Ukraine life was wiped out from this tragic event. To walk through the museum, was so sad and sobering.
Many days we have taken the Metro to the City Center and also rode the taxi buses. With Natasha as our guide, we have felt very safe and so cosmopolitan! Ha Ha....
One day we walked the beaches of the Dnipro River. However, we were carrying briefcases and bags and Natasha overhead people making comments that we must be sales people!
This country is rich in history--both good and opressive. It is amazing to us to see how many Western influences have crept into this country since their independence from Russia in 1991.
But, our favorite part of this whole trip, besides meeting Bella, is being able to experience the culture first-hand by living in a working neighborhood far removed from the city center. This way we see the "every day" man and woman working, living, and interacting in their own community. The outsides of the apartment buildings look very run-down. However, once you climb the sticky stairs or take a rickety elevator, you enter a very neat & clean apartment with just what we need to live!
We are so thankful that we got to experience this country so that we will be able to one day pass on to Bella about where she came from. It is a country that surely demonstrates "Beauty from Ashes!"