Previous trips can be accessed by clicking the following links:

Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Thailand, Cambodia and South Korea

Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Denmark

Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, India and England

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

8/23: Kyiv, Vienna & Ljubljana in One Day!

We only had a few hours left in Kyiv before flying onwards to tour our first Balkan nation. After packing our bags, our priority was to walk over to see the massive St. Volodymr Cathedral:
The church was built in the late 19th century to commemorate the 900th anniversary of Christianity in Kyiv. The highlights for us were certainly seeing the frescoes depicting the spiritual history of the capital city of Ukraine.
My trusty Canon camera went kaput (or should I say gave up the ghost as we were in the Cathedral after all?!) after the photo above with the shutter refusing to close. I was so bummed as the camera had been my trusty and faithful companion for our last two 'Big Adventures' as we like to call our overseas trips. To say I felt bereft isn't much of an understatement. Steven luckily had his ipad with him so he kindly took over the photographer's role while we were at the cathedral. I had an older backup Canon camera back at the hotel but the zoom lens on it wasn't very powerful.

To put a positive spin on things, at least I could take pleasure in the lovely Cathedral. Here, then, are some views of the Cathedral:

Before leaving the country, I had hoped to buy one of the beautiful Easter Eggs that Ukraine is so well known for so we walked along Kyiv's main street, Khreshchatyk, for a good while. The street, which suffered great devastation in WW11, was totally rebuilt and received major facelifts in 1998 and again in 2001. The street, which stretches for a mile, is up to 330 feet wide so it was a major thoroughfare. It had lots of lovely upscale shops but no quality souvenir stores that we saw. What a shame as I really wanted to spend my Hryvnia, the currency of Ukraine!

All was not for naught, though, when we happened on a celebration in anticipation of Ukraine's independence the following day.
There was a military marching band, hundreds of people waving the national flag and young people all decked out in their national costumes and ready to perform.

We had arranged for the same driver who had picked us up a few days ago to take us back to the airport. We had a pretty short flight to Vienna, a city we visited and loved a couple of years ago, before our onward connection to Ljubljana, Slovenia, a full seven hours later. Most people would hate having such a long layover but I was quite content with it as it meant I would be able to get some much needed 'work' done on the blog as well as dealing with HOA matters back home. All I needed was a plug so I could type up my notes for the next few hours!

I did manage to squeeze in enough time to find and buy an Easter egg at the airport so I was happy about that!

Zachary: I thought of you when we saw this poster at the Vienna luggage carousel as I remember your saying how much you loved the Belvedere Castle when you were visiting the city last year.
Also at the carousel, Vienna's own Gustav Klimt's painting called The Kiss.
Many, many hours later, we arrived safely at our Airbnb room in Ljubljana, the first city we'd be visiting while touring the Balkans for about the next month.

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