Continuing Monger Matt’s Three Country Adventure
Here In Kiev I Get A Feel Of The Cold War
The next day in Kiev I rose early to first check out the hotel breakfast offerings before it got too crowded but not really fancying anything as nothing looked appealing to me, the breakfast was pretty basic really, I just had a coffee and sitting at a large table all to myself I finished planning the rest of my day which would take in the State Aviation Museum, giving me a feel of the cold war, before doing a bit more Kiev sightseeing.
Local Sim Card
Needing a local SIM card, I first went underground into the shopping centre beneath Arena City later emerging back on Khreschatyk St where a nice member of staff in the KNIBCTAP mobile phone shop close to McDonald’s got me sorted and online with a local SIM card for 130 Ukrainian making me good for Google maps and finding places on the internet with no added expensive roaming charges.
The State Aviation Museum
Costing me 190 Ukrainian by taxi from Independence Square plus another 50 Ukrainian entrance fee plus nearly double that again for a booklet worth of small voucher tickets to go inside some of the aircraft there, The State Aviation Museum is situated next to the perimeter fence of the city’s second airport formally known as Zhuliany but now renamed Igor Sikorsky Kyiv International Airport where the charter flights and low cost airlines operate from, the noise of the aircraft landing and taking off added a bit of atmosphere to what is basically an air show type of setting but without any flying aircraft.
Once inside there was lots of walking past the rows and rows of different aircraft both civilian and military lined up on the grass. You name it, massive white humanitarian relief helicopters, old MIG fighters, Russian Bear large propeller spy planes the ones which were frequently intercepted flying over the North sea and English channel and old Aeroflot Airliners, most of which you could go inside, really made my day.
Forking out another 200 Ukrainian after some heavy negotiation between myself and a half asleep taxi driver who was parked up in the museum car park, my next port of call was the now lost in translation Hotel Salute, another Iconic Kiev landmark famous amongst some visitors for its naughty nightclub, and from there I would walk over to take a look at the largest and possibly most impressive statue in Kiev.
Enquiring at reception about the nightclub and opening hours I was told ‘The Night bar,’ it’s real name, opens in the evening from 10pm. What a great name, I thought.
Continuing my walk to my final destination, the 203 foot tall Iron Lady or Motherland Statue, took around 15 to 20 minutes through some amazing landscaped grounds with great views below of the noticeably much flatter Kyiv Left Bank across the river. There were other museums to see enroute but I just didn’t have the time. Once there and stretching my neck while looking upwards at the great lady, I thought yes this is impressive.
In need of something to eat and to rest my tired legs I just about made it back to the Hotel Salute where liking the look and menu in their cafe restaurant I ordered for my main course some grilled fish. Chatting to the friendly waitress and just people watching and just relaxing over some beers, I lingered here until it almost got dark.
Then moving on but wanting to get a feel of what I presumed to be another tourist area of Kiev, although it seemed to be a bit off the beaten track, instead of jumping into the next taxi I walked for about 5 minutes to the nearest Metro station Arsenalna which was good for Independence Square 1 stop down the line.
Being the first time I ever used the Kiev metro it was easy enough, although I did have to ask someone if I was on the right platform for Khreschatyk. Basically from the cashier ticket booth you purchase a blue plastic coin for 5 Ukrainian (about 0.15p) and you are good to travel sticking the coin in the slot to open the barrier to let you through but currently being the deepest station in the world with probably the longest escalators, it took what seemed like ages to reach the platform below.
Looking for a wife
Emerging back onto Independence square and being a Saturday Night it was the busiest I have seen it and feeling also a sense of achievement of saving at least 145 Ukrainian from not taking a taxi I headed to the nearest pub, The Copper, on Mykhailivska Street which again had a nice atmosphere and friendly staff and also sitting at the bar was another chap about the same age as me and we got on like a house on fire. Never married he was currently in the Ukraine looking for a wife and he told me about some of the social functions he has attended both in Kiev and Odessa and the dates he’s had with so many beautiful women.
He even went to Thailand once but he said the women over there didn’t really do anything for him. When he goes on holiday now all he ever does, he explained, is travel to the Ukraine, just in the same way some people including myself at one time return time after time to Thailand.
Khreshchatyk Street 2am
Shaking hands, wishing each other good luck and of course full of beer, going our separate ways I found myself back on Khreshchatyk at 2am. There was a different laid back sort of atmosphere here in these early hours of the morning. Sitting around were one or two obvious freelancers including a big girl who blatantly adjusted her bra in a teasing way looking up at me as I walked past. Walking past the people by the benches, some sitting alone or with small groups of friends drinking having a small party, I felt quite safe unlike in London I might add and walked all the way back to the hotel.
Coming up in the final part of Kiev, during another sweltering hot afternoon I try a local massage and see some more action back at the hotel.
By Monger Matt.