Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oh yeah, we went to Kiev too...

So, remember how we flew for free to get to Germany? We decided to buy return tickets home so we could make the most of our time in Europe, rather than play the space-a waiting game. So we substituted that game with the "what it's like to fly with Ukrainian airlines" game. 

Our plane from Bucharest to Kiev was two hours late in arriving, so that was the first indicator. Then after an unannounced detour to Sofia, Bulgaria, and crazy Asian/Ukrainian kids(who knew the combination existed?) who were trying to get out of their seats during take off, we realized that flying on Ukrainian airlines was cheap for a reason. We were having a friend of a friend who we had never met pick us up at the airport, and we just felt so bad because the flight was three hours late, and we didn't know if he would even still be there. Not to mention the fact that going through passport control in the Kiev airport felt like we were going back into the USSR (they could use some lessons on customer service), we were ready to just spend the night close to the airport (actually, with a senior missionary couple we met on the flight), not see anything, and just go back to the airport in the morning. 

Sure enough, our new friend Anton was there with his wife, Zoya, and a sign waiting for us. What a great couple. Then they showed us the sights in Kiev, took us to dinner, and then took us to breakfast and some more sites in the morning, before taking us back to the airport, which did I mention that the airport is like 45 minutes away from the city?? Seriously, they were the NICEST people. I would love to go back just to hang out with them. So, the moral of the story is that Ukrainians are really really nice and welcoming: just not the ones in the airport. And the Ukraine is a beautiful country. Kiev was a very pretty and very clean city, and we were happy that we got to see it. 
in front one of the many gold domed churches/monasteries in Kiev. 
love the stars in this picture
they have A LOT of WW2 monuments. This was one of them. 
super moon? 
Old city gates
this "Motherland" statue is taller than the Statue of Liberty. 
another WW2 monument
We went back to the airport with a newfound fondness for the Ukraine....and then came the time for TWO rounds of security (the second time to get to our specific gate: SO annoying), and passport control again where the minimum "stare at your passport" time was five minutes and they looked at me like I was an enemy to the state. By then, we were pretty ready to get back to the good old U.S.A. But we still had a 9 hour flight filled with Uzbekistanis who felt the need to cover the bathrooms in garbage,  let their screaming children roam the aisles, and someone even was smoking in the bathroom (I KNOW I could smell it). By then, we were REALLY ready to get to America.

And sure enough at JFK, our passport and customs guy was a chatty and oh-so-nice New Yorker who smiled and said to us, "Welcome Home."

I just love hearing that. I love coming home to America.

And now, I'm already day dreaming of leaving again. Because I love traveling as much as I love coming home.


  1. OMG these pictures are fab. I want to go to Kiev.

  2. Kiev would be really fun. It looks like a beautiful city! And your new friends are way nice. I have now been warned about the airline...