Today’s highlights: a very deep subway, bamboozled by Garfield, cathedrals from afar and a brown out. Let me start by saying that if I return home a hundred pounds lighter it won’t be from a lack of good food, but from all the stairs and hills. On a completely unrelated note, I’m not sure that I am in good enough shape for this trip and am very glad my place is on the first floor.
So the subway station that I could not find yesterday, Arsenalna Station, is apparently the deepest in the world and the Kiev subway system is the least expensive in Europe, though I would not call it cheap. The station is about 300 ft. below ground. Thankfully there are escalators there, even then it is a 4-5 minute trek down 2 steep and very long escalators. I don’t have any pictures though you can find videos on YouTube.
With some suspect luck I emerged from the subway in the shadow of my target, the Founders of Kiev Monument. The place is apparently a tourist trap. I deflected the first couple attempts to get my attention and money but the guy in a Garfield costume and his friend the moose? managed to snare me with some welcome conversation in English. After taking some pictures they shook me down for ₴1,200 about $50. They wanted more, but I managed to get by with that because it was nearly all the local currency I had.
Having escaped that unfortunate, but acceptable situation I began a circuit that would take me by the Golden Gate and some other sights. Unfortunately the gate is near the top of a hill. Along the wheezy way I stopped to take a picture of an interesting building that I later realized was the National Opera of Ukraine. A huff and puff later I got to the Golden Gate, a remnant of the main entrance to the 11th century city of Kiev. There I took a longer break, some pictures and enjoyed some violin music from a street performer. I think I would have given her some money if the other guys hadn’t left me with so little.
From there, I decided to head toward St. Michael’s Monastery and keep my eye out for a place to eat. Along the way I stopped to catch my breath in Sofiyivska Square and take a couple pictures including the bell tower of St. Sophia’s Cathedral and the back of the cathedral itself. From there it was a quick walk to where I could snap a picture of the monastery and Princess Olga Monument. Rather than venturing closer, the idea of walking downhill back to Independence Square and a subway trip to my temporary home was irresistible.
Once reaching the square I took some time to enjoy the sights without the furry pests and take some free pictures. Finally I decided to take a look at mall beneath the square and seeing a McDonald’s in the food court I decided to get a Big Mac (Біг Мак) to top off the tank and for the story. Even though the meal was less than $4 it was more than I had in local currency. Good thing Kiev has Google Pay. 😎
While resting in my apartment the bedroom lights and most of the outlets in the apartment went out. Thankfully, I packed a battery for my phone and a flashlight. Considering the hubbub in the office outside my apartment I’ve decided to write this update and let things be until morning.