Saturday, May 12, 2007

Kiev- Running in Stilettos

Coming back from Kiev, that city blows me away in every sense. Often described (admittedly by Muscovites) as "Moscow five years ago", that description doesn't even begin to describe the vibrancy and uniqueness of Kiev. Despite the political paralysis of the Ukraine as it continues to grapple with the growing pains of a young (and corrupt) democracy, Kiev's consistent growth yet great quality of life is incredibly endearing. All the Kiev locals we met raved about their lifestyles in Kiev (many of whom had lived overseas), and their passion for their city was matched only by their disdain for Moscow. ; )

The city centre is packed with fascinating monuments and sights, intriguing side streets and great restaurants, not to mention the Ukranian girls whose beauty and ability to perform feats of navigation and athleticism on towering stillettos are are the only nationality I've seen that could rival Russia. In fact, I think the key metric of stilettos per square inch is even higher in Kiev than Moscow! That and the mandatory uniform of microskirts (not to mention the ubiquitous oversized D&G logos) is probably the only part of the "Moscow five years ago" description that fits.

Kiev's nightlife is varied and interesting. Although we were handicapped by the time of week we were there (like Moscow, definitely recommend being there on a weekend), the happening clubs we did hit had some innovative design (loved Tsar), creative cocktails, and a great crowd (did I mention the women?).

I had a great time travelling with Lesha and Ksusha, Russian friends from work, and am extremely grateful to Masha & especially Yulia, new local friends from aSW, who made us feel incredibly welcome!

Most of all, I was incredibly lucky to have an amazing Ukranian friend fly in from NY to show me her version of Kiev (heavy on the bars & restaurants, light on the monasteries & museums- just how I like it!).

Lena, thank you SO much, despite our navigational hurdles, I couldn't have had a better guide to Kiev!

Am now looking forward to staying in Moscow for at least the next few weeks to enjoy Spring, which I hear has finally arrived (it was snowing on the way to the airport as I left for this trip)!

Photos from the trip are here.


Elena said...

Cam, this is THE funniest take on Kiev I've seen! You have an amazing eye!! My favorite is the Kiev riviera and the angry ukrainians, and the bridal salon is hilarious! I'm going to use it to introduce Kiev to people who've never been. You rock! xoxo

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