Sunday, November 15, 2009

Got Stamps?

These few days in Kyiv have gone quickly; I begin walking at dawn.

From what I've experienced, I find it a fun and pleasant city, even in the constant gray drizzle. I've seen many of it's sights, but not nearly everything the town has to offer. I notice architectural similarities to other northern European cities - Berlin, Krakow, Prague, Vienna... - and notice some grand city mansions are more polished than others suggesting a transitional period like Prague 8 or 10 years ago. The churches are what make this place unique - bundles of gold onion domes abound and make colorful landmarks for touristic navigation. I like it. There are many interesting places to see and I'm sure the city will only attract more visitors in the years to come. The abundance of art sold from table stands in the street is also unlike any place I've been before... a surprising handicraft I saw in abundance is the nesting dolls of Barak Obama. They're keeping with the times on the streets of Kyiv.

With my couchsurfing buddy, I've discovered authenitic night life... nice little bistros with live music always makes an evening more pleasant. It's amusing that these young Ukrainians sing American songs so beautifully and with such well-placed passion and emotion yet don't actually speak English. Unfortunately, the opera and ballet, the theaters and other performance halls are shut down because of the political nonsense about the flu... you can sit in packed bars and restaurants, but not the ballet... It seems ironic that the crowded subways - impressively deep underground, by the way - and buses are deemed safe for public gatherings yet the possibility of the flu spreading smong opera viewers is somehow too risky. I'll have to return to the city one day in order to see the fancy opera hall.

As to pilgrim business, I wasn't able to get too many stamps for my credenziale yet - just one from the Roman Catholic St Alexander's church and one from the Russian Orthodox Pechers'k Cave Monastery. The difficulty is in finding someone to ask! These churches seem to lack the ever-present churchladies in Catholic churches in Western Europe. They've always been so helpful to me. Maybe it will be easier in the countryside.

I'm eager to start walking. At dawn, I'll strike out for a Roman Catholic monastery of Oblates of St Mary in Obukiv. There's no way for me to contact them ahead of time, so I'm just going on faith that they'll let me stay the night. I'm ready for a little name-dropping (thanks Matt and Sylvia) and go armed with letters of introduction in Ukrainian (thanks Fr Vasyl, Nadja, Pani Olena)... and by tomorrow evening will have an idea how the pilgrim accommodation challenge might work in the east.


Ukiefriend said...

You find humor and laughter in everything! Yeah, amazing...they don't shut down public transportation, but are afraid of a little exposure at the theater...hmmmmm. Hope you will get more stamps for your Sviatoho Andr. "passport." It may be hard to get these during the week, as churches there probably don't have "an office" on site. Ask the neighbors, oh well, you know what to do...pytaj, pytaj, pytaj.

We got 6" or 15 cm of snow today...

Are you wearing your emblem already? Could someone take your picture and send it to us or post on site?

Saying a prayer that St. Andrew will make this pilgrimage safe and unforgettable...maybe you can do one final blog as you walk out the door? Ukiefriends in Denver (*_^)

Sylvia said...

Ann, so glad you are on your way, enjoying Kyiv, and now on the road! Your insights and blog is very well done. You are in my prayers everyday. Sylvia

Anonymous said...

We are so glad you are safe and on your way. I found trying to travel surrounded by another alphabet so interesting but disconcerting. You probably love it. Have a great time.

Anonymous said...

I am a kid and you(winter pilgrim) visited my classroom and talked about yourself. It was really cool