For those who have not seen our Facebook or Instagram updates: we have arrived in Europe for about 20 days.
On August 3rd, 2016, exactly one year after we set off from Vancouver, we took an Air Astana flight from Beijing, via Almaty in Kazakstan to Kyiv, Ukraine.
Most people probably think the fringe of Europe on the eastern side is Poland, or Romania, at least I do. Forgive me Ukrainians, I used to think Kyiv is part of Russia, importance ranked behind Moscow but in front of St. Petersburg.
Not until our flight arrived in Kyiv and we were hooked by this fascinating city and her beautiful people, did I start to read up on Ukrainian history and the last two years’ struggle between Crimea and eastern Ukraine and Russia, to realize how far back the Ukrainian history goes – to a point you could say Kyiv is where Russia started.
The appeal of this city was immediate and direct: beautiful river goes through it, convenient subway and walkable street, restaurant patios full of people, kids playing happily in the playground. Comparing to Beijing, where we flew out of Asia, Kyiv felt like a totally different world. The air was crisp and refreshing. The temperature was comfortably between 18 and 29.
On top of all that, the Ukrainian currency, because of the conflict with Russia and the unstable government, dropped 300% against U.S. dollar during the last two years. (you read it right, not 30% but 300%) We couldn’t be happier when ordering $0.50 coffee and eating a great meal in the restaurant with beer and desert for under $15, for four people.
When we stay in an Airbnb apartment, Annie usually cooks the breakfast. One day she calculated the cost of this grand breakfast and it was less than $1.5.
I couldn’t remember how few and far between we can find playground for our poor kids to play in Asia and now they visited Shevchenko park daily in central Kyiv.
Kids were spoiled, so were we adults. Finally we were able to drank coffee when we want and how we want them.
This restaurant was another big reason we all started to put on weight. Delicious meal and roomy space, finished with coffee and cheese cake for less than $10.
Now you would think people here must be fat and slow. It was the opposite, especially the women here. I don’t know any other places that you can see so many fit and beautiful women walking around. Just sit down anywhere and do people watching was a true delight. They seemed to be all in fit dress, well put up, with their hair and manicure/pedicure etc. just done in the morning or the day before. Truly amazing!