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         We arrived to a family friends house late last night. One of the daughters is Diana’s friend, Galina. She was also the person who picked us up from the airport. Once we arrived at her parents place, we chatted for a long time just catching them up with how we are doing and getting to know them better. My cousin, Juliana and I did not go to bed until about 0200. I woke up this morning around 0800, so I only had about 6 hours of sleep and surprisingly I wasn’t as tired as I should have been (the fact that I had not slept on the plane). We ate a small breakfast and then Juliana and I walked around the neighborhood with the family’s other daughter, who is married and has a 10-month-old girl. The four of us strolled around some local park. We walked around the park for about 2 hours or so. It was a nice big park. There were several different paths with swings, coffee stands, small carnival rides, and even a huge obstacle course with zip-lines. It reminded me of the show Fear Factor. We didn’t get to go on the obstacle course because you have to pay but my sister said we might be able to go when we come back to Kiev in mid-August.

Around mid-afternoon after lunch when Galina got back from work; Alex, Diana, Juliana, and I headed to the capital’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square, in Kyiv) by the Kyiv Metro (a three line underground railway that services the capital city of Ukraine). The escalator at Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro station in Kiev is the longest I’ve ever seen. It takes a few good minutes to reach the top, which leaves plenty of time to form expectations about what lies at the end of the climb. Yet nothing you read in the news or see in pictures truly prepares you for what happens after you come out of the underground.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most likely you’ve heard at least a little bit of the recent news about Ukraine. Over the past year there have been protests, government-hired snipers to kill said protesters, a corrupt president that fled after the fallout of that decision, and land grabs by Russia. Galina was nice enough to give us a small tour of downtown. The architecture that one finds in the city is undeniably gorgeous. In just about 6 hours of touring, we saw so much beautiful history and unbelievable sites that it would take forever to describe my experience. So I will just let the pictures do all the talking (:
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Kyiv Metro Escalator
Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)
One of the best notable decorations of the central square is the Independency Column topped with a statue of Archangel Mikhail, who is considered to be the saint patron of Kiev.
“On Wednesdays we wear pink” – Mean Girls (Perfect timing because it was on a Wednesday, haha)
Me, Diana, & Galina

Dnieper River
Overlooking the Dnieper River

One of the fountains of the Independence square in Kiev, Ukraine is decorated with statues of legendary brothers Kyi, Schek, Horiv and their sister Lybid
My brother-in-law Aleks took this picture. He can make any puddle look good (:

Friendship arch
Friendship of Nations Arch


Late night dinner with this lovely family (Galina’s sister, her husband, and their adorable baby)

Thanks for reading!