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To the Motherland 母国へ行く

September 20, 2010

I have been wanting to visit the Ukraine for many years.  It’s the country of my heritage after all.  I grew up with an understanding of Ukrainian culture but sadly, I don’t speak the language.  Thankfully, in Kiev, you don’t really need to (unlike Moscow).  We were only there for a few days and by the end of the first day, we were seriously wondering why we spent so long in Moscow rather than spending a few more days in Kiev.  In terms of historical sights, Kiev doesn’t have too much to offer but the warmth of the people and the great, cheap food make up for it.


Historically, Kiev has always been an extremely important city in Eastern Europe.  It dates back to between the5th and 8th centuries and was in fact the capital of a larger empire referred to as Kievian Rus from which sprang the Ukrainians, Russians and Belorussians (so sayeth the historians).  That all ended though when the Mongols sacked Kiev in 1240.  The Ukrainians have had a pretty rough history so it’s interesting that they’ve managed to maintain a bit more optimism than their north-eastern neighbours.


What going to Kiev did for me was to want to see more of the Ukraine.  From what I’ve been told and read about, Kiev isn’t really indicative of the Ukraine; it’s “Russified”.  Now I really want to head West to Lviv or to the shores of the Black Sea to Odesa.


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