Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sightseeing around Ukraine with Himali!

Last week, my old classmate and best friend Himali came to visit me from the States... Himali and I have known each other since the 7th grade, and she and I have just stayed in touch even though I moved away after 11th grade (and we went to different universities in different parts of the country). But anyways, she is traveling around Europe for a while because her brother is studying in Barcelona. She went to Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and then came to see me in Ukraine! She is going to Florence, Italy and then spending new years in Paris!

We found another church in downtown Kharkiv, near Pushinskaya St. 
The beautiful Christmas tree in Kharkiv's freedom square. 
Here are some photos from her trip to visit me, she was only here for 5 days so we hung out at my site, in Kharkiv, and in Kyiv. It was a short but action packed trip - I picked her up at the airport in Kyiv on Wednesday, then we took an overnight train back to my site and went to school on Thursday. We went sightseeing in Kharkiv on Friday and then took a train back to Kyiv on Friday night and walked around downtown Kyiv on Saturday. Himali got a little taste of what my life is like as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine!

Himali at the T. Shevchenko statue in my town's main square.
Our 2nd Shevchenko statue in front of the train station. 
The traditional dress and celebratory bread of Ukraine.
The trident, one of the most famous symbols of Ukraine. 
Posing on our train tracks. 
Kharkiv is a city that I've come to love, I can roam around comfortably without getting lost now that I've been here for about a year... Its funny to think that almost exactly a year ago, I got horribly lost on the way to Kharkiv my first time (for the Christmas party) when I got on the wrong bus and went to another town in the opposite direction.
The Christmas tree inside the Kharkov train station has little tiny soccer balls as ornaments. 

We walked around the city with my friend Alina,  this is the famous mirror fountain in downtown Kharkiv. 
Himali at the 50th parallel in Kharkiv. 
An exhibition dedicated to famous actors, artists, and musicans in Kharkiv's Shevchenko park. 
The main statue of Taras Shevchenko in Kharkiv, a famous Ukrainian writer. 
Alina and I kicking the Metalist soccer ball!
A Central Perk cafe in Kharkiv's Constitution Square?
We walked around most of the major tourist attractions in Kyiv, including the 3 big churches and the huge underground shopping center Globos. We walked down St. Andrew's descent (the hill of souvenir stands near the Lavra - St. Andrew's cathedral) and Himali bought a bunch of traditional Ukrainian souvenirs such as the famous matroshka dolls, a decorated ceramic plate, some magnets, and some jewelry!

Kyiv's Independence Square. 
Personally, I think Kharkiv's Christmas tree is prettier :P
The official EuroCup 2012 soccer ball in Globos. 
I'm almost ashamed to say that I wish there was snow right now, its still a little bit too warm for snow so all we've got is mud on the streets. The first big snowfall is always really pretty because everything is frosted over, and I'm sad that Himali didn't get to see that. But I still had fun hanging out with her and showing her around Ukraine :)


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