Honestly, I might not have needed a free walking tour through Kyiv. Although the tour was great! Because already on our first afternoon we walked for hours. The Vozdvyzhensky Hotel, which is right downtown, gave us rubbish information on how to get there by public transfer. Of course we should have taken a cab. On the other hand this is traveling. To find your own way in an unknown country where you don’t speak the language. In the course of this afternoon we walked almost the whole length of the free walking tour (and then some). The funny part was that we actually passed our hotel, took a picture of the street because it looked so great and but then just kept on walking.
But Kyiv is made for walking anyway. No matter if it is with a free walking tour or on your own. What you shouldn’t miss is the metro. We went underground at the end of the tour near the Golden Gate. It’s worth the couple of cents you need to pay for a ticket even though you don’t get on a train.
Next up for us was an extensive visit of the St. Sophia which we had only passed on our tour so far. It’s a lot more than just a cathedral but a whole area with the Metroplitan’s residence, a bakery and so on. You enter the area through this huge bell tower which looms over the square in imposing serenity.
Once on top of the bell tower you have an excellent view on the neighboring church. It looks amazing with all the golden domes and towers and extra nooks.
Of course you also have a view over the whole city. This is the perfect vantage point.
St. Sophia’s Cathedral was impressive on the inside as well. The floor was laid in tin (or some other metal) tiles, the walls were colorful and decorated with murals of saints and along the stairwell we found graffiti from 1636.
The plan was after St. Sophia’s Cathedral to get down to the river. But instead of taking the funicular we rather walked and promptly got lost. Not to our loss though since we followed a wooden walk way on the Volodymyrska Hill and eventually ended up near our hotel. How we could have missed that on the first day when apparently all ways lead to it, I don’t understand.
In addition to exercise the walk above the river opens to stunning views from time to time. You can even see the newly walkway bridge somewhere in the back.
On the way to it we passed a small monument which remembers the many people who starved during the Soviet famine 1932-33. It’s right next to St. Michael’s Monastery and the story of the famine is unbelievable. Therefor I need to read up on this subject now. Yours, Pollybert