Tag Archives: summer

Kiev’s Main Square

Kiev’s main Square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti (sometimes referred to as Maiden for short), has huge old buildings that will take your breath away. It is at the center of the main street that runs through the city, Khreschatyk. Those majestic buildings you see in the pictures were spared from World War II. On the weekends, the main street actually closes down to cars so that pedestrians can enjoy it. If you visit it regularly, you might begin to recognize some familiar faces. One of my favorites is a woman who is panhandling, but for her cat who is elaborately dressed and leads a life of extravagance. You can find her always on Khreshchatyk, but not always in the same spot. The Main Square if probably one of the more tourist friendly areas. Maidan offers some great restaurants and 24 hour coffee shops (not as good as Golden Ducat though). It is where almost everything happens in Kiev, concerts and political events.

In the midst of hosting the EuroCup 2012, you can still see the political protesters who are protesting the imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenka. It was explained to me that sometimes (though not in all cases) that people are paid to protest.

Speaking of political events, the above and below pictures are a protest for Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine who most believe was wrongly jailed. In comparison to an Occupy protest, I would consider them very low in noise level and pretty tame. There are no real barricades to keep the crowds back on a Friday night.

A closer view of the Yulia Tymoshenka protest.

Khreshchatyk is a great place to find a restaurant of any persuasion. Within a block of the metro station is are Indian, Japanese, traditional Ukrainian and Latin style restaurants. After about 24 hours in Ukriane, you will realize that sushi seems to be available at virtually every restaurant, so you don’t need to limit yourself to one nationality.

These beautiful historic buildings are now home to international staples such as La Perla lingerie and nearby Gap.

One thing that may be surprising to a foreigners is the parking rules in Kiev, of which there are none. You will literally see people driving on the sidewalk, and more often than that, you will see people parking on the sidewalk. Or anywhere really. It never stopped shocking me. Maybe I will provide some pictures later. What do you think of Main Squares? Are they relevant? Would you bear the tourists to see it?

I have some exciting blog news, Airports Made Simple reblogged my post providing airport and flight advice, the post is titled Come Fly with Me: Tips for a Somewhat Comfortable Flight. Feel free to peek at the AMS website and see what else is going on!

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A Westside Story: Michigan’s Sand Dunes

Have you ever sat through those “Pure Michigan” ads you might hear on the radio or see on the internet? They wax about wearing your swimming trunks under your suit on a Friday or summer nights around the campfire. Those signature summer nights they are talking about are real. Before I flew home, I asked my Mom if we could please make a quick trip to the Sand Dunes. I am pretty lucky to have her because what she agreed to was a 3.58 mile hike continuously up or down hill. On sand. The brochure cautions people that the duration of the hike is 4 hours, we scoffed that the estimate is for families with children. How wrong we were! I love a challenge and this is certainly yoga for toddlers. The sand dunes and Lake Michigan are one of my favorite ways to appreciate the diversity of Michigan’s nature. Even though you are breathing heavily the whole time, your lungs are filling with fresh air and wind comes off the lake to cool you down. At the bottom of the sand dunes, it becomes so quiet—no cars, no shopping carts, no slamming doors, just you and your thoughts.  The big reward at the halfway point is Lake Michigan, you can swim after hiking for two miles. Everywhere you turn there is beautiful nature scenery which is ageless. The following morning, when you wake up to brush your teeth, I promise you will feel it in your legs. I hope you enjoy the pictures below!

You may think that looks like two small hills, but in reality this was the one mile marker. The promise of Lake Michigan keeps us going.
A view of the smaller lake inland that begins the hike.
The coming storm.

Lake Michigan Shoreline.