Tag Archives: travel

Art in the Park: Kiev’s Landscape Alley

Since Landscape Alley is situated pretty high up on a hill, it also provides some amazing views of the city.

We are back for a second look at Landscape Alley today. In the first part, I mentioned that all of the artwork and sculptures were created by Ukrainian artists. It is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, especially when taking into account that it’s free. The perspective of an outsider is that this is some great public art.

This playground is much more colorful than the standard ones at each of the apartment complexes.

When Landscape Alley first opened to the public in Kiev, I have been told that some local residents really liked it, while others thought it was an embarrassment to the city. They would exclaim that this was not art, and the artists were just trying to make a mockery of the city. Now that Landscape Alley has had time to grown on the residents, there was a collective agreement that more sculptures should be added to Landscape Alley.

This bench is a great piece in how imaginative and functional it is.

 

A sort of phenomenon that tourists might notice while trekking to the various attractions, is that young Ukrainian women dress up (maybe in their new favorite dress) then they go to some premeditated destination in the city with a trusted friend and will spend a lot of time taking pictures in front of statutes or posing in new settings. I am willing to bet that within a couple of hours those photos will appear on the Russian version of Facebook. This “hobby” can add time to your minute with the statue for family photos, but more importantly you are getting a taste of modern Ukrainian culture! Ukraine is a very image conscious place, they have more than one channel dedicated to fashion/model culture, so this may play a role in why you have a twenty something hanging out with the fanny pack crowd.

Part of the lure of Landscape Alley is how family friendly it is, and having multiple playgrounds in one relatively short walk is part of that reputation.
This is a little neighborhood in Kiev, tucked into a valley which is below Landscape Alley. It’s so quiet down there!

**Note to Readers: I am not from Ukraine and I have no language skills to speak of, so if you have any details to add about Ukraine, please don’t hesitate to bring them into the conversation! Thanks. Elise

 

 

 

Art in the Park: Kiev’s Landscape Alley (Part 1 of 2)

This week is going to be devoted to looking at some of the urban art that Kiev has to offer. One of the more enduring and interactive exhibitions of Ukrainian urban art is Landscape Alley on the Right Bank of Kiev. To do this post, I had to get some help from Slava, who is much more knowledgeable than I about the history of this park. From the eyes of the outsider, this Landscape Alley (translated from Paysazhnaya Alleya) is a pleasant surprise that winds past some restaurants and parks. I first visited this park in October and then again this summer; during that time, Landscape Alley grew as locals embraced the park which resulted in the creation of new sculptures. Landscape Alley is almost always busy, with people of all ages taking a stroll or sitting to enjoy a beer while their children play. Most of the sculptures are made of colorful tiles and look very child friendly. The sculptures are humorous and playful, featuring references to famous children’s literature in some of the pieces. You would be hard pressed not to find a child bouncing from the playground (which functions as a piece of art itself) to a fountain or bench. Landscape Alley makes Kiev’s rather gray and neutral background pop to life. Dotted along the entrance to the park are usually young people sitting in a circle around a guitar or couples resting on a blanket.

A reference to the Princess and the Pea is what came to mind when I looked at this sculpture.
Locals posing for a picture.
There is practically a line to have your picture taken in front of most sculptures.

According to Fashion Park website Landscape Alley was a group effort, with pieces “created by Ukrainian artists: Nazar Bilyk, Zhanna Kadyrova, Konstantin Skritutskiy, Mihail Vertuozov, Alexey Vladimirov, Vasiliy Tatarskiy, Aleksander Alekseev, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Alexander Lidagovsky. There are also the unique garden benches designed from the sketches of well-known Ukrainian fashion designers: Alexey Zalevskiy, Lilia Pustovit, Andre Tan, Zinaida Lihacheva, Olga Gromova, Lilia Litkovskaya and Sergey Danchinov (for TM IDol)”. For locals, Landscape Alley can serve as a tribute to the local art community because it features artists that are native Ukrainians. These sculptures are a great family friendly destination to visit that is free in Kiev. If you notice the buildings that serve as the background for these pictures, you will notice how they contrast in spirit and character from the sculptures. The neighborhood that is home to Landscape Alley is not so pretentious, giving a tourists a peek into everyday life.

I was especially impressed by this mural, because the pictures allow the viewer to add so many details to the face, making it seem so real.

Check back on Friday for the second part of Landscape Alley and some cultural comments on how locals approach it.

**Note to readers: I am not from Ukraine, and lack language skills. In the spirit of not sounding like a know-it-all I will be happy to correct any unintended errors, feel free to contact me if you have anything to add to the conversation! Thanks, Elise

Yes, people do still throw coins in the fountain.

A Walk through Ukrainian Streets

These photo’s are from a walk taken on the Right Bank of Kiev. The oldest parts of the city were built on top of the hill, with some gorgeous buildings. In Kiev, I can confidently say that the majority of the 5 million or so residents live in buildings that look vastly different from these beauties. It seems (from my non native perspective) that the gorgeous architecture was reserved for business and government buildings. The majority of buildings that “regular folks” live in are described as ugly by residents and I wouldn’t argue with that description. They are usually buildings that look as if they are badly in need or some external love (can’t really judge the internal trappings). One important detail is that since the end of the Soviet Era, living in these uglier buildings has become more class based; as real estate moguls have erected glittering residential buildings, they are only available to those with significant resources.

This building (above) is of the Kiev Opera House it is so beautiful and it’s opulence gives credit to Kiev’s historic contributions and respect of the arts. The opera House is also close to many great restaurants, making date night easy for those who don’t have a car in the city. Another beautiful Opera House is in the city Lviv/Lvov, but I couldn’t get a quality photo of it.

The above and below photos are of the spires of historic buildings, Orthodox Catholic churches that were built long before the Soviet Era. During Christmas time I stepped into a religious service, and I was blown away by the beauty and largely female audience.One of my favorite parts of my time in Ukraine was that if you are in Kiev during a religious holiday, you can open your window to hear a choir singing in many parts of the city.

This is a picture (above) of Saint Michael’s Cathedral. It’s history goes back to the 11th century, but is still accessible to the public. Do you think that America has cathedral’s that compare visually to the one’s in Kiev? To be on the Right Bank of Kiev, is to hear tires going over the brick roads that help to keep the historic feel of the city. The brick roads can be seen in most of the photos in this post.

Make sure you come back next week because I am going to be doing a two part post, on one of the best public art installments I have seen!

Come Fly with Me: Tips for a Somewhat Comfortable Flight

Sometimes getting going just isn’t that easy.

How many people usually spend their time in the check in line reminiscing about the latest airport nightmare? For anyone who has flown in the past 10 years, they have probably been subject to unsolicited chaos. I’m going to add some spice to my regular posts about where I have been and share some of my hard won advice, some of it may be common sense, hopefully some of it will make your life easier.

1) Treat all airport staff like gold-they have can break your experience. This may be the most important advice I can give. Not only do they determine whether you can get an upgrade, but if they like you, a flight attendant can share insider information like the best restaurants and shops for your destination. If you are stressed out because of a delay or cancellation, remember that you are likely one of many and treating people like crap will not win you any favors.

2) Drink the complimentary wine on your international flight. You already have to sit uncomfortably close to a stranger. Airplane seats don’t go back far enough to sleep (or even sit like a normal person). Soften the edges. The wine is your consolation prize. It may not be good quality but as said by someone in the show Weeds “If it’s free, It’s me”.

3) Bring earplugs. In fact, bring three pairs. Teething babies and belligerent adults both have a right to ride the airplane, but you are not required to suffer with them. The first pair of earplugs is for you. The second and third are for your neighbors on either side of you (everybody needs allies).

4) Negotiate. You got bumped from your flight in Amsterdam and they airline only wants to give you $500 for your inconvenience? Try and negotiate for some perks like an upgrade on your next flight out, extra meal vouchers, access to the nap room,or some extra miles on your account. Some of these things are more fluid than an airline would like you to think.

5) Your carry on is for the unexpected. Pack what you would need for 24 hours of delays. This includes medication (both daily meds and things like aspirin to help with small issues), chargers, converter, a change of clothes and toiletries. You will thank me when you are checking into a hotel room in Denver at 2am after 7 missed standby flights.

6) Think outside your final destination. Sometimes it is cheaper to fly from Europe to New York City and then buy a separate ticket home, rather than buying a complete ticket. This comes with risks of missed flights that are not reimbursable (buying insurance might fix that). When considering if time or money is more valuable to you, if money wins, getting stuck in New York isn’t that bad, you can always Couchsurf.

7) Keep your most prized possessions in your carry on. This applies most to international travel. Have you ever seen suitcases coming in from Ukraine completely wrapped in plastic film? That’s because some airport security might like the sweater or watch you have in your suitcase. You have some level or control over what is taken out of your carry on. The other option is to wrap your suitcase in a thick layer of plastic wrap.