By Len Friesen, Tour Leader
What a day! We started it with a tour of the very heart of Kiev (actually we started it with breakfast, and that’s not to be silly; it is more to comment on how lovely it is to hear the ease of conversation less than 24 hours into our trip).
But back to Kiev, which is a lovely city. Our capable guide Lisa took us around the old city centre before we drove along the beautiful Dnieper to the dramatic war memorial with its symbol of Mother Russia, complete with Soviet emblem on her massive shield. And with that we see some of the interwoven threads that are Russian, Ukrainian and Soviet in this beautiful urban space.
We enjoyed lunch at an authentic Ukrainian restaurant in the middle of lush Shevchenko Park, and from there we drove to the Kiev Pecherskii Lavra/Monastery, which is among the oldest structures in all of Ukraine (even though Russia also claims it in its heritage). Our very capable guides were able to introduce us to Orthodoxy with its icons and very different notions of sacred space. We even had the chance to stop at St. Vladimir’s on the way back to our hotel, where we heard a small choir singing within this glorious worship space.
Evening meal followed as we were at long last united with all of our group. I’ve now retired to my room after another evening walk-about. This group is like any other I’ve led for TourMagination, which is high praise indeed.