Wunderkammer #2: Shot Glass, Kiev 2019
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and a fabulous leafy city to wander around on a sunny day. Maidan Square, or Independence Square- is the city centre and also the focal point for collective identity in contemporary Ukraine. It was here that the 2014 ‘Revolution of Dignity’ that ousted former President Yanukovych began. Next to it, to our amusement, is the ‘Museum of Jellyfish’, which we, unfortunately, did not have time to visit.
Khreshchatyk Street is the main street in Kiev, and it is quite wide but extremely short. Its length is just 1.3 km (0.8 mi). It is lined with outdoor cafes and wide streets with buskers and street performers and lovely shop fronts with big display windows. We bought a bright red suitcase and a green snuggle blanket here. Most tourists buy magnets and pens…
The underground train system in Kiev was not difficult to travel on despite our monolingual limitations. There are only three underground lines in Kiev (green, red and blue). The Arsenalna metro station is the deepest station in the world, and its escalator the longest- 105.5 meters (346 ft) underground.
As we descended back into the subterranean world of the underground system, I walked past souvenir shops and snackeries. I was always disappointed that I couldn’t eat everything I could lay my eyes on; Ukrainian food with all its cheesy, fatty, fried yumminess and all the fresh, flavoursome produce that can just be sliced up and served on a plate. I was permanently full- a good thing we walked so far and wide every day or I would be as voluminous as a stuffed cheese dumpling with legs.
I also liked the habit of having a shot of vodka and a pickle with meals. I vowed to take that little part of Kiev with me wherever I went in the world. One of the underground souvenir stores, about as big as my bathroom so standing room for me and the storekeeper only- I purchased this little shot glass. Every time I slam down a vodka I think of this special day in a very interesting and vibrant city.
My Odessan friend Alex told me the way to say ‘Cheers’ in Ukrainian is ‘Na!’ or ‘ Za Zdorovie!’
The vodka outside of Ukraine is not as good of course- so I will have to go back there one day.