Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jason and Zoe's trip Ukraine: Istanbul

My colleague and on-and-off (lol) friend Jason and his sweetheart of a girlfriend Zoe (she is a brilliant baker) recently went on a trip to the Ukraine and Turkey. This was during the Euro 2012 period, so you can imagine how excited he was to be passing through during this fantastic time. And as a bonus, while South African's were complaining about freezing weather, he was in shorts and flip-flops and doing touristy stuff in those beautiful cities. Can you see I am green? Well, if not, the reflection on my face is called green (with envy). This is a snippet of his recollection of the trip as he told me about it when he came back...

Jason to me: "For my annual leave, the Mrs and I decided it might be a good idea to visit her parents in the sunny and always popular Ukraine. Not your usual vacation, but it does make for some interesting conversations:

Randomer: So where are you going?
Me: Oh, we are going to Kiev via Istanbul.
Randomer: ...Ooooh sounds great! (confused look on face - imagine someone trying to look up and see their own eyebrows)...Uh...where is that?
Me: Well Kiev is in the Ukraine, it’s a former soviet satellite state….(more eyebrow spotting)… it’s on the Black Sea (me hoping the penny drop)… eastern Europe?... they are playing the Europ football there, it’ll be on while we are there…
Randomer: Ooooh Kiev, now I know where you mean (they don’t) , the Euro is gonna be great!
Me: Yea Zoe and I are very excited, should be great with all the fans coming in.
Randomer: Yea sounds awesome, have a good time over there… blah blah, etc.

"That aside the trip took place in two parts, the first was a 12 hour stop-over in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) Turkey, where we saw the old city (awesome - a must see for anyone). The Majority of the trip was in Kyiv (correct spelling - although most would spell it Kiev).  Kyiv is one of those destinations which is as weird as it is interesting, it’s the capital of Ukraine and to describe it would take rather a long time, so I’ll do it kinda short like: Used to be communist, now capitalist lots of rich and poor people (like SA), women are slender and pretty (no big bodied people under the age of 40), people speak Russian and Ukrainian (sounds the same to me)… Also meat is very expensive L but beer tastes amazing and is cheap, and as a bonus smokers will only pay R11.00 for a box of 20 Marlborough’s! You can’t drink the tap water but bottled water is more expensive than beer (it’s a tough choice I know). The currency costs the same as ours so it’s a great place for South African tourists to visit. Public transport is cheap and ugly but works very very well and the subway escalators are a mix between a mine shaft and a roller coaster… Yea! that about sums it up…oh yea lots and I mean LOTS of churches J. They like angels…a lot. I would really recommend going, but learn some Russian first and see Turkey, really go see it."

Me to my readers: I know you might be wondering what's wrong with this guy, yeah well he talks like that and tends to throw in all the information he knows in conversations. I just give him the look and he laughs and calls me all sorts of names (or something to that effect). Nonetheless, again someone makes me long to travel and see parts of the world. It is a dream of mine, that I should make sure gets fulfilled one way or the other (minus trafficking drugs). Enjoy some pictures he shared with me (they are stunning)!

Map of Ukraine
 Photo's from Istanbul:

The Lavra, birthplace of the Orthodox Russian Church.
A statue of an angel, one amongst many others...

Base of Obelisk of Theodosius
Blue Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque

Bosphorous where Europe meets Asia
German fountain
Hagia Sophia
 I dont know about you, but I love architecture and a deep history and culture, and according to what I am seeing here, Istanbul has it all...
I will bring you another installment later on, the photo's of Kiev. I cannot be bombarding you with everything all at once you know!

signing out...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts, much appreciated.