6.19.2017

Images of UKRAINE


I visited Ukraine in May of 2017, mainly to visit vodka and brandy producers for several global wines and spirits magazines. However, like anywhere I travel, I get a chance to explore, mainly with my camera. So here are images of Ukraine, covering an amazing diversity of an amazingly diverse country.
 FIRST STOP: ODESSA
Ukrainian money is pretty cool and colorful, and it's rather inexpensive to visit. The exchange rate for the US dollar is about 26 to 1. What does that mean? I had a Heineken for 75 cents. Full dinners about $15.
  

There are churches and chapels everywhere. I popped inside this one to get a feel for it, while the carnival happened across the street. Click this link for a 20 second video from inside! https://www.facebook.com/michael.cervin.1/videos/1418833068177610/
 The M1 Club Hotel located on the Black Sea. Good place to stay.





 Locally made brandy from the Shustov Distillery. Brandy in Odessa started in 1863 and the Ukrainians are pretty happy with it, consuming about 50,000 cases of brandy each year.










Street corner in Odessa















SECOND STOP: ZAPORIZHIA
At the Khortysta Distillery where they make a lot of Vodka (about 500,000 bottles/day) including a pepper honey version. Here, the workers peel the peppers wearing gloves as the oils can burn your skin and eyes.
At the Zaporizhian Sich Complex, which shows the life of the Cossacks back in the 1500s. The all-wood church (above) and the Warrior Show, featuring stunts the warriors did - in this case picking up a sword at full gallop.

 Lots of food, lots of pork, sausage, borscht & potatoes.

LAST STOP: KIEV 
Kiev (pronounced 'keev') is home to almost 4 million people, and is a vibrant city with a host of cultural and historical things to see and do. At one of the downtown squares this walkway guides everyone through a colorful and fun visual of the area.  
There are a lot of stray cats and dogs in Ukraine. And like most, this little guy just wanted some attention...and food.
One of the cool things about Ukraine is some of the Soviet-era architecture (above). Ukraine achieved independence from the then USSR in 1991. And then you have a city of some 400 churches dating back to the 1100s. St. Andrews (below) was built in 1749.


Odessa Brandy and Khortytsa Vodka are both available in the U.S.
A visit to Ukraine is worth considering. Yes, there is a language barrier, but that can be solved easily by hiring a driver or interpreter and, as with most big cities like Kiev, you can make your way around pretty well. I found the Ukrainian people lovely, hospitable, fiercely loyal to their homeland and thrilled to show visitors what makes the place so special. UKRAINE






6 comments:

  1. So neat that you got to see so much diverse stuff. Great pictures!

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  2. Fabulous photos and narrative, Michael! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Great post! My wife left Ukraine when she was 13 and we made it back in 2013 for her first return. Quite amazing trip. By the way, the grevna was at 8:1 so the exchange is even better now! Great photos and commentary. We'll be following you from now on. Check out our wine country blog if you have a sec: www.topochinesvino.com.

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