Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Random Picture Collection: Kiev Edition

Roughly every month I collect the photos that didn't quite get their own post and bring them together in a single post.  Past collection can be found here.  

Today's collection is centered around our trip to Kiev from a few weeks ago.  We begin with this warrior/angel that overlooks Independence Square.

This is of the Ukrainian government's ministry buildings that was in the shape of a half circle.  

The view of Kiev from the opposite side of the Dnieper River. 

In Independence Square these guys dressed in animal costumes or pop culture icons, such as Bart Simpson, and SpongeBob SquarePants go around and ask all the tourists with kids if they want to take a photo.  God only knows the last time these costumes were washed.  

Another view of Kiev.

My home city of Kharkiv is 40km from the Russian border and I haven't seen to much of this sort of anti-communist public speech.  Kiev is a different place all together being four hours away and this sign and display of photographs and essays was located outside St. Michael's cathedral.  

These next two photos are of an arch called the People's Friendship Arch and it was built as a symbol honoring the 60th anniversary of the USSR.  It offers some of the most beautiful views around Kiev.  

St. Michael's Cathedral.

In America, there would be a huge scaffolding set up, in Ukraine you have painters tied to ropes.  

St. Andrew's Cathedral.  

One of the stalls at the tourist market had these huge colored pencils with the largest one too big to really be able to hold in your hands.  

This building was for sale and could certainly be the setting for a Ukrainian-based version of The Munsters

I doubt this company will ever figure out why they don't get a lot of English speaking clients.  

The obelisk is a World War II memorial.  

A lastly, here is a panoramic photo I took of Kiev...click on the image to see it better. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Somebody's Going To Get Served!

How many times has this happened to you?  You are just walking down the street and you come upon a break dancing competition.  Somebody's going to get served!   

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Battle of Poltava

Poltava, Ukraine's greatest claim to fame is probably being the location of the Battle of Poltava between the Swedish and Russian empires.  The year was 1709 and the two powers were in the middle of The Great Northern War.  They fought for only a few days and Russia's victory over the Swedes is often attributed as the beginning of Sweden's decline as a world power.  Peter the Great led the Russian forces and here's a statue of him which our guide says was life sized.

My Scandinavian heritage [a little more Norwegian than Swede] made this side trip fascinating...especially this peace arch which tries to repair the relationships between the Ukrainian and Swedish peoples more than three centuries after the battle.   

Each side of the battle has a portion of the memorial dedicated to it...it's interesting to note the similar national colors.  

Surrounding the battle grounds which has been left mainly undeveloped are some Orthodox churches and this giant mound which still holds the remains of soldiers who died in the battle.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ukraine vs. Spain Hockey Game

I put together a little movie of our experience at an Olympic qualifying hockey game between Ukraine and Spain when we were in Kiev.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Graffiti #7: The Face(s)

UPDATE:  I found my first multi-colored Face behind a fence:

One of the most prolific graffiti artists in my neighborhood around Freedom Square is the person who paints these monster faces. To me, he looks like a bizarre relative of Oscar the Grouch.  I've been wanting to post this first face basically since the day I arrived as it was the first graffiti art beyond someone painting a word or letters that I came upon.  

I'm glad I waited though as I've come upon many more examples of this artists work.  Here we have a basic monster with almost a happy look on his face.

And with the addition of some eye brows and a hat [is that a hat?] it looks a little more menacing.

These last two are the most disturbing I think and they are located right next to each other on the same street.

This one looks to be a work in progress that was possibly interrupted mid-spray.

And last night as we were walking home from dinner I saw another piece located down an apartment's alleyway but lurking around a Kharkiv alley with a camera at 9:30pm is not the best idea so that will have to be for another day.

More Shevchenko

Snow arrived in Ukraine on Saturday but it didn't stay too long, I'm afraid.  The snow looked particularly lovely brightened by the statue to the poet Shevchenko.  I wrote a little post about him back in September.

One Shevchenko statue deserves another, doesn't it?  This one is located in Poltava.  

And here's another statue...this time from Kiev.

At a museum in Poltava they also had this amazing mosaic of Shevchenko.  

Since being here in Ukraine I've embraced the need for a nice mustache and I'm trying to do my best Shevchenko impersonation...although it will probably take years to get it as bushy as his.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Car Talk

So what is going on in Freedom Square today...it's Day 3 of setting up the city's Christmas tree...which is a little surprising they are setting it up so early as much of Ukraine is Orthodox Christian and their Christmas is celebrated January 7th.  It's a difference in the Gregorian and Julian calendars that causes the difference.  

So that's what's going ton currently but how about a few weeks ago?  How about a car show?!  Why not!  While I'm pretty good with American cars these European ones are mainly a mystery to me.

Along with classic European cars there were also some military vehicles on display.

If I changed this one to black and white it might look like it it was a genuine World War II photo thanks to some collectors dressed as soldiers...so let's give it a try...

And here's the result...not too bad I must say.