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Kiev – the Capital of Ukraine

Friday, 29 July 2016

My recent travels to Ukraine featured a couple of days in Kiev, as well as pointing a gieger counter at Reactor 4 at Chernobyl. Kiev’s a surprisingly attractive city and there’s plenty to occupy a few days.

IMG_7619 - cathedral at Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra - 540

▲ Plenty of glittering Orthodox churches and cathedrals for a start. They don’t come much more golden and be-domed than the cathedral at Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra.

IMG_7307 - St Volodymyr's Cathedral - 540

▲ Although St Volodymyr’s Cathedral certainly doesn’t look bad. Plus I could see its collection of golden domes from my hotel room. Ukraine’s patron saint has a statue near my place in London, standing in front of the Ukraine Embassy and looking out at the busy traffic on Holland Park Ave.

IMG_7592 - St Volodymyr & Dnieper River - 540

IMG_7611 - former Lenin statue on bul Tarasa Shevchenka - 270

▲ In Kiev he stands close to the centre, looking across the Dnieper River. Kiev has plenty of statues, many of them whimsical affairs for Ukraine poets and other cultural heroes.

◄ Although not every statue has survived so well. Here’s the empty plinth at the junction of Kreshchatyk, the city’s main promenade, and Tarasa Shevchenko Blvd, where a statue of Lenin used to stand until the Ukrainians, tore it down to indicate their displeasure with neighbouring Russia.



IMG_7603 - Bohdan Khmelnytsky statue to St Michael’s Monastery - 540

▲ More Orthodox architecture? From the Bell Tower at St Sophia’s Cathedral this is the view over the Bohdan Khmelnytsky statue in Pl Sofiyska and down proyizd Volodymyrsky to the St Michael’s Monastery. It may look old but the 1108 original was torn down by Stalin’s Soviets in 1937, the modern replacement popped up in 2001.

IMG_7297 - House of Chimeras - 540

▲Archictect Wladislaw Horodecki (alternatively Vladislav Gorodetsky) has been called the Antoni Gaudí of Kiev and his House of Chimeras with its fantastical concrete creatures writhing over their Art Nouveau home is a Kiev favourite.

IMG_7589 - wall mural in Podil district - 540

▲Still more art? The Podil district has the not terribly interesting Chernobyl Museum and lots of buildings decorated with huge murals like this one.

IMG_7589 - wall mural in Podil district - 540

Kiev – the Capital of Ukraine

29 July 2016 | Places

My recent travels to Ukraine featured a couple of days in Kiev, as well as pointing a gieger counter at Reactor 4 at Chernobyl. Kiev’s a surprisingly attractive city and there’s plenty to occupy a few days. ▲ Plenty of glittering Orthodox churches and cathedral...

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IMG_7316 - Chernobyl tour - 540

A Day Trip to Chernobyl

4 July 2016 | Places

Or Chornobyl? That’s the Ukrainian spelling and that’s where the deadly nuclear reactor is located. Chernobly is the Russian spelling. Ditto for Kyiv (Ukrainian) and Kiev (Russian) ◄ I’m standing outside Reactor 4 and holding up a Geiger counter to show that I’m qu...

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IMG_7247 - new Hovercraft at Ryde - 540

Hovercraft – hovering to the Isle of Wight

29 June 2016 | Transport

Remember hovercraft? Those air-cushion vehicles or ACVs were going to take over the world at one point, but today there’s only one passenger carrying service remaining. Until this week my last hovercraft trip was between Macau and Hong Kong 30 years ago. We’d got stuc...

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Afghanistan, Bamiyan, big Buddha niche - 540

Destruction of Memory

26 June 2016 | Media

I was at the British Museum to see Destruction of Memory, director/producer Tim Slade’s heartbreaking documentary about the recent cycle of destruction of historic monuments. The film – click here for a trailer – looks at the most recent outrages, the museum in Mos...

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Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Eight Tracks – mostly road songs

20 June 2016 | Media

Last weekend in London I talked travel, business, Wheeler Foundation and Lonely Planet on Share Radio, in between playing eight favourite tracks on their Track Record spot. Click here for a podcast of the hour-long programme. For some reason most of music seemed to...

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Girt – by the sea

2 June 2016 | Media

It’s the word in the Australia national anthem – Advance Australia Fair – which causes all the head scratching and sour expressions. Verse 1, Line 4: Our home is girt by sea Archaic word meaning surrounded by or washed by, ie Australia is an island. Oh really? ...

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Edward Snowden – Moscow to Melbourne & an Obama Pardon?

23 May 2016 | Media

▲ Last night Edward Snowden talked to a large audience at the Melbourne Convention Centre via video link from Moscow. He was interviewed by Julian Morrow from the satirical team The Chaser. We got to pose questions to Mr Snowden and the one top on my list was wheth...

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Postcards – a dying story

21 May 2016 | Living

A couple of years ago I blogged about the disappearance of postcards in our Instagram and email age. Well two years later I’m still regularly sending postcards to my last two card recipients: my 91 year old mother and Maureen’s 94 year old Aunt Kate. In that last blog...

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IMG_6870 - Albert Park Lake & the bayside - 540

FlightRadar24 & the Final Approach into Melbourne

18 May 2016 | Transport

I’m a sucker for FlightRadar24, that app that lets you track aircraft all over the world or identify whatever might be flying above you right now. Well not quite all over the world, I’ve noted before that flights between the Middle East and Australia tend to disapp...

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Backpacking with Dracula – and visiting Transylvania

15 May 2016 | Media

A former Lonely Planet author Leif Pettersen worked on the Lonely Planet Romania guidebook and it’s pretty clear Count Dracula got his fangs in to Leif at some point. Backpacking with Dracula, available on Amazon as an ebook, supplies way more information on Transylva...

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