My first experience travelling, long before I ever dreamed of
getting on an airplane, was riding the overland trains in the
country that was then the Soviet Union.
Siberia, where we lived and where I went to
college to train as a nurse, the train took us through the
vastness of Northern Russia to Moscow
which is the hub of the railway lines. From here we would connect
to Tambov where my grandparents lived and also
I loved these long journeys; I could look out the window at the
countryside for hours or read. We enjoyed the food that we had
brought, and on the trains were woodburning Samovars to provide us
In later years, after immigrating to Canada, I
still loved to travel back to the old country every year, and have
been fortunate enough to visit other European Countries.
On this page I will share some of my travel experiences(and
hopefully yours!), and we will look at interesting places and
An old Poster advertising the famous Trans Siberian Express
of my favourite cities to visit in Ukraine is Odessa
on the Black Sea.It is such a diverse place with
beautiful architecture and an almost mediterranean feel about it.
Privos is a great roofed outdoor market in the
center of town where you can find any kind of regional food you can
imagine; vegetables, herbs, meats, seafood and fresh, salted, and
smoked fish. It is full of life and amazing sights and smells
Houses in old Odessa
Odessa Lighthouse being dwarfed by a container ship
Old Whaling Harpoon by a museum downtown
Fish Vendors at Privos Market Halls
The golden tower of a
Old Logo of Russian Airline Aeroflot
have relatives in Kiev, the Capital of Ukraine, which is a city I love
to visit. One of its best known landmarks is the monumental statue of
Symbolizing the Motherland, it is part of the vast World War II
Museum. Inside the statue, you can take an elevator up to a viewing
platform. I took this picture from a ship while taking a tour on the
far from Rodina Mat, as it is situated on the same range of hills just
downriver,lies Perchersk Lavra or the Monastery of the
Caves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can see
the sun reflecting off the golden towers for miles. I took the
picture from the same ship on the river.
Andriyivskyy Descent, which has been
described as the "Montmartre of Kiev", leads up to St.Andrews
Cathedral from the commercial district by the river.
Apart from great old architecture, here you will find some of the best
stores and street vendors selling traditional folk art as well
as antiques and Soviet memorabilia
am fortunate to have a network of relatives and friends over there
when I travel. If you don’t know anyone, maybe don’t speak the
language but still would like to experience all that Ukraine has to
offer, we have found a tour operator which might be helpful to you:Green Ukraine
offers city tours as well as excursions in the Carpathian
mountains where they offer hiking, fishing, rafting and
mushroom picking trips and a variety of other interesting activities.
They will help with travel and accommodation arrangements and their
guides are multilingual.
also possible to travel Russia and Uraine by taking a cruise on the
vast rivers and waterways. Check out this link for cruises from Moscow
to St.Petersburg and others:
Lvov in Russian, or Lemberg as it was called in the days of the Austro
- Hungarian Empire, is a beautiful city in the very west of Ukraine.
On a recent trip there I discovered a very unique dining place -
Kryivka. The word means hideaway, and refers to the secret underground
bases of the Ukrainian National Liberation Army, which after WW I
fought first against the Polish occupation, in WW II against the Nazi
invaders, and later Soviet Russia. In true style, they do not
advertise(I had heard about it from friends as have most first time
patrons), and there is no sign. It is known that it is somewhere by
the central market square, so you have to find it, which is part of
arrive at the door, you knock and will be asked for the password which
I disclose here: it is “Slava Ukraine”, which means Glory to Ukraine.
Upon entering, you find yourself in a tiny room decorated 1930’s style
where a uniformed guard complete with submachine gun pours you a shot
from a canteen. After downing the shot, and no sooner, the left wall
slides back and you follow a flight of stairs down into the bunker,
which is decorated with memorabilia, old weapons and equipment and
just oozes authentic atmosphere.
The food is traditional Ukrainian, of the first quality, the portions
are huge and best accompanied by their excellent cellar beer and the
house vodka flavoured with honey and pepper. And yes - you will be
eating from army tin plates. There is live traditional folk music, and
after the meal you may want to handle the weapons on display, wander a
cave system filled with interesting exhibits, buy souvenirs at a small
store( I did); and finally follow a flight of stairs up to the roof of
the building where you can enjoy the view over Lviv from the seat of
an honest to God 20 millimetre gun.