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Author Topic: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018  (Read 2856 times)

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Offline SteveInBoston

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My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« on: July 12, 2018, 09:27:40 PM »
Hello,

I recently joined this website and forum to research travelling to and dating someone from a FSU country.  Thank you to all who have posted, provided advice and shared your stories.

I want to contribute by sharing my story, which went markedly different from some recent posts here.

I joined DMnotify.com in February this year (I will skip the reason why and my experiences with US sites like Match).  BTW, I highly recommend the site to anyone who is looking for a partner from Russia/Ukraine/Belarus/...  I met several ladies there, including Tanya from Ukraine.  After a couple weeks of messaging we switched to Whatsapp and developed a connection.  We texted every day and I decided to visit her the last week of May (3 months of communication?)

She lives in eastern Ukraine, near the conflict zone but in the Ukraine controlled area.  We decided to meet in Kyiv and travel together to Odessa and Lviv.  Oh, and before someone asks, I am in my late 40's and she is 9 years younger. 

Also, I do not speak any Russian/Ukrainian, but I did some "Learn Russian While You Sleep" videos and the Pimsler 8 CD Conversational Russian set.  Noticed that the Pimsler lessons seems outdated - Dva piva, pajalusta.  Skol'ka Ya dolja.  Chitiri ruble....It would be fantastic to get 2 beers for only 6 cents.   Fortunately Tanya speaks English very well - reads/writes fluently, but is not as fluent when speaking and listening.

May 26 - Flight from Boston to Munich via Lufthansa.  Nice overnight flight, but I couldn't sleep - perhaps due to the anticipation of the meeting?  In Munich I was able to get on the airport wifi and texted her my status.  I had lunch at the airport and forgot about the water - if you ask for water without specifying a brand, they give the most expensive one they have.  So, a 25 cL bottle of mineral water for 3.5 Euros.  Could be worse?

May 27 - Flight from Munich to Kyiv, Lufthansa, arrive at 3:45 PM.  I manage to sleep a bit on the ~3 hr flight, which helps tremendously.  Only took about 15 minutes to clear passport control and customs, surprising both of us.  The border control and customs agents in Kyiv were so friendly and quick compared to US counterparts.  Two questions - here for business or vacation (vacation) and how long will I stay (about two weeks).  Went to "nothing to declare" line with my huge luggage (used all of my 23.2 kilo allowance - didn't know what styles of clothes I should bring so I brought a bit of everything, including 3 sportcoats/jackets).  The customs agent picked me out and had me send the luggage through the x-ray scanner - no problems.    I walk out to the terminal waiting area, scan the people lined up on the other side of the rail but I do not see Tanya.  I start to worry a bit -- did she bail?  Was there a problem with her ride to the airport?  I walk out to the center of the terminal, and as look around I turn to the left and there she is, rushing up to me!  As I said, the quick processing surprised both of us - she was at the airport cafe drinking coffee. 

Now I am going to spend a few minutes gushing about Tanya.  Feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you want.  Tanya is stunning.  Tall, blonde, beautiful, in a nice dress and perfect hair.  She spent the morning preparing for our meeting - she went to a hair salon, went to the hotel I booked to drop off her luggage, borrowed a friend's club card for discounts at the hotel and restaurant, purchased a SIM card for me, and planned our afternoon/evening to visit the UEFA Championship festival zone on Khreschatyk street and Maidan square.  She is funny, intelligent, graceful, playful, kind, and mature and goofy.  I discovered most of this during the 3 month of communication, but meeting her just re-affirmed how wonderful she is.  During our stay at the Airbnb apartments she went grocery shopping and cooked breakfast and sometimes lunch, washed my clothes a few times, kept the apartments neat and tidy, and always looked out for my comfort.  A typical example is opening a bottle of water and offering me the first sip - a small gesture that sort-of defines who she is.  Anyway, back to the trip report.

May 27 - Post landing in Kyiv.  Tanya calls a taxi for me.   Taxi turns out to be someone with a private car, like Uber.  I expected this from reading about trips to Ukraine, but it was interesting to experience it in person.  30+ minutes to get to the hotel, which was Hotel Orly Park.  Tanya recommended it to me because one of her friends recommended it.  Everything about the hotel was great except it's location.  It's in the middle of Orly Park, and a lot of Uber/Uklon/Taxi drivers have a hard time finding it, especially at night.  The road in to the hotel is actually the parking lot for Orly Park, and some map apps do not show it as a valid road.  The cost was $75 US /night for a 1 bedroom suite in the top floor - a huge room with a large living room, bathroom with separate shower and tub, and a nice sized bedroom.  And Tanya reduced that price with her 15% member discount card.   We check in, she collects her little suitcase from the front desk storage, and we head to the room.  She gives me a present - a traditional Ukrainian shirt - Vyshyvanka.  She asks me to try it on and send her a photo - she will be downstairs at the restaurant to get a coffee and wait for me as I shower and refresh from the long flight.  I do as she suggests, showering and trying on the shirt.  I take a photo of it from a full length mirror and then switch to fresh clothes for the night.

Wow.  I realize the wall of text I am putting up here.  I will post some pictures next and continue later.

Offline SteveInBoston

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 09:35:29 PM »
Pictures:


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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2018, 09:50:19 PM »
nice report so far steve , its good to read a trip report with apositive outlook on it

you will like kiev im sure , enjoy and keep us posted how things pan out for you

regards SX
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Offline Trenchcoat

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 10:22:37 PM »
Interesting choice of Hotel Steve, it's quite far out from the city centre though which is where I find most of the stuff to do is.

One of my favourite Hotels in Kiev is the Hotel Ukraine, it's slap bang central right in front of Maiden Independence Square in the city centre. Good quality hotel, great history and views and very decently priced for a Kiev city centre hotel. The Dnipro looks another good hotel I would be interested in staying at some time again pretty central but not stayed there yet.

So I'm guessing you're footing the cost of hotel & travelling for her?

Offline Boethius

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2018, 11:04:30 PM »
It's not that far - 10 minutes by tram.
To love someone means to see him as God intended him. - Fyodor Dostoevksy

Offline Trenchcoat

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2018, 11:08:38 PM »
It's not that far - 10 minutes by tram.

Sure but a pain nonetheless when you could be in  heart of the action and just step right out into it each day.

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2018, 11:11:28 PM »
No, it's not a pain.  I lived in that area, and know it very well.  I also lived just around the corner from Khreshchatyk, near the Dnipro Hotel.  I prefer the former area.

If you are doing touristy things in Kyiv, not everything is centrally located.  Not even all restaurants/bars are in the centre.

Anyway, you look good together, Steve.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 11:14:52 PM by Boethius »
To love someone means to see him as God intended him. - Fyodor Dostoevksy

Offline JayH

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2018, 11:36:50 PM »
No, it's not a pain.  I lived in that area, and know it very well.  I also lived just around the corner from Khreshchatyk, near the Dnipro Hotel.  I prefer the former area.

If you are doing touristy things in Kyiv, not everything is centrally located.  Not even all restaurants/bars are in the centre.

Anyway, you look good together, Steve.  Good luck!

+ 1 on the good luck Steve ! :welcome: :)

You beat me to it -- Kyiv is relatively extensive with a lot more than the very  centre   to  see and do and places to eat etc

Also of note -- Steve is( actually--that should be a was !!) not alone !!


Steve-- do not worry about the "wall of text" -- just put in into more paragraphs spaced a little !! :)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 11:39:27 PM by JayH »
SLAVA UKRAYINI  ! HEROYAM SLAVA!!!!
Слава Украине! Слава героям слава!Слава Україні! Слава героям!
 translated as: Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!!!  is a Ukrainian greeting slogan being used now all over Ukraine to signify support for a free independent Ukraine

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2018, 10:36:37 AM »
Nicely done Steve. As Boe says, you two look good together. Here's to you haveing a very nice trip and hoping it all works out for you two!  :clapping:
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Online BillyB

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 01:46:19 PM »
I did some "Learn Russian While You Sleep" videos


Does that company sell any "Earn a million dollars while you sleep" videos? If so, I'm buying. Thanks for sharing this nice trip report.
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Offline SteveInBoston

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 01:53:48 PM »
Hi guys, thank you.

The  general location of the hotel (area of town) was not bad, but the specific location - in the middle of the park - made it a bit of a hassle getting taxi drivers to find it.

Trench and anyone else who is curious:  From this forum and from what I have read elsewhere, Ukraine and FSU custom is for the man to pay for just about everything on a date.  Your woman will let you, and expect you, to take the lead and decide on places to go and what to order, etc.  And they prefer you to be a gentleman - open doors, carry the luggage, assist them across steps, and the like.

T acted as I expected - womanly (FSU style) - but was also a bit independent.  She didn't mind suggesting places to go and things to do, menu items to order, etc.  If I ran out of cash for the taxi or a cash only restaurant, she picked up the tab.  I purchased the 1st class train tickets to Odessa (about $25 each), but she purchased the tickets for the overnight train from Odessa to Lviv and from Lviv back to Kyiv.  The few times we went grocery shopping she paid.  But, as expected, I footed most of the bill.   


To pick up where I left off:

I showered, changed and went downstairs.  T decided to get a glass of wine while she waited.  I joined her but picked an awful wine - a gewürztraminer that was recommended by the waiter.   It was cool but not cold (I didn't realize that Ukraine do not keep white wine at refrigerator temperature) and sweet.  I wanted to toss it after one sip but T didn't want me to waste the order.   After two more horrendous sips she acquiesced and we left.   

We went downtown and walked around a bit, making our way to Maidan square.  T is very patriotic about Ukraine - she demonstrated in 2014 and was proud to show me the monument and paid respects at shrines of those who were killed during the protests.  We walked a bit more and eventually went to Petrus-b restaurant.  T was excited to have me try vareniki.  I ordered 3 different types and, well, they were ok.  I am not a fan of the sour creme sauce that came with the dumplings.

T only had a couple - she was dieting because she gained weight in the past month from various parties with friends (birthdays, engagement, girls' night out).  She gained almost 1 kg - LOL.  She ate normal portions for breakfasts (perhaps slightly more than normal) and regular lunches, but decided to eat light dinners.

We took a taxi back to the hotel and spent our first night together.  It was...um...I'll leave it with saying we enjoyed each other's company.  Great 1st day in Ukraine!


May 28:  2nd day in Ukraine. 

We did mostly tourist stuff - Motherland monument, Andriivs'kyi decent, 1 hr river cruise and walks along some parks.  3 things stood out for me:  my first experience with Kvas (not bad), the russian tanks near the Motherland monument (I am a huge fan of military vehicles) and dinner at an Argentinian steak restaurant outside the city called El Gaucho.  I was like a kid looking at the T-34, T-54, T-62, T-64 and other tanks.  I would have loved to see a KV-2 or a T-72.

El Gaucho was a fantastic restaurant.  I highly recommend it.  It is in a wooded area outside of the city, and has several outdoor seating areas under awnings, gazebos and huts. The steaks were fantastic and the wine was very good.  Plus the setting was very romantic for a date.  The only problem was the taxi to the restaurant stopped on the side of the road about 2 km away.  His navigation app stated that was the location of the address - a huge empty lot.  Google Map showed we were 2 km away, down the same road.  The driver didn't want to continue because his app stated we arrived and automatically finalized the fare.  T convinced the taxi driver to keep going, and we made it to the place.   Same thing happened when we called for a taxi. The driver called saying he could not find the restaurant - T told him to keep driving down the road.

Second night together at the hotel.  Even better than the first night.


May 29:

We packed our bags.  T helped me reduce my pack down to about 1/2.  My roll-along luggage has dual zippered sections - I convinced her to pack her things on one side and for me to take my reduced load on the other.  The rest of my clothes I put into her smaller luggage.

We took our final Kiev taxi to see her sister.  Her sister, A, lives and works in Kiev.  I kissed A on both cheeks, and had to kiss her a 3rd time for luck (even numbers are a no-no, I discovered).  We left the small luggage with her and she drove us to the train station.  On the way in we stopped at a grocery store for a make-shift picnic dinner on the train.  I kissed A goodbye (one cheek only) and we boarded our train.

The afternoon train to Odessa was a modern ICE model, not the typical soviet compartment style train.  I think it was called IC+.  I actually purchased all 4 seats around one of the 4 tables in the cabin.  We had plenty of room to relax, have our things nearby, and enjoy our charcuterie style dinner, with wine and beer.  Long, uneventful 7 hour ride to Odessa.

We arrived in Odessa near midnight.  For the first two nights I booked a seaside room at the M1 Club hotel.  I arranged beforehand to have champagne and fruit waiting for us in the room - I told them it was an early birthday celebration for my girlfriend (which was technically true - her birthday was 3 weeks away).  Great hotel, great room, with a balcony looking out over the black sea.  Another wonderful night, and our first day in Odessa.


I want to point out something - I had a fantastic time in Ukraine, which I will go in more detail later, due to T.   First, just meeting her in real life and being with her was wonderful.  But without her I could not have navigated the pitfalls some have experienced - communication difficulties with taxi drivers, not knowing what to order in restaurants, and even not knowing how to order a drink with ice.  If at all possible, I think it is best meet someone online and arrange to meet them, rather than going there and winging it.  But then again, it will be a cool adventure doing the latter and having interesting stories to share.

Next post:  Odessa!

Offline jone

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 02:20:50 PM »
Keep it up, Steve. 

We're enjoying your trip.
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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2018, 02:49:22 PM »
Hi guys, thank you.


I want to point out something -
  If at all possible, I think it is best meet someone online and arrange to meet them, rather than going there and winging it.  But then again, it will be a cool adventure doing the latter and having interesting stories to share.

Next post:  Odessa!


Thanks, Steve.

On all  trips, I had help from someone in-country (more recently family and friends, but before that trusted rwd members).  I always have contigency plans, too (even now), but the most important thing is attitude when facing inevitable bumps in the (literal and figurative) road - no amount of planning can stand up to the FSU.

I'm glad things went so well for you! 



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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2018, 04:04:50 PM »

In case anyone is interested, I checked the DM notify webpage statistics on hypestat. Their website receives 280 visitors per day. That alone wouldn't be a warning sign, as I met my FSU wife from a small agency(25 years ago before widespread internet), but this agency boasts 2.7 million members on their home page. That would mean members would only check once every several years

Maybe that's an average over many years...... Since I've been a member there has been a lot of traffic, several thousand women checking in everyday and usually 200-400 on line at any one time.

I've only been on two sites DM and f dating. I found with fdating, women didn't make first contact as often as DM, but reply rates when I made contact are very similar.

Billy was concerned that I was receiving to many messages when I first signed up  and it wasn't realistic (I had this concern also)..... But after chatting , all but one seemed genuine (some I didn't talk to long).

I think in my case, being from Australia, may have contributed to the amount or women contacting me. Many women have Australia on top of their list in their search for a spouse. I did a search of Aussie men aged 20-60 and I'm not boasting, I'm an average guy, but there really was not much competition and only a handful of full members that can reply to messages. I haven't been a full member for several weeks and as of this morning I have 19 new messages from women. 
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 04:57:07 PM by Davo2 »

Offline Trenchcoat

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2018, 07:23:47 PM »
Well she sounds decent enough if she's not sticking rigidly to the 'man pays' mantra for everything Steve. I find women I'm their thirties onwards can be more reasonable on this than younger women. Your second day our to that restaurant in that city is an interesting choice. There's tons more stuff you could have done in Kiev city centre alone. So more cities are interesting but I'm not sure you will have seen enough of each. Lviv in itself has loads of stuff to see.

Your point of a girl as a tour guide is a good one. I would have been totally lost too on my first trip to Kiev without the girl I met. Fortunately things are getting better now only a mere two years on with stuff like Uber & Uklon mobile apps where you can book taxi's for the same price as the locals :) If you are still out there try & get a Lifecell sim or similar so you can do this next time. Becoming more able to do a trip without relying on a girl is a real development I feel though I've always enjoyed those trips more so far to date when already set up with a solid girl for the duration.

Offline SteveInBoston

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2018, 09:30:30 PM »
Hello everyone.

About DM notify:

I can't comment about the average traffic.  They are unusual in that when I signed up, I logged into russian-ukrainian-women.com.  T logged into a different website, VIP-Royal-Date.com or something like that.  They are all link into DMnotify.com.  I found this out one day when I could not see past messages.  The web support staff told me to log into DMnotify.com, which fixed my issue. 

In the first two weeks about a dozen women initiated contact, with about 3 or 4 of them being scammers (asking to message via personal email only and then sending long letters once a day with tons of details about their day and how they loved me and missed me, no matter what I wrote in response).  I sent about 30 - 40 messages in total - some didn't respond, some stated they were interested in someone else already, and one said I was outside her desired age range (I limited my search to women who were 30+).  In those two weeks, I started genuine communication with about 15 women.  After a while it came down to 4 women.   T was one of the women who contacted me first, via their match game (like tinder - you go through pictures of many women and say yes or no.  If both say yes it notifies both parties).  She was not in my search because of height - I limited that to women the same height or less (I am 5'7" - 170, she is 5'9" - 175).  I am eternally thankful she sent me that first message.


Davo2:  Interesting what you said about Australians.  T initially had no interest in Americans.  Her preference was men from Greece, Spain...or Australia.  ;)


Back to the trip report.  May 30:

T and I spent the whole day at M1 Club Hotel.  I arranged a surprise for her - a massage and aromatherapy session.  The hotel staff set up the equipment in our room and I headed downstairs to work out a bit and then went up to the rooftop bar (P1 Prosecco Bar) with my laptop to work.  There was an urgent project at home and they needed some help.  I was able to use VPN to solve the issue.  This gave me an idea - I could potentially spend more time in Ukraine and work remotely.  Hmmm.

T joined me up there after her massage and we had lunch.  Afterwards she went to the hotel beauty salon for a haircut - she didn't like the style she got in Kyiv.  I finished my work, put away my laptop and joined T at the beach.  The "beach" at the hotel is actually a wood and concrete deck that leads to the black sea via swimming pool style stairs.  We relax on sun loungers, except we were in the shade - T doesn't like sunbathing until after 5 PM.  One of her quirks.  To be fair, she does have really fair skin.  I actually prefer being in the shade, so win-win. 

She had her first margarita (we texted about it a few weeks ago) and I had a vodka martini, slightly dirty.  Confused the hell out of the bar staff.  I had a hard time getting T to understand that I wanted them to add the pickling brine from the olive jar.  She eventually translated it for me, to puzzled looks.  In the end I had a watered down martini with a very sad olive.  And found out later they charged me an additional 120 grivnas for the olive - about $5.  First and last time I ordered a custom drink.

That evening we went back to the P1 Prosecco bar for dinner.  We noticed at the table behind us there were 2 young, pretty girls with a couple of older men.  It seemed one of the men introduced the girls to the other guy, and then he stepped away.  Client entertainment?

After dinner T and I came to the same conclusion about the M1 Club Hotel.  Very nice, exclusive boutique hotel, but the service was lacking based on price of lodging.  The waiter was inattentive, my dinner (sea bass) was cold when it arrived, and he left out one of our orders.  T had the waiter replace the cold dish for a fresh one, and the manager came over to apologize.  She may have deducted the cost as well, I think.  The majority of the staff, except the front desk (who were excellent), seemed to go through the motions of their shift.  Maybe it was because it was still off-season?   Anyway, I would rank M1 Club 3 or 3.5 out of 5, mainly due to cost vs service/expectation.  It is a great hotel at a fantastic location, but there are better accommodations in Odessa.

We end the night by sitting at our balcony, looking out across the glittering sea under the moonlit night.  Actually we end the night in bed, but that is not as poetic.  ;)


May 31:  Arcadia!

We get up and enjoy the complementary breakfast (sort-of, there is an option to get the room without breakfast for a lower rate).  The breakfast was actually very good.   Afterwards we check out and take a taxi to our Airbnb apartment in Arcadia.  The apartment is on the 9th floor of a 20 story building.  It is a 1 bedroom with a great view of the sea.  I think it is listed as Sea and Sky Apartment on Airbnb.  I highly recommend it - 5 stars.  While I take a shower T went downstairs for groceries.  We spend the afternoon inside, fooling around.  There is a British slang for this - tickling?  slapping silly? -  Help me out guys.

After our fun we get a bit lazy but get up to head out for dinner.  We took an Uklon to Tavernetta.  First time using Uklon - hooray!  In Odessa I exclusively used Uklon, except for the taxis arranged by M1 Hotel.  Tavernetta was the best restaurant I visited during this trip.  T agrees.  Fantastic waiter - Slava.  Attentive without being annoying, answered any questions we had about the dishes or drinks, made great wine recommendations, and had a warm and professional attitude.  If only the staff at M1 was half as good...  The food was very good, on par or better than anything I had in Ukraine.    Tavernetta - 2 thumbs up!

We finish our dinner around 11 PM and take an Uklon back to our apartment.  We figure out how to get T's favorite channel on the TV (1 + 1) and then head to bed.  She likes falling asleep to the sound of the TV.  Another great day in Odessa, even though I have been to only 3 places. :D


Next post:  T makes Breakfast!!!


« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 09:35:07 PM by SteveInBoston »

Offline SteveInBoston

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2018, 07:41:07 PM »
June 1:  Breakfast!

First morning at the apartment in Arcadia.  T makes breakfast of omelets, sausages, herb bread with cheese and caviar, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and stuffed peppers, along with black tea for me and coffee for her.  Everything was delicious except the caviar - I am not a fan.  It was an inexpensive orange type (trout caviar?), but I probably wouldn't have liked it even if it was the expensive variety.  I like fish, but only the mild tasting types.   After breakfast I did the dishes and she washed a load of my laundry.  I took a shower, she tidied up the apartment and we headed out to the Prymors'kyi district of Odessa.  We walked around a lot, visiting the Potemkin Stairs, Opera Theater, and the shops along Derybasivska street. 

T was looking for a specific Diesel handbag she saw in March when she visited Odessa.  She wanted to wait until it was on sale, but that handbag was sold out.  We instead got a couple pairs of shoes - comfortable loafers for me and sandals for her.  I quickly realized that although Ukraine is cheap, for meals and lodging and regular items, clothes are as expensive as in the West, especially for brands like Diesel and Tommy Hilfger and the like. 

We headed to Sophie Cafe for a late lunch.  It is highly rated on Tripadvisor, but turned out to be average.  Definitely not as good as Tavernetta, although Sophie is rated higher.  After lunch we continued our walk around the city, going past several museums and monuments.  T kept checking my back pockets.  She warned me to be careful of pickpockets - to keep my wallet in my front pocket.  She was testing me all day by occasionally checking.  She caught me once when due to habit I put the wallet away back there after buying something.  By the end of the day I was good about keeping it in the front, and kept teasing her that what she really wanted had to wait until we were back at our apartment.  ;)

We weren't hungry after the late lunch so we stopped at a grocery store on the way back and picked up some snacks for the apartment (wine, cheese and artisan cured meats).  We ate our light dinner back at the apartment and then sat down for a serious discussion.

I told her that I was having a great time, and that everything was turning out better than I expected.  I've had some feelings for her as I got to know her from texting, but meeting her affirmed she was who I was looking for, who I wanted to be with.  She agreed - she initially limited her expectations to having a couple of fun weeks together, but was pleasantly surprised how well we got along.  Hope for the best but plan for the worst?  Well, it seemed the best happened.  We decided to be committed to each other, and spent the evening sharing war stories - our online and offline dating experiences.   


June 2:

Another wonderful breakfast by T.  This time it's shakshuka, my favorite thing for breakfast.  She made it with fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions and curry powder.  Delicious, but to be honest, second runner to shakshuka at a middle eastern cafe in Boston.  To her I say it is the best I ever had!

After breakfast we walked to Ibiza beach club, which is about 1 km from the apartment.  We rented a lounge bed for 1000 UAH, which required an additional 1000 UAH food and beverage deposit.  We spent the afternoon exhausting the deposit and had a relaxing day. 

Even though I am a newly committed man by then, there were very beautiful, scantily clad women at Ibiza.  T didn't mind me looking, probably because I wasn't ogling or drooling at anyone.  There was one comment she made, which I agreed.  One mother had a 1 or 2 year old baby with her and sat near one of the loudspeakers in the area.  That day they had a guest DJ and the music was pretty loud - typical dance and club music.  She and I thought it odd and irresponsible to bring such a young kid to that area.

If you are single and sightseeing in Odessa in the summer, head to Ibiza or similar beach club.  Plenty of sightseeing to be had.  ;)

I forgot what we did that evening.  I think we ate out?  Well, if we did the place wasn't that memorable.


June 3:  Train to Lviv

We had a simple breakfast of leftovers, packed and met the apartment owner around noon and checked out.  We took an Uklon to the train station to place our luggage in storage.   We walked around the city center a bit more, and went to Kotelok Mussles Bar for lunch.  Very good restaurant - I had the steamed mussles and T had fried herring - one of her favorite dishes.  Second to Tavernetta for Odessa, in my opinion.

We walked around the city after lunch, stopping at a make-shift shack that was a coffee bar and ordered iced coffee.  We then made our way back to the train station area and stopped by a cafe for some snacks.  There I met the most difficult thing I faced the entire trip - an unpronounceable menu item.  Свежевыжатые сокі - svezhevyzhatiye soki.   Fresh Juices. 

After T finished laughing at me it was time to head across the street to get our luggage and board the train.  T booked a first class sleeper cabin for us - my first trip on a soviet style train.  We settled in, the train headed out, and the attendant gave us our complimentary tea/coffee.  The A/C was turned off - it was cool evening.  But it got stuffy in the cabin so we had the window open with the shade pulled down over it - a very awkward arrangement.  The window pulls out into the cabin to open, and the shade is on a guide track to be pulled down or up.  This caused a bulge at the top of the shade where the window was opened. 

We tried to snuggle into one bed, but the bed/cot was too narrow for two people to be comfortable.  So...our first and only evening slept apart.  :D

Next -- Lviv!

Online BillyB

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2018, 09:36:33 PM »

 Seems like she genuinely cares about you. Courting a woman is a fun phase to go through. Seems like you're definitely having fun and things are moving in the right direction. Grats on your commitment to each other.
Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2018, 04:35:16 PM »
June 4:  Lviv

I am not going to go into specific daily details about Lviv.  We spent almost a week there and it is my favorite city in Ukraine so far.  I love older cities with a dense city center where you don't need a car or taxi - everything is in walking distance.  Like Avignon or Edinburgh.  I highly suggest some travel videos or vlogs on youtube that shows the city.

I rented another Airbnb apartment for Lviv.  A 1 bedroom unit on the 1st floor (1st floor off the ground floor, that is) in an older, grand building.  I think the address was Panteleimona Kulisha St, 24, about 500 meters north of the Opera.  For anyone curious, Google maps has a great street level view of the building and the surrounding area.  Our apartment was the corner unit, the one with the balcony.  It extends to one window along Panteleimona Kulisha and 2 windows along the cross street - Medova?

We arrive way early - overnight sleeper train from Odessa that got in around 8 AM.  The owner was kind enough to allow us to check in right away, instead of having us wait until 2PM.  We took an Uber from the train station to the apartment.  First time using Uber in Ukraine!  Actually, first time T and I ever used Uber.  During our 6 days/5 nights in Lviv we used Uber 4 times total.  The rest of the time we walked, and once we took the tram.

This was my first experience at a typical or traditional Ukrainian apartment.  The stairway was dark and dingy, with exposes live wire on one wall and a busted light at the 1st landing.  It was almost too dark at night, but manageable.  The building had a central courtyard that was in disrepair, with clotheslines crisscrossing above from the 2 levels of apartments. 

The apartment layout was unusual, at least for me.  A long, narrow entryway from the door to the kitchen, which was also long and narrow.  The entryway and kitchen was laid out in L-shape.  Door from the other side of the kitchen to the bathroom.  Opening to the right (next to the bathroom door) to a narrow living room.  Door from the center of the living room to a large, spacious bedroom.  Bedroom was the same or larger in size than the size of the combined living room/kitchen/entry/bathroom.

I really liked the windows and door to the balcony.  They were double hinged - they opened fully sideways, and opened partially from a hinge on the bottom (la "V" shape when looking at the window side-on).  Pretty cool.  Unfortunately, the windows were the only way to keep the apartment cool - no AC.  It seemed most apartment in Lviv didn't have AC - something about difficulties with permits to add an AC unit that changes the historic exterior appearance of the building.  Maybe they can install one with the condenser unit on the courtyard side? 

Before the owner left she and T had a long conversation.  She told T the location of nearby grocery stores, including a huge on at a shopping mall just 500 meters to the north (Forum Lviv?).  She also made recommendations for the best restaurants for breakfast specifically and recommendations for best restaurants for lunch/dinner.  Awesome.

I want to point our another wonderful thing about T.  She has traveled extensively as a tourist - I think she's traveled to more places than I have.  One of the things that peaked my interest in her was a profile photo of her in Machu Pichu, Peru.  She has been to Peru, Venezuela (she says it's the most beautiful country she's visited), Bolivia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Poland.  Also several FSU countries.  She has this natural way of speaking to strangers to get insider info on places to go or things to see.  She's very good at putting people at ease and getting them to open up and share.  Except once, which I will get into later.

Quick summary of our activities in Lviv:
  • Walked around everywhere, even to Lychakiv Cemetary, which is 3 km away.
  • Enjoyed various restaurants in the city center, details of 4 of them below.
  • Took the tram once - on the way back from Lychakiv Cemetary.
  • Had plans to do some tours - museums, rooftop tour, etc - but ended up with enjoying each-other's company too much and didn't have the time/desire.
  • T made more greats breakfasts and a few lunches.
  • Flooded the apartment once when we had the windows opened and was out when a thunderstorm rolled through.  Minor flooding - 4 bath towels' worth of water to soak up.
  • Got some gifts for my friends/family, including a vishivanki shirt T purchased for my sister.
  • Lviv Chocolates - yum!
  • Lviv Croissants - good.
  • Day trip to Bukovel - details to follow
  • Kryivka - Slava Ukraini!
  • She said Yes! - details below

Kryivka

What an awesome place.  I will not spoil it - you have to experience it yourself.  If you only visit one restaurant in Lviv, go to Kryivka (unless you are Russian)

Kumpel

Cool restaurant/micro brewery.  Went to the one that is just north of the Opera.  They have a gift shop on the first floor of the building with souvenirs and a few food items to take home.  The beer was very good, and we had the tableside grill menu item.  A bit like hot pot or Korean BBQ for any here that have experienced it - they bring out various raw meats (beef, chicken, pork), several sauces for dipping, and a charcoal grill for you to cook at the table.


Meat and Justice

Another cool restaurant.  It has a huge bbq pit/grill section in the open kitchen.  Grilled meats is their specialty, and they have a performance they do at 9 PM every evening.   Please check the time - it might be different from what I recall.  My favorite dish there was actually a soup/stew.  I forgot the name of it - T told me it may be a Hungarian dish?  Huge chunks of meat in it, and very savory.   It is a bit difficult to get to, even with google maps.  It is inside of a fortified walled yard at the back of the Bernadine Church.  Had to walk along the wall until we found an opening.


She said yes and The Most Expensive Galician Restaurant

I have no doubt in my mind I want to marry T.  T wasn't as sure, but she was open to the possibility of a proposal some day.  So back in Odessa I asked T what type of ring she prefers - diamond solitare, plain, type of cut, etc.  She said that she liked rings from Zarina, a Ukraine jewelry store chain that has custom designs.

On our first day in Lviv we went to Zarina.  T preferred sapphire, and picked out a couple of styles.  Just as an idea of what I should look for in the future.

On a whim I asked T to look at rings in another jewelry store - Zoloty Vik.  She notices a diamond ring that she really likes.  The diamond is small, about .2 carat or so.  But it is surrounded by smaller diamonds and the effect makes it look bigger - about 3/4 of a carat.  When she wore it she and I got excited about the reality of it - that we would be engaged sometime soon.  So, we talked a bit, one thing led to another, and we picked out matching wedding bands of the same style as the solitaire.

In the end, I placed a small deposit (200 UAH) for the rings to "think about it overnight".  Next morning, as T made breakfast, I headed out to get some "shaving cream".  I stopped by a florist - by the way, flowers are CHEAP in Ukraine, $15 for huge bouquet that would be $100+ in the US - and went to Zoloty Vik.  I purchased the solitaire and wedding band set, less than $2k for all three. 

I head back to the apartment...and spring the question.  T is not surprised, much to my chagrin, but she said Yes!  I am rubbish with my subterfuge.  We took some photos, texted our friends and family, and talked to her mom who called right away. 

That evening we head to The Most Expensive Galician Restaurant.  There are some elements on how to find the place and get in, which I will not spoil.  It is formal style of restaurant, separated into several dining rooms.  We have a wonderful meal, pretty good wine, and several awesome photos.   Even though everything there is super expensive, we were offered a member discount card that lowered our bill by 90%!  And by lucky coincidence, we noticed that all the other diners qualified for the discount that night.   :D


Next:  The day trip to Bukovel

Offline ML

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2018, 08:20:14 PM »
June 4:  Lviv

She has traveled extensively as a tourist   She has been to Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Poland.  Also several FSU countries. 

Oh My . . .
I still like Ike.

Offline JayH

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2018, 08:29:44 PM »
SLAVA UKRAYINI  ! HEROYAM SLAVA!!!!
Слава Украине! Слава героям слава!Слава Україні! Слава героям!
 translated as: Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!!!  is a Ukrainian greeting slogan being used now all over Ukraine to signify support for a free independent Ukraine

Offline Trenchcoat

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2018, 02:10:45 AM »
Lviv is currently my favourite Ukrainian city too, however after a while you come to notice everything is geared to extracting money from tourists and a lot of quasi-phoney tourist attractions have grown up that never were loosely based of Lviv history etc. A lot of monuments exist that have just been put in over the last decade or so. Still it has lovely traditional architecture and I must admit to enjoying the tourist trap stuff myself. The gas lantern restaurant was a fun place and the pork & rib restaurant below the armoury was good also.

Time over again with a girl in the Ukraine though I wouldn't go the western 'engagement ring' route. In the FSU it is traditional for local guys just to get a bunch of flowers and ask the girl, if she accepts the proposal that is it, no ring or anything just the promise to marry, wedding bands are bought later. I can see why they do this now, it makes great common sense - if things later go south the girl does not walk off laughing with expensive rings. The guy does not waste money, in FSU he could be taken for a ride time and again by women that go after guys just to get expensive rings. I'm not saying your girl is suspect here Steve but a $1500 can be a year's salary for many women in Ukraine. Conversely going the FSU engagement route the girl is pretty much committed when it gets to the wedding band stage, i.e the wedding, and they can be pretty cheap anyway so if a girl is encountered who is not for real then she is not likely to be interested in going through it just for that. I think this custom has come about for good reason, a genuine girl will stick by you on a promise alone, so I say when in Ukraine do as the Ukrainians do, it's the best way to ensure you've got a solid girl :)

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2018, 09:15:19 AM »
Quote from: SteveinBoston
We took a taxi back to the hotel and spent our first night together.  It was...um...I'll leave it with saying we enjoyed each other's company.  Great 1st day in Ukraine!
A fumble on the first night!!!!!
You would be wise to abandon all thoughts of marriage at this point. You don’t know this woman and are being led by the little head.

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2018, 09:36:09 AM »
A fumble on the first night!!!!!
You would be wise to abandon all thoughts of marriage at this point. You don’t know this woman and are being led by the little head.


Alittle too late for that don't you think. Without looking like a complete ass. While I agree that proposing after about a week of vacation meeting is pretty foolish, its his mistake to make.


Steve, have you done any reading on this forum before going to meet this lady? She may seem like a great lady. Many a guy has come to the same conclusion after a 1 week meeting. I am one of them. I proposed on my second trip. It took 2 more trips to see my "fiance" before finding out she was meeting another man while I was in the states preparing for her k1.


If she really loves you and you her, you should proceed slowly. What is your rush?
every ship can be a minesweeper at least once...

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Re: My first trip to Ukraine - May-June 2018
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2018, 10:06:46 AM »

Alittle too late for that don't you think. Without looking like a complete ass. While I agree that proposing after about a week of vacation meeting is pretty foolish, its his mistake to make.


Steve, have you done any reading on this forum before going to meet this lady? She may seem like a great lady. Many a guy has come to the same conclusion after a 1 week meeting. I am one of them. I proposed on my second trip. It took 2 more trips to see my "fiance" before finding out she was meeting another man while I was in the states preparing for her k1.


If she really loves you and you her, you should proceed slowly. What is your rush?
No, not really. Better to look like an ass now than be a victim in the not too distant future.

 

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