It appears you have not registered with our community. To register please click here ...

!!

Welcome to Russian Women Discussion - the most informative site for all things related to serious long-term relationships and marriage to a partner from the Former Soviet Union countries!

Please register (it's free!) to gain full access to the many features and benefits of the site. Welcome!

+-

Author Topic: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!  (Read 5682 times)

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Online SteveInBoston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 0-2 years
  • Trips: 1 - 3
My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« on: November 11, 2018, 12:50:11 PM »
Tonight will be my last night in the US...for 2018.

I am flying out tomorrow to KBP, then take a train or a bus to Kharkiv (I book both, just in case traffic is bad or I get delayed clearing customs and can't get to the train station in Kyiv).  I will be there for two months, returning in mid January.

I have been tracking the status of my K1 visa application - on VJ forums couple of people who applied in June have received their approval last week.  My application was on June 27, so hopefully the case gets approved and sent to the Kyiv embassy while I am there.   I will bring support documents for the next stage of the process to give to Ms. T.  Maybe I can fly back with her?  Hmmm.

Guys and Gals, take care of the country while I am gone.  Hate to show it to Ms. T. if it's all a mess.


Offline krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3087
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2018, 01:01:23 PM »
have some lobster before you go
you won't be having any over there!

have fun, those early days are a blast
watch Ukrainian/Russian MTV when you're over there  they have cool music

after the mizzus does a lotta cookin fer ya
be sure to compliment her and take her out once in a while

it's cool if you have a cookin skill of your own to show
don't oversex yourself at the beginning
cuz then the mizzus will expect this level of performance all the time
pace yourself

make sure the mizzues has a spiffy warm coat and matching purse to walk around in
good shoes are also a must
pay attention to details, they're important!!




вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

Online LAman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1906
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: Looking 3-5 years
  • Trips: 4 - 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 01:38:30 PM »
Tonight will be my last night in the US...for 2018.

I am flying out tomorrow to KBP, then take a train or a bus to Kharkiv (I book both, just in case traffic is bad or I get delayed clearing customs and can't get to the train station in Kyiv).  I will be there for two months, returning in mid January.

I have been tracking the status of my K1 visa application - on VJ forums couple of people who applied in June have received their approval last week.  My application was on June 27, so hopefully the case gets approved and sent to the Kyiv embassy while I am there.   I will bring support documents for the next stage of the process to give to Ms. T.  Maybe I can fly back with her?  Hmmm.

Guys and Gals, take care of the country while I am gone.  Hate to show it to Ms. T. if it's all a mess.


Did you know train is not running next week (~ 22nd) on your route from Kiev to Kharkov?

Too bad train from airport to Kiev main train station is not running yet. Would be nice to hear how it is working when finished.
Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Online BillyB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11357
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
    • Good Story
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 5-10 years
  • Trips: > 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2018, 10:29:38 PM »
I have been tracking the status of my K1 visa application - on VJ forums couple of people who applied in June have received their approval last week.  My application was on June 27, so hopefully the case gets approved and sent to the Kyiv embassy while I am there.   I will bring support documents for the next stage of the process to give to Ms. T.  Maybe I can fly back with her?  Hmmm.


You should get a notice from NVC to schedule the interview and get your fiancée a medical exam while the NVC is sending documents to the Consulate. You have a way of checking on this while in Ukraine? You may be able to fly back with her once the Consulate gets the documents from the NVC. After the interview, If I remember correctly, she can pick up her passport with visa inside from the Consulate a few days after the interview or they'll send it out in the mail to her address. Maybe a two week wait tops after interview. Things slow down during the two Christmas and two New Years celebrations that goes on in late December to mid January.
There are people that will pass info about you and your family. Do not share info about yourself or share photos as they can search for you on the internet and distribute what they found since they are allowed to participate here.

Offline rwd123

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 226
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: > 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2018, 08:17:03 PM »

Did you know train is not running next week (~ 22nd) on your route from Kiev to Kharkov?

Too bad train from airport to Kiev main train station is not running yet. Would be nice to hear how it is working when finished.
If the trains aren't running easiest to get the bus direct to Kharkiv from the airport. The trip is seven hours.

I've never had delays passing through immigration, I've always had to wait for my bag.

Offline krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3087
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2018, 08:24:12 PM »
you can fly from Zhulany airport in under 2 hr to Kharkov
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

Offline Boethius

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2040
  • Country: 00
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: No Selection
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2018, 03:18:04 PM »
Enjoy your trip. 

I forgot to tell you what I learned about the Orly Park Hotel in Kyiv.  I was told by locals that it was built, and owned by Azeri oligarchs.  I was also told that there is always a large contingent of Azeri guests and the prostitutes they cavort with while in Ukraine.  The Azeris have lots of parties, and often prepare shashlik, which is illegal, on the grounds.  Locals say the Azeris have bribed the police for the privilege, who don't enforce local laws.


This post was composed without the aid of google.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 06:56:00 AM by Boethius »
To love someone means to see him as God intended him. - Fyodor Dostoevksy

Offline krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3087
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2018, 05:07:49 PM »
Azeris are some of the strangest people I have ever met, REALLY strange, strange customs and behavior very contrary to Western norms
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

Online SteveInBoston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 0-2 years
  • Trips: 1 - 3
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2018, 07:25:17 PM »
Hi,

I have arrived in Kharkiv.  Pretty uneventful, except for transportation from the airport to Kyiv.

I cleared passport control, collected my bags and cleared customs in about 40 minutes.  Like the last time, I went through the green side - nothing to declare.  A customs officer zeroed in on the obvious American and motioned me over.  Instead of taking me to the luggage scanner, he asked a few questions, like how much money I was bringing and any gifts I was carrying.  When he asked how long I was planning to visit, and I said 2 months, he commented, half jokingly, “you must be a rich man.”

He waved me on and I was at the arrivals area, getting inundated with taxi offers.  When I plainly replied “Niet”, each grumbled a bit and tried to offer again.  Later when I replied with “Niet, spasibo,” they nodded and left me alone. 

So, the magical phrase to disperse the independent taxi guys and guys hanging around the train stations offering help (with luggage, directions, whatever) is “Niet, spasibo.”

I originally planned to take the skybus to the Kyiv train station to catch my train.  However, I realized the folly of this when I approached the bus with my 28 inch hardside rollalong, my 22 inch carry on, my backpack with the laptop, and a large bag with goodies I purchased in Munich duty free.  I thought the skybus would be like a Grehound with a large luggage compartment under the bus, or like the airport transfer busses with a luggage rack.  In reality it was like a small Grehound bus, with tightly spaced seats and no luggage space.  The driver took one look at what I was carrying and shook his head no.

Plan B.  No, not the taxi guys.  Uber!  Except...I couldn’t get the app to select the arrivals area as my pick up point - just only departures.  So I had to go back to the arrivals terminal - I didn’t see any stairs to reach up to departures from the outside. Going back in meant I had to pass security, with the bag scanners and metal detectors. 

Anyway, I went up to departures and went outside to wait for a second Uber (the first selection expired when I din’t confirm the pick up location).  I noticed on the tracking part of the app that the Uber driver was cicling up to departures from, you guessed it, arrivals.

Well, I got into the Uber and showed the driver the train ticket I printed from home - it avoided any confusion of where I needed to go.  The race was on!  It was about 16:10, my train departs from Kyiv at 18:03.  Unfortunately, we hit heavy traffic about 5-10 km from Kyiv.  Fortunately, it only took 1 hour to go the last 10 km to the train station.

I made it there at around 17:30, and got to track 8 just as the train pulled in. 

The 4.5 hour train ride was uneventful, except for 1 thing.  The second stop from Kyiv, o the way to Kharkiv, is Boryspol.  I could have saved the drama by having the Uber take me to the Boryspol town train station and catch the train there!  Live and learn.

I arrived in Kharkiv at 22:40.  T was waiting for me at the tracks.  I got to surprise her because she was focussed on people disembarking at the other side of coach 5.  God she’s beautiful.))

She drove us to the apartment, told me to shower and refresh while she warmed up and plated dinner - she went earlier to an Armenian restaurant and had take out of grilled pork ribs, lamb chops, kabob and grilled veggies.

I am typing this as I wait for my tummy to settle down a bit from the hearty meal.  I am looking forward to tomorrow for the chance to see the city!

Offline krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3087
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2018, 07:56:00 PM »
go to the Блошиный рынок
it's like a giant swap meet
great place to look for "unique items"
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

Offline JayH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5580
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Looking > 5 years
  • Trips: > 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2018, 07:59:02 PM »
Maybe if you had said Nyet instead of the Dutch Niet the taxi drivers would have understood better ! ;D

The current Boryspil train station is still about 8kms from the airport -- I cannot comment on the new high speed train due to start service from the airport this month . I will look and see .

You have a lotta bags ! And I thought I was the only one that travelled with that much stuff !

Nice to see your comments on arrival  and seeing your lady waiting-- is that not the greatest feeling when you arrive !! ;D
« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 08:00:39 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

Online jone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5928
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Committed > 1 year
  • Trips: > 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2018, 08:02:24 PM »
Keep up the narrative.  It's fun to read.

Thanks!
Kissing girls is a goodness.  It beats the hell out of card games.  - Robert Heinlein

Online LAman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1906
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: Looking 3-5 years
  • Trips: 4 - 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2018, 08:06:26 PM »


The current Boryspil train station is still about 8kms from the airport -- I cannot comment on the new high speed train due to start service from the airport this month . I will look and see .
 

 


I mentioned about new train from airport a couple weeks ago. Due to start end of the month.


Have not seen this posted here yet. Good news for those visiting Kiev, new high speed railway connection between Boryspil and Main railway station. Should be running at end of next month. At 80 uah, very cheap connection, cheaper than skybus.

http://kiev.unian.info/10312977-pm-groysman-kyiv-boryspil-railbus-to-be-launched-in-nov.html
Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Offline rwd123

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 226
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: > 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2018, 12:09:25 AM »
It's probably a small detail I forgot to mention. Uber drivers always pick up from departures on level 2 at KBP, never on the ground level (arrivals). So you have to go up the lift/elevator.

Online SteveInBoston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 0-2 years
  • Trips: 1 - 3
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2018, 01:45:46 AM »
Just a short update today.

I didn’t get a chance to see much of Kharkiv yesterday.  T and I spent some quality time together getting reaquainted...

We drove around a bit to do some errands (grocery store, drug store for items I forgot or couldn’t bring on the plane) and went to Gdeburger for lunch.  I wanted the signature gdeburger with a fried egg as extra to add to it.  The waitress said no - there was no way to add items like that - I would have to order a full breakfast dish for the egg.  So I ordered a fried eggs with bacon and chopped beef breakfast.  T ordered poached eggs with grilled chicken over mushroom couscous. 

The chopped beef on the breakfast truned out to be a fried hamburger patty with melted cheese on top.  If I ordered a couple of slices of toast (which was permitted), then I could have assembled the burger that I wanted - bacon, cheese and fried egg.))

Or, I could have taken one of T’s eggs from her plate (she only wanted to eat one, not two) and added it to a gdeburger.  Next time!

My first impression of Kharkiv is that it looks like a soviet version of Kyiv.  Lots of plain apartment buildings - as described by Mendelev in his post about plain exteriors and pretty interiors.  There are some newer office and apartment buildings strewn about, but not as many as in Kyiv.

I haven’t visited any touristy places yet, (the museums and monuments and churches).  I will write more later.


Online SteveInBoston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 0-2 years
  • Trips: 1 - 3
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2018, 03:57:20 PM »
Nov 17 - Poltava!

Yesterday we drove from Kharkiv to Poltava.  T is a huge Gogol fan and wanted to visit some of the places described in his novels.

Thursday I had to get my passport translated to Ukrainian/Russian.  We went to a place called Golfstream - a translation service provider that was recommended to T.  I had to drop off my passport and reclaim it with the notarized translation after 4PM - I felt nervous about leaving it but got over it.  I took a picture of the main page with the phone just in case. 

I wanted to keep that cash I had as backup and decided to withdraw some grivnas from an ATM.  The first ATM I tried was Credit Agricole - it had a 500 UAH withdrawal limit.  I declined and walked across the street to Sberbank - that ATM had a 4000 UAH limit.  I wanted to withdraw near my daily limit of $500 US, but took what I got. 

I checked online and from reading several travel discussions that most banks have a 8000 UAH withdrawal limit, except 2:  OTP Bank and PrivatBank.  T drove me to the nearest OTP Bank - I wanted to use the ATM at the bank, thinking that it would likely have less issues.  I was wrong - I couldn't withdraw 10,000 UAH from the OTPBank ATM due to "insufficient bank note supply" - the machine didn't have enough cash or it exceed the machine limit.  We walked inside with the printout I received from the ATM and approached a bank employee.  T explained the situation but the bank woman didn't know anything about the ATM operation and couldn't help.  She suggested that we can approach a cashier and manually withdraw the amount.

We went to the bank cashier, and the lady said I can withdraw 10,000 UAH as a wire transfer, but she would need to see my passport.  Which I didn't have.   :clapping:

It wasn't worth it anyway - they charged a wire transfer fee of 300 UAH, and I think my bank would have charged 2%.

I checked online again and read that ATM machines loaded with 500 UAH notes will allow up to 20,000 UAH to be withdrawn, but those loaded with 8,000 UAH only allowed 8,000.   We tried one last time and T drove us to another OTP Bank branch...Success!   10,000 UAH, no problem.   

I checked my account online and discovered OTP bank didn't charge any fee, but my bank charged $1.50.  The exchange rate turned out to be 27.80, which matched what OTP bank displayed on their rates poster.

Note:  I tried a PrivatBank ATM, which I heard also allowed up to 20,000 UAH withdrawal.  However, it tries to offer USD conversion service for 250 UAH (for a rate of 27.80), which can be declined (have to confirm twice to decline it).  And then it was going to charge an ATM fee of 300 UAH.    Stay away from PrivatBank!


At noon we went to Osteria Il Tartufo, where we met Mila!  We had to discuss the dates and rates for our future stay at her aparment.   She couldn't stay to join us for lunch, which was a shame because the food was fantastic.  We ordered some beef tartar bruschetta appetizer and main dishes of tuna tartar and fettuccine with duck in a porcini mushroom sauce.  One of the best freshmade fettuccine I had.  With a couple of salads, the meal was 920 UAH.   High for Ukraine, but worth it.

For dinner we went to T's friend's apartment on the other side of Kharkiv.  It was only about 6 km away, but we took an Uber so T could drink.  Uber was 80 UAH for the "select".  I had a blast!  J spoke some English - she works at one of the hotels in town.  She and T were friend since teenagers, and is the same age.  For someone 40 she looks like she is under 30.  Dark hair, blue eyes and just as beautiful as T.  Sorry guys, she is married to a great guy - V.

V also spoke a bit of english.  He does building renovations and is a part time musician.  He made roasted lamb for dinner, and it was one of the best I ever had.  T told me before the trip that V liked scotch.  So, when I was at Munich airport waiting for the connection to Kyiv, I picked up a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue that was on sale at the duty free shop.  That and a bottle of Chateau Beaucastel (also from the duty free store), along with the lamb and great company made it a fantastic evening.


On Friday we packed and drove to Poltava.  The road was fine heading out of the city, and was a divided 4 lane highway for a bit.  Then it was just a two lane undivided road for most of the way.  It was only 130 km but took 2 hours.  With T driving, I got the change to look at the countryside.  I was going to be her navigator, but it was only one road that went pretty much straight to Poltava.  It reminded me of Nebraska.  A long time ago I worked on a project in Columbus, Nebraska, which was 100 miles west of Omaha, on a state highway.  The landscape was pretty flat with empty farmland on either side. 

We arrived at around 5 PM, and went straight to Kozachka for dinner.  I think it is listed as #2 of restaurants in Poltava.  The decoration inside is amazing - raised ceiling divided in square panels trimmed with flowers, panels along the walls, also trimmed in flowers and with Ukrainian folk art.  Some paintings were of christmas, inspired from the stories of Gogol.  We started with salad and soup, and then had haluski (dough stuffed with meat) and halupki (cabbage stuffed with meat and rice).  Everything was very good.  The total with a large glass of dark ukrainian beer was 320 UAH - fantastic price. 

After dinner we met the airbnb apartment owner and checked in.  It's a great  modern style one bedroom place with headed floors in the bathroom and kitchen.   T wanted to take a bath, but the water didn't get past warm.  I check the on demand heating unit and was able to adjust the water temp from 40 to 50 C, which did the trick.

After getting online with the wireless at the apartment, I had a flood of email from work from the past three days.  Somehow I didn't get the messages while I was in Kharkiv.   There were some mail I needed to respond to, so I set myself up at the nice desk and office chair in the living room and did some work.  Instead of going to bed, T decided to keep me company my setting herself on the couch with some blankets and read her book.  I was focused on reviewing some drawings and specifications that needed approval, and didn't notice the small plates of snacks being provided that I was absentmindedly eating.  After I sent out a crucial email my brain caught up - T gave me tea, crackers with strawberry-pepper jam, cheese, nuts and then some fruit.   :D


Today we had a light breakfast and headed out to the Poltava battle site and museum - the battle between Russia and Sweden in 1709.  I won't go into details, but the museum had some nice paintings of the major leaders at the time and artifacts from the battle.  They also displayed period weapons and uniforms.  Two items stuck out to me - a Turkish flintlock rifle with intricate carvings and inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and a brass cannon that was also crafted with emblems and intricate designs.

We then drove to Dykanka, which was the setting of a couple of stories by Gogol, including the Holy Trinity Church.  When we walked in, there was a ceremony/observance going on.  There was chanting echoing in the church, which at first I thought was a recording being played.  I quietly walked in a bit further and looked to the right - a man and a woman were on a podium at the corner, singing/chanting.  The acoustics of the church filled the entire space with their voice.  While the two chanted, a priest in full regalia and swinging an incense urn opened a panel on the wall at the back, stepped out and spoke a few verses in tune with the chanting, then walked back through another panel.  About a minute later he walked out of a different panel, chanted a couple of verses, and walked back out of sight through a fourth panel.  There were only 3 parishioners there, and they made crosses across their bodies at certain points, and walked around to various podiums to kiss the pictures encased in glass.  T joined in on the cross gestures but didn't participate in the picture kissing.

T wanted to see the 300 year old Oak that was supposed to be in that village, but we couldn't find it.  We drove back before it got dark to avoid hitting the potholes on the road between Dykanka and Poltava.  T welcomed me to my first experience of typical ukrainian roads in the villages.   I told her we had those roads as well, especially in massachusetts after a harsh winter. 

For dinner we went back to Kozachka, and had 6 courses between us.   With coffee and tea, this time it was 410 UAH.


In summary:

OTP Bank ATM machines are the best, but be prepared to only be able to withdraw 8000 UAH at a time.

Osteria Il Tartufo in Kharkiv has great Italian food, but is pricey by Ukrainian standards (reasonable by western).

Kozachka is a fantastic restaurant in Poltava.  Great traditional Ukrainian food, great price.

Online LAman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1906
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: Looking 3-5 years
  • Trips: 4 - 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2018, 05:45:20 PM »
I didn't try Kozachka when I was in Poltava. The restaurants I liked was Shade Café which is between Korpusny Sad and Train station and Kipyatok which not far from Hotel Palazzo, which is where I stayed ( nice hotel, great pricing).

Did you have walk on main drag Sobornosti?

I got around using bus system, quite interesting. Just use eway app, and it shows what bus routes are. They can take you to bus station or train station (Kyivska)l
Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Online LAman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1906
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: Looking 3-5 years
  • Trips: 4 - 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2018, 06:05:22 PM »
On second thought I think I did eat at this restaurant based on map. We ate in what seemed like bungalow away from main building. Lots of greenery and walking around area like it is a private park.


Food was ok but slow service....I was hungry. I was entertained by guests I was with in the room/blg
Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Online msmob

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5920
  • Country: ie
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married 5-10 years
  • Trips: > 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2018, 09:08:53 PM »

Food was ok but slow service....I was hungry. I was entertained by guests I was with in the room/blg

What? No date ? ;)

Online SteveInBoston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 0-2 years
  • Trips: 1 - 3
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2018, 11:54:17 PM »
On second thought I think I did eat at this restaurant based on map. We ate in what seemed like bungalow away from main building. Lots of greenery and walking around area like it is a private park.


Food was ok but slow service....I was hungry. I was entertained by guests I was with in the room/blg

Yep, it is in a park setting and has a smaller dining hall away from the main building.  On tripadvisor I read some reviews about slow service - I guess it depends on how crowded they are.  Both days we went early (5 PM) and only a handful of guests were there.

Shade was also highly rated.  I would like to try it next time we are here.  Our apartment is right on Sobornosti, across from the large PrivatBank building.  We didn’t walk around much because it snowed yesterday morning (just a dusting, really) and T had her car. 

Today we are off to Kiev, to meet her sister and family and also her mom, who arrived there by train yesterday to celebrate T’s nephew’s 16th birthday this week.

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5670
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2018, 12:27:48 AM »
Nice report!


The pictures in the church are icons and the terms we use, instead of Kissing, is to venerate (to give honour to) the icon. Each icon tells a story.


It sounds like you are having a fantastic time! Poltava is close to one of my favourite towns in that region, Kremenchug.
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Online mhr7

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 961
  • Country: ru
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2018, 02:40:50 AM »
Quote
Kozachka is a fantastic restaurant in Poltava.  Great traditional Ukrainian food, great price.

Been there 10-12 times as it was my ex's favorite place. It is a wonderful place to eat, especially in one of the outdoor huts with a few friends. Although the constant Ukrainian folk music tends to get on your nerves after a while. I remember having to go to several different ATMs as many of them wouldn't accept my American debit card at all. I think Privat Bank was the most reliable and consistent source I found, but this was 3 years ago and this can change quickly in Ukraine.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 02:51:40 AM by mhr7 »
"We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandeis

Online SteveInBoston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 0-2 years
  • Trips: 1 - 3
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2018, 03:40:56 PM »
Blame it on Black Friday!

Greetings from Vienna - Wien.  Wifey-to-be and I took advantage of an outrageously low Wizz Air ticket and flew to Bratislava for the week.

The story so far:

Nov 18: 

Left Poltava, got in to Kyiv as it got dark.  Booked a room near Zhuliany airport with Airbnb - an apartment in a new building.  On the drive in noticed all the new construction - about a dozen new high-rise apartment buildings, a couple of shopping mall complexes, and a few business buildings.  We saw several billboards advertising new apartment prices at around $1000 per sq. meter.

We parked - I got T to attempt and succeed with parallel parking at a tight spot on a side street.))  We checked in and then ordered an Uber to take us to T's sister's house (T was planning to drink).  At sestra's place we gathered for Sunday dinner with everyone and T's mom - my first time meeting her!  She had a plate of meat and potato pie waiting as greeting - told me it is traditional to offer pies to son-in-laws.  Dinner was grilled fish and chicken wings, with a seafood salad, meat pies, fruit pies (apple), homemade pickles and a couple of other items.   I brought T's nephews some Under Armour, Levi's, Bruins and Celtic's T-shirts, which they loved.  After dinner we drank and talked, with T translating every once in a while.  We then played a board game and I got to practice my russian numbers.   It was great meeting everyone again (I met them in June) and meeting Mom for the first time.

We got back to the apartment after 11 PM, and we settled in for the night.  It got cool so we turned up the heat; however, the carbon monoxide detector went into alarm.  It was attached to a shut off valve on the gas line, and after the detector went out of alarm it seemed the valve didn't reset.  The heater kept trying to heat up the water for the radiators, but faulted out when it detected the water temp wasn't increasing.  I sent messages to the owner on Airbnb message platform but couldn't contact her via phone - the number she had listed was out of service.  I sent messages to another number from her friend/partner who checked us in, and tried to call, but no one answered.  It was after 1AM at the time, and I was agitated and started looking for a nearby hotel room.  T calmed me down and guided me to bed, saying we'll use extra blankets and go elsewhere if the heat is not back on in the morning.  The building had residual heat, so the place was cool but not cold.


Nov 19:

We got up at around 9 AM, and I called the apt owner's friend, Victoria.  When I explained the situation with T's help, she said she would need to call someone familiar with the unit.  I researched the furnace trouble code on-line, and noticed that there was a control board with an on/off switch that was missing - it should have been installed either between the CO detector and the furnace or between the CO detector and the gas shut off valve.   

Victoria called back and asked me to reset the furnace by shutting it off and then on.  There wasn't an on/off switch on the unit, and I couldn't see where it was plugged in (might have been hard-wired to the breaker panel, which I couldn't find).  It was 10:30 AM by then, and Victoria said she couldn't reach a maintenance person yet.  We decided to leave, and Victoria told us we could leave the keys under the door mat.

We packed and left, and went to Kyiv to purchase 2 cell phones - one for me to use in Ukraine, something decent with dual sim slots, and a new phone for T's nephew who was turning 16 today.  I picked up a Nokia 8, and we got the Pocophone F1 for the nephew.  His parent's could only afford a basic phone for him - T and I pitched in to get the better one for gaming...let's hope it turns out to be a good idea.

By the way, I am loving the Nokia 8.  Almost perfect - the camera doesn't take as nice pictures as my iPhone 7. 

After getting the phones we checked into a hotel near her sister's house - a relatively new hotel near a new outlet mall complex.  It was pretty nice, and more importantly, had heat and hot water.

For dinner it was back to Sestra's for the birthday feast.  Mom cooked Donald and Oscar, two ducks she raised, butchered and brought to Kyiv with her.  She baked or braised them with apples.  Donald was delicious!  Or was is Oscar?  We also had grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, a fish salad, a herring under fur coat salad, dried fish for munching on with beer, Olivier salad, roasted potatoes and mashed potatoes.  Everything was great except for the fish, which I didn't try (I am not a fan of salted or pickled fish).  Oh, and more meat pies.

The evening progressed with toasts for the birthday boy, including video calls from T's uncle in St. Petersburg and T's father in Donetsk.  Then the nephew ran off to set up his phone and put it through it's paces.  We chatted a while, mostly in russian with me chiming in every now and then when I recognized a few words and phrases, especially when I heard "Steve" in the sentence.

It was getting late, and we had to segregate our luggage into a smaller carry-on for the Wizz Air flight the next day.  So we said our farewells and T's brother-in-law drove us back to the hotel.  The plan was to leave T's car for her sister to drive while we were away (T said it has issue if left sitting too long in the cold). 


Nov 20:

We organized and packed our bags, and T's sister came over to drive us to Zhuliany.  That morning we got a message from the Airbnb owner, who just returned to town and apologized for the issue.  She refunded the full amount for our stay, minus the Airbnb service fee which she had no control over.

This was my first time in Zhuliany - I had been told it was a small airport and not to expect much, but I was impressed.  It seems brand new, or newly renovated.  I liked Wizz Air: it was basic with no frills, but was efficient and comfortable.   The one unusual thing that stood out to me was the seats were fixed - they had no recline function.  The plane was fully boarded, and we departed 15 minutes early.  We landed in Bratislava about 30 minutes early, and we cleared passport control and customs at the scheduled time of flight arrival. 

The day before I scheduled transportation with Taxi Bratislava.  They said a driver would greet us with a sign with my name - but because we were 1 hour earlier than the scheduled pick-up the driver wasn't there.  I got on airport wifi and called the company, who sent a driver over in 15 minutes.  It was nice car - a mercedes E-class - and the fare was 16 Euros (instead of the 20-35 that a standard taxi would charge).

We checked into the Airbnb apartment in Bratislava, in the old section (pedestrian zone), near Michael's Gate.  The first thing T did was run the water tap to see if the place had adequate hot water.))  It did.

Bratislava is fantastic.  They had christmas decorations set up, and one of the two christmas markets was up and running.  The first thing we did was to go to Eurovea mall to get a SIM card.  We hopped on a tram, and noticed there was no way to manually pay the driver or use a credit card to pay for the fare.  Apparently we needed to purchase the ticket beforehand and validate it on the tram.  Oops.  We only need to ride it for one stop, so we high-tailed it out of there before anyone caught us freeloading.))

The mall had 3 mobile phone operators - O2, Telekom and Orange.  I noticed that the Telekom logo looked extremely similar to T-Mobile.  Hmmm. 

I paid 30 euros for a 1 month Orange SIM card with 10 GB of data and 9 Euro credit for voice and sms.  Not bad, but in Ukraine my unlimited data SIM card was only $7.

We walked back to the old city, and noticed the christmas market next to the old opera house.  The mulled wine/punch/cider looked great, and the sausages and chicken/pork cutlet sandwiches with fried onions looked and smelled wonderful, but we were stoic and headed off to Koliba Kamzik for Slovakian cuisine.  And it turned out average - the traditional dumplings with sheep cheese called Bryndza halušky.  But we also ordered a couple of recommended dishes - slow roasted lamb shank in red wine sauce and a second dish I can't remember.  These two were great.  The total meal, with drinks, was 65 euros.


Nov 21-23:

Nothing much other than walking around Bratislava and enjoying the street food at the christmas market, except for 2.  Grand Cru Winery and car rental for shopping at an outlet mall in Pandorf, Austria.

Grand Cru Winery - fantastic place!  It looks like a coffee shop or book store cafe in front, with a few small tables and seats.  The owner come with a menu, which is just wine (and a back page for some snacks).  He explains the various varieties, and talks about any recent great wines he's tried.  We ended up drinking one too many glasses of really good wine.  Fortunately our place was about 300 meters away by foot!

Pandorf.  Just like any outlet mall I've been to in the States, with all the name brands and a few EU brands that were new to me (but wifey-to-be knew about).  They had Black Friday sales going on, even though we went on Thurday (Thanksgiving day).  T wanted a pair of Levi's 501 skinny jeans, and a coat, and Tod shoes.  In the end, we got Polo vest, two Polo sweaters, Diesel sweater, Tumi wallet and Diesel jeans....for me.)))  T said my current clothes were too old fashioned and I needed the new ones.   T ended up getting a new wallet, a beanie hat and socks.


Nov 23:

Vienna.  We took a train from Bratislava to Vienna - about an hour ride (12.5 euros each).  We checked in to the Airbnb apartment here, between the Wieden and Margareten districts (7 minute walk to Pilgramgasse metro station).   The first thing we did was take the metro from Pilgramgasse to Swedenplatz, or at least tried to.  The train was stuck waiting at Stadtpark, with some issue at Landstrabe.   We left the train and decided to walk the rest of the way to our destination - a michelin star restaurant called Konstantin Filippou.  I booked a lunch reservation three weeks prior, and we had to hoof it make it there on time. 

We arrived on-time, and had a great 3-course lunch.  T was sitting there with a bemused and pouty expression, taking photos of all the dishes.  She wanted something substantial for lunch, not the huge plates with two, maybe three bites of food.  I knew what to expect beforehand, even though it was my first time in such a place.  T enjoyed the food, but not the portions, and especially not the cost.   She mentioned that she and her friends used to make fun of such places when they saw in shows or movies, and did not realize it existed for real.  After three glasses of wine she warmed up a bit more and had fun, especially when I mentioned we should view the experience as a wine tasting with snacks in-between. ))

After lunch we walked to the central shopping area around Stephansplatz and Karlsplatz.  Today was actual Black Friday, and all the exclusive stores were packed with shoppers.  We looked for a coat for T, but when she noticed the prices (300-1300 euros), she decided to make do with what she had and wait to get a coat she liked back in Ukraine.  I tried to convince her to get something (she only brought at sweater and marmot vest), but she's very picky and only liked one coat that was similar to the one she almost got in Kyiv, but this one was twice the price.

Instead, in one of the stores she spotted a pair of Levi's 501 jeans, this time in the style and size she wanted.  We purchased that and a scarf for me that she said would go great with the Diesel sweater she made me get.

We decided to walk back to the apartment, because the Night Market was on the way (Naschmarkt).  And we realized that "night" was not entirely correct.  Except for one cafe, everything there was closed.  We found out the place is only open to 6 PM.  It should be called Afternoon market.

We stopped at an Irish pub for drinks and some snacks, then returned to the apartment.  Our plan was to go to Schronbrunn  the next day and then see if we can find that elusive coat for her before the night walking tour we booked.


To be continued....

Online SteveInBoston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 0-2 years
  • Trips: 1 - 3
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2018, 05:37:22 AM »
Preface:  Please do not comment about the current situation between Ukraine and Russia here.  I believe there's another topic or topics for that.  I am mentioning my experience as per this trip report.))


Hi guys, I haven't updated my trip report because nothing interesting happened until yesterday.  It's been shopping, eating and travelling in Vienna, Bratislava and back in Ukraine (Kiev and Myrhorod).

Yesterday, however...Mariupol and martial law!

Nov 23-30:

Couple more days in Vienna, sightseeing and shopping for socks.  Had a good time, and took the train back to Bratislava on Nov 26 to fly back to Ukraine the next day.  Had a 2 hour delay because the train workers union went on a warning strike - from 12:00 to 14:00.  Precisely from 12:00 to 14:00.

On Nov 27 we returned to Kyiv, via Zhuliany airport.  Wizz Air has been great, both trips.  No muss, no fuss. That evening we went with sister-in-law-to-be's family to a Banya - russian style steamhouse.  We rented a whole building - small pool, shower, steam room, kitchen and dinning area.  The place had a menu and brought dinner like room service to our building.   Sestra's husband whacked us with a bunch of leaves soaked in hot water - it felt like I was being mauled by a wet tree.

We spent the night at their place and took off the next morning to Myrhorod, to stay at the Otte Hotel.  Nice place - a boutique hotel/resort on the river with park-like grounds and a beach, which were covered in snow.  They had a spa area - medium sized pool with a large dry sauna room.  The hotel restaurant was fantastic - had a great T-bone steak, one of the best I've had.  And only about $12 (320 UAH).

Nov 30:

We left Otte early and drove to Mariupol.  The roads were rough - at first icy at spots here and there, then as we approached and passed Dnipro clear but in rough repair.  The worst section was the 150 km from Dnipro to Berdyansk (T said the more direct road to Mariupol was in worse shape).  It was dark when we go to that section, and the sudden pot holes and torn up sections made us very cautious.  We averaged about 60 km/hr.   What was interesting is that the road repair crew outlined the larger pot holes with white paint, and filled in one group of holes with orange paint to make them visible to traffic.  I wondered why they didn't spend that time filling and patching the holes instead of just painting around them.

The road from Berdyansk to Mariupol was better, and we averaged about 100 km/hr.

About 20 km from Mariupol we reached a check point - T said it was a police check point, not military.  A couple of guards in military uniform and rifles asked T some questions and inspected our passports, then asked T to park the car and head into the guardhouse for them to run her ID through the computer.  It was similar to crossing the boarder to Canada, and the guards were nice and courteous, like the Canadian border agents.  The guardhouse had a large window, and I saw T standing there at the desk as they ran her ID and asked a few questions.  About 5 minutes later she and a guard came over, who wanted to inspect the car.  He just checked the front seats and the glove compartment - he didn't inspect the trunk or our luggage.

As we approached the city limits of Mariupol, we went through another check point.  This one had concrete barricades set up with an offset, to make you swerve a bit to get through them.  It also had concrete tank stoppers - like jacks from the game, but huge.  T said this one was a military check point.  It had more soldiers than the first - about a dozen per side.  It was a cold night and windy night, and they were burning wood in a barrel to keep warm.  They inspected both our passports, and then directed us to a hut for us to get out and have our ID's verified.  The hut was like one of those temporary office trailers set up at construction sites.

There were 3 guards inside, two in military uniforms and one in a police uniform. They asked T several questions, and then asked me what I was doing there.  I said I'm in Ukraine as a tourist - they then asked why I would visit Mariupol of all places.  I tried to mention it was because of T - "menya xenchina" - but my russian was stressed to the limit.  Also, they were questioning me in Ukrainian, which made in harder (3 months of Russian lessons on-line didn't help much).

They had us sit down and told us to wait while they waited for clearance from headquarters.  I assume they ran background checks on us.  The one in the police uniform asked a few more questions while we waited.   It seemed he was trying to see if we were showing signs of hiding something, or see if we were getting unusually nervous.  I kept thinking this was like crossing back to the US from Canada - US border agents with their abrupt manner and almost constant suspicious viewpoint.

After about 10-15 minutes they received the all-clear message from headquarters and let us go.  T told me later the guards were being very rude, making comments about why I was with her and making conjectures.  She said at one point she feared it was in soviet times, and the guards would perhaps say there was some "problem" with one or both our IDs, and that they would have to detain us further unless we had something that would persuade them that maybe our IDs were ok...

I just viewed it as bureaucratic delays as part of extra security, and the guards just entertaining themselves being stuck with such a job.  Must be boring as hell working evening hours in the small hut in the middle of winter, checking IDs and asking routine questions.   A short American with a tall, pretty Ukrainian.  An American with a relatively brand new 3-year Russian visa on the 4th page of his passport....very entertaining on an otherwise dull evening.

Anyway, we cleared the second checkpoint.  T was embarrassed that I was subjected a security check like that (it was the first time they asked her out of the car when she passed the checkpoint on her trips to visit friends).   We talked about it and I reassured her it was not a problem - at least now I wouldn't have to worry about the aggressiveness of some of our immigration/customs agents when she comes to the US - she can easily handle that if she goes through these checkpoints every now and then.

Before we went to her apartment we stopped at a grocery store to get things for dinner.  This is when the real hardship hit - they had no fresh mussels!!!  Only frozen...oh the humanity!

We struggled as best we could with things for a light dinner - fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, smoked meat, etc.  After our purchase we got to T's apartment, which is the epitome of a crappy exterior and pristine interior.  After a rusted iron door and dilapidated stairs up a dark stairway, we went through a sturdy metal door to her apartment, which is fantastic. 

Gotta go, wife-to-be is back from her morning pilates training.  To summarize - things are going great, we were only repressed for about 15 minutes under martial law at the check point, and Mariupol in the morning in winter is grey.


Offline JayH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5580
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Looking > 5 years
  • Trips: > 10
Re: My last night in good old USA, Ukraine here I come!
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2018, 10:28:17 AM »
Good to hear you arrived safely -- that is actually a very substantial drive in the current conditions . I am not far away and we had a solid amount of snow last night ( although I heard none in Kramatorsk  which is further east)  so maybe you got through before it?

The road conditions are not a lot of fun in good weather -- and after Zaporizhia the road much more difficult.
The worst section was the 150 km from Dnipro to Berdyansk
"

That is more like 270km in fact ! Road Dnipro to Zaporizhia   is ok ( in a Ukrainain sense_)
There is an interesting aspect of the really cold weather--  the water fills the pot holes and broken tarmac and freezes --it actually takes the severest parts of the road conditions a little less severe and dangerous !

The potential dangers and difficulties of driving any distance in Ukraine should not be underestimated .I know the roads covered here very well - and add snow and ice --  this is quite a journey

Re the checkpoints -- take none of this too lightly -back in 2014 /5 -the checkpoints were outside every city in multiples -- and got more stringent the further east you went . Back then I still had a Russian visa in my passport ( new passport now !) and it always attracted interest .  The more critical the situation gets-- expect those checkpoints to be ramped up/
I saw quite a few incidents at checkpoints back then -- and it could be easy to get mixed up in somebody else's drama.

The old issue of bribes -- maybe not completely dead -- but nothing like it was historically .

T told me later the guards were being very rude, making comments about why I was with her and making conjectures.
It is a fact of life to "hear" comment openly or see the whispering -- girls have to live with it unfortunately.It is not always nasty - sometimes it can be a joking matter.
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

 

+-RWD Stats

Members
Total Members: 9924
Latest: Anabella
New This Month: 6
New This Week: 0
New Today: 0
Stats
Total Posts: 482476
Total Topics: 19249
Most Online Today: 1004
Most Online Ever: 2480
(November 01, 2018, 05:22:05 PM)
Users Online
Members: 32
Guests: 972
Total: 1004

+-Recent Posts

Re: My new life in the Republic of Georgia by Maxx2
Yesterday at 09:26:08 PM

Re: My new life in the Republic of Georgia by Maxx2
Yesterday at 07:30:21 PM

Re: My new life in the Republic of Georgia by SteveInBoston
Yesterday at 05:57:16 PM

Re: Blah, Blah, Blah Edition XXVI by msmob
Yesterday at 12:49:13 PM

Re: Visiting an ukrainian girl, need advice by Boethius
Yesterday at 11:43:06 AM

Re: Visiting an ukrainian girl, need advice by ML
Yesterday at 11:40:39 AM

Re: Visiting an ukrainian girl, need advice by BillyB
Yesterday at 11:24:59 AM

Re: K1 and K3 visa numbers down by Boethius
Yesterday at 11:19:20 AM

Re: Visiting an ukrainian girl, need advice by Boethius
Yesterday at 11:13:26 AM

Re: Music I love by SANDRO43
Yesterday at 11:10:13 AM

Powered by EzPortal