Eastern Orthodox countries like Ukraine celebrate Christmas not on 25th December like Western (Protestand and Catholic) countries, but on 7th January. What better way then to get away from all the Christmas chaos in the UK than to escape to Ukraine for a week at the end of December?
This is exactly what we did. We spent a blissful week in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv. My visits to Kyiv have tended to be quite fleeting as I tend to use it as a launchpad for travel to the Dnipro region in Eastern Ukraine, which is where the ministry of DHM is based.
However, this time I had an opportunity to see a new side to Kyiv, avoiding the customary tourist traps and seeing into the bowels of this remarkable city.
Joshua in front of one of the exhibitions of the War Museum underneath the Motherland Statue in the Pechersky District in Kyiv. This scene depicts the storming of the German Reichstag at the end of WW2. The museum also includes an impressive exhibition of the war that Russia has been waging against Ukraine (and continues to wage to this day) since 2014
Kyiv may not strike the average Brit or American as an obvious holiday destination, but it really is a wonderful city with cultural and historical treasures that reveal themselves to the patient and discerning eye. I was absolutely fascinated and horrified to learn more of the details of what happened at Chernobyl when we visited a museum that is dedicated to the nuclear disaster.
At the Chernobyl Museum in the Podil District of Kyiv
Kyiv is a paradise for booklovers like me. I spent many happy hours in secondhand bookshops and book markets, buying a small library-worth of original books, such as volumes by Dostoevsky and Turgenev, as well as Charles Dickens in pristine Russian translation. I even found an old copy of Machiavelli's The Prince in Russian.
As well as relaxing and enjoying the sights of Kyiv, there was also an opportunity to make some final arrangements in preparation for the upcoming DHM trip to Ukraine in February, which will include a couple of days in Kyiv. It was great to renew contact with our key people in Ukraine, who are busy preparing for the arrival of the group from the UK.
All the train tickets have been bought and things are falling into place nicely. If you are inclined to pray, we would appreciate your prayers as we make the final arrangements for the trip.
I've only been back in London for a few days and already I'm missing Kyiv. I can't wait to get back soon. Roll on February 2019!Enjoying a white Christmas in Kyiv!