Getting back into the swing of travel, I recently took a trip down to Kiev with my buddy to cross another country off the list and I have to say, I was impressed. Also, you don't need a visa which makes life instantly easier.
The women are hot and prices were cheap, especially the hostels.
I found a shitty cheap hostel and, just like in Moscow you have to first run the rape gauntlet to get there. It was hidden far away in some back alley.
if you look hard enough, you can see the hostel sign to the left of the light
Now, allow me to break down my impressions in two categories: the place and the people.
here's the centre
Kiev is quite hilly and, compared to Moscow, small. For me, it had the feel of some of the Baltic states like Latvia. The streets were quite clean and generally it was a pretty nice looking city.
It's the kind of place where you can see all the main sights in a couple of days and not be too tired.
In Moscow, there's more to see, but the city tires you out because it's so huge.
Down in the centre there are plenty of bars and smaller clubs and the prices were pretty good. A large vodka red bull was about 45 griven - around 5 bucks.
The thing I liked the most had to be the people. In General, I found Ukrainians to be much more friendly, open and willing to help than Russians. Also, a lot of them had at least some English, even though we ended up speaking Russian most of the time.
This could be because Kiev is simply a smaller city, thus explaining the more relaxed vibe. Whatever the reason, the general vibe seemed more friendly and relaxed.
Just stay out of these areas and you'll be good to go
For years I've been hearing that Ukrainian women are perhaps the hottest of all the Slavs, but I never really believed it, until now.
Not only are there smoking hot 10s wandering around all over the place, the ratio is insane as well.
One curious thing I noticed was that Ukrainian women seemed to swear more than their Russian counterparts, as weird as that sounds. Very odd to hear a girl with an angelic voice say мне похуй (means I don't give a fuck, except sounds worse in Russian).
As for the male competition for these swearing beauties, it's pretty non existent. Kiev makes the local Moscow mullets look like Brat Pitts in comparison.
In one of the clubs we were at, it seemed the only other dudes there were 50 year old Turkish men, cranking out the sleaze vibes.
On the Saturday night, a group of old (50-60+) American guys stopped by and they looked they they were straight off one of those marriage tours.
As I watched a fat, old man, awkwardly shimmy across to the bar to talk to,what I am almost sure was a hooker, I had to reminded myself not to ever become the old guy in the club.
Almost certainly me in 50 years
If I had known about Kiev all those years ago, I may well have bypassed Russia completely.
It's a good place, cheap place to visit and I if you're learning Russian and need the practise, I'd suggest Kiev or another Ukrainian city as a easier alternative to Russia. It's cheap, you don't need a visa and they speak Russian there.
Sure, you might end up with a funny accent, but it's worth it.