Return To Kyiv Solo

Full Photo Album:

Woman in Kyiv

This was my first visit to Kyiv after the full-scale invasion (my last visit was in 2019). In typical Raw Travel style, I stayed at a Soviet-era apartment share in a suburb in the Obolonskyi District, a neighborhood I would get to know well. It was near the beach on Dnipro River, where I ran and strolled when I had some downtime.

After a couple of weeks, I began to see the same folks repeatedly, felt part of the neighborhood’s fabric, and was treated like a special guest. My apartment was on the 9th floor, and I was so freaked out about taking the elevator (see the warning sign on L’viv Arrival Album) and having power go out during a Russian air strike that I walked up and down nine floors for the first few days. Eventually, I calmed down and took the elevator up and walked down.

I have many great stories from my nearly 4-week residence in Kyiv. When visiting the “hot” areas in the East and South of Ukraine, Kyiv felt like a refuge. I slept with white noise in my ears, as I’m prone to do whether traveling or at home, and was largely oblivious to the air raid sirens and missile attacks that occurred a few evenings. Had I been more concerned, the metro was just a block away and serves as a bomb shelter for those who take shelter at every air raid siren (there are some).

But Kyiv is a big city, and I figured if my building was hit on the ninth floor, I was toast anyway. I’d rather instead get blown to smithereens by a missile hit than get stuck in a tiny elevator for hours or days. I admit that I might change my mind if that possibility becomes more tangibly real.

I learned about half way through my trip that during air raid sirens, it was wise to open windows, as the sound waves from a nearby blast usually shatter the glass, and that was why I saw so many apartments and buildings with boarded-up windows. Direct hits aren’t the menace, necessarily. It’s the accompanying shrapnel and surrounding damage, as I would find out later.

But alas, these were the minority of my thoughts. Most of the time, I was worried about prepping for a side trip, getting food, meeting someone for a meal, or working in time for a run or the gym. Every day felt like an adventure, and time flew by rapidly.

I must say I enjoyed it, even during wartime. I miss my neighbors and wish them safety, security, and serenity.