13 September 1999
Leafy, beautiful Kyiv in autumn time – this is a pleasant city with lots to see and do. Many parks, museums and endless Orthodox churches – you should know by now that I love the Orthodox icon and am the prime suspect for any major icon smuggling activity. I said yesterday that the frescoes of St Volodymir were great. Wait till you see St Sophia’s. I visited UNESCO-listed St Sophia today and was amazed by the brightly coloured interior of this 10th century cathedral.
I also visited the Podil District of Kyiv, where there are other minor attractions, mostly miscellaneous museums on Ukrainian history and Cossacks. Yes, a number of souvenir stores lined the Andriyivesky Street at Podil – I bought some t-shirts – McLenin, Hard Rock CafÃ¯Â¿Â½ Kyiv and other assorted nonsense. They even have the Matryoshka dolls (those painted wooden dolls insides dolls, popularly known as “Russian dolls”) of Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Flowers and the infamous cigar!
In 2 hours time, I will meet LBS pal Igor’s lawyer friends at Independence Square, though not before my 2nd ice cream for the day (about UAH 1 per ice cream – US$0.20). At mid-day tomorrow, I will fly back to London via Frankfurt (reaching UK about 6pm – in case any of you decides to invite me for dinner…). Thank goodness this adventure is ending soon, or I would balloon beyond recognition.