What is recollected at once when the subject is the Ukrainian national cuisine? Except for bacon (impossible without it! :), two most known dishes in it are borshch and vareniki.
Vareniki - one of the most specific Ukrainian dishes. Their preparation, apparently, is simple: a dough, with the diversified stuffings. However rather tasty vareniki it is possible to prepare, only carefully observing all details of technology. Very few people knows, that gluing properties of the test at a moulding varenikov directly depend on temperature of water, and the flour should be especially thin grinding.
So, would like to bring to your attention:
It better than tartalini,
lingvini and ravioli,
(scuzi mia :)))
it is - VARENIKI
with a water-melon, small cherries, raspberry, grapes, apples, bananas, black currant, mulberry, red currant - so tasty!!! :)
It better than tartalini,
lingvini and ravioli,
it is - vareniki
Well, that's not exactly a tourist tip, but rather local insight. Also well might be you would be invited to become a guest at homeplace, or there would be holidays/birthdays celebrations - then flowers are very appropriate!
NB! The number of flowers should be odd - 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.
That's not funny at all and implies the system of voting and elections.
Now the situation is being changed thanks to the utmost solidarity in demonstrations and protests.
Consequently we're entering a re-elections stage and hope for the best!
Of course every nation has some common habits that eventually differ from other local customs. It could well be that some descriptions I have put in here in this category may also apply for Ukraine as a whole but I would not write such things about the country without deeper insight into specific Ukrainian habits. So I keep with Kiev where most of my experiences are rooted.
Here is a tip that may be "international" in the best sense and border-breaking. And since it is so much advanced in how the world should be I wish to dedicate these words about the experience of openness and friendliness I found when travelling Ukraine to those Kievian children I have had the real pleasure, the honour to make friends with. Looking at them made me wonder what is it that makes us grown-ups so sceptical when we meet each other? Is it fear? Is it the lack of curiousity? What has made us so bitter? So desperately selfish and alone in consequence, so hostile to strangers, intolerant against people who do not speak our language or dress differently? What the heck makes some of us act so low towards strangers in our home country when we are foreigners in every place in this world as well; almost everywhere. What makes us so ignorant? What makes us the sharks that we are? Where has our heart gone?
I am grateful for the purity of friendship I was offered by children and the lessons in truth, acceptance and simple wisdom they taught me again. I owe them my love; and I certainly owe them much more than this: I owe them to practise what they taught me. Will we understand their lessons...?
it's customary to remove your shoes after you have entered a Ukrainian house. the main reasons for that are: 1) Ukrainian streets, unlike streets in Europe or U.S. are quite dusty, and tent to get dirty after the rain or snow. 2) in most of Ukrainian houses/apartments people have carpets/kilims on the floor. would you like to see the dirt on your kilims?? most likely not ;) so out of courtesy, and to save your host a cleaning effort, it's advisable to take your shoes off. don't worry, you will be offered a pair of slippers instead. if concerned about hygiene, just say that you prefer to remain barefoot (or in socks) :)
in some instances, the host will tell you not to remove the shoes, but don't assume that. simply ask :)
* If you bring flowers, make sure it is an odd number of flowers.
* Never put an empty bottle on the table.(only alcoholic drinks bottles, when you are partying) Put the bottle on the floor.
* As a rule, you cannot "change hands" when pouring drinks. A person, who started to pour drinks, will be a bartender for the evening.
* Do not shake hands accross the threshold of a door. It is considered bad luck.
* Never whistle inside the house. It means that there will not be any money in the house.
* At the entrance of upscale restaurants, expect that your coat, briefcase or baggage will be checked.
* In Orthodox Churches women wear scarves or hats, and men take off their hats.
* Be prepared to take off your shoes upon entering a house. Most hosts will provide you with a pair of slippers.
* We wear a marriage ring on the right hand here in Ukraine.
If you have some time before your train leaves, why not take a bus tour of the city?
The bus tours are organized by Krayevyd Co.
Its booking-office is at McDonald's restaurant outside the railway station.
The bus tour lasts for two hours.
It costs 50 UAH for a ticket (the price can change).
The bus tour takes you around the main sites of the capital:
- St.Volodymyr's Cathedral in Shevchenko Boulevard,
- Sophia Cathedral in Sophia Square,
- St.Michael's Cathedral in St.Michael's Square,
- St.Andrew's Church in St.Andrew's Descent,
- the National Opera House in St.Volodymyr Street,
- Independence Square and Khreshchatyk;
- European Square;
- St.Volodymyr's Hill;
- Contract Square;
- Petro Mohyla Academy;
- the Ukrainian parliament building in Hrushevsky Street;
- Dinamo stadium named after Lobachevsky;
- Cave Monastery;
- a visit to St.Flor's women's monastery .
In the heat of summer in the city Kievians buy tons of water melons to quench their thirst and have something for refreshment. Virtually on every corner you can find trucks or big cages full of melons, the latter serving as storage space during the night while the salespeople take their well-deserved snooze.
European Square along with Independence Square often become places of meeting of thousands of people who come there to attend different concerts.
The traffic is closed in Khreshchatyk and you can walk freely enjoying the music and your company.
There are concerts in summer in front of the Ukrainian House (the National Cultural Center).
These concerts attract lots of people on weekends.
One of the popular drinks found in and around Kiev is Kvass, a fermented beverage made from dark bread. It is served by the glass, by the pitcher, in plastic bottles like soda pop... but no pop, only a low alcohol level, generally less than 1%. Generally classified as a non alcoholic drink. The taste is pleasant and I started enjoying it fairly quickly.
I think the place for this tip cannot be among shopping tips because of the reason that flea markets are not only the place for food and clothes shopping, but also for communication, meeting of friends, eating out, and just strolling for the heck of it.
On Kiev's flea markets you can buy everything from food, beverages, clothes, shoes to parfumes, furniture, etc. Also the products are from different countries, mainly Ukraine, Turkey, China, Poland, Germany, and Italy. There is a big chance for bargaining and buying stuff for cheaper price, there is a large assortment of everything.
Of course, as a tourist, I doubt you will have a lot of discount on a product, because there are always an opinion that tourists are very rich and don't care how much they pay for things. However, it is a good place for you as a tourist to see the part of Ukrainian culture: buying and selling things.
The largest and most popular clothes markets are:
- Petrovka (subway station Petrovka near book market)
- Troyeshchina - the biggest one, you won't be able to see it all in one day (special minibus goes from Petrovka to there, located on the left Dnipro banch in residential area Troyeshchina)
- Svyatoshino - (subway station SVyatoshino) not as reach as other, however, can be interesting to see, because the lower part of market is located in park, there is no pavement).
The Kievites and the city visitors celebrate the City Day on the last weekend in May.
This festival has become very popular of late and attracts thousands of people to improvised stages all over the city, in each of its ten districts.
A big part of the festival is the tradesmen exhibition in St.Andrew's Descent where you can see and buy lots of souveniers of folk handicrafts, pictures of local painters and lots of other trivia.
The city looks expecially festive on those days when the chestnuts are in blossom!
Well, although Ukrainians are less hospital than people from Transcaucasian but anyway we are quite famous in this regard too. When somebody pays us a visit, we try to do our best for the guests.
Feeding them to death is one of our traditions :)) Don't be afraid, cuisine is delicious. If some of you someday pays me a visit, I promise, I won't force you to eat pork fat (our national food and the favourite subject of Ukrainian jokes,, apart from 'nationalism' but it's another story... very exaggerated btw).
For foreigners paying us a visit, we always cook the national food : borstch, pampushky, varenyky, galushky, mlynci (pancakes) and many others.
No pork fat, LOL. Btw I dislike it myself too :)
Traditionally we like be sitting around a big table, eating and talking. And singing. Ukrainians is a very "singing" nation. Historically Ukraine is known by great vocal potential.
However I'm not big fan of "table singing", maybe because of my music school childhood. If people sing, they should do it well. Otherwise it is transferred into cacophonie of drunk shoutings, which I strictly dislike. Especially singing of people who don't have ear for music. It's terrible. But,,, maybe it looks exotic for foreigners, I don't know :)))
According to my local Kiev experts, corruption is rampant. Quite often when one party is booted out of office, the bootee party members are jailed quite often for fraud....The winning party probably is just as bad and evil, but that is what happens when there are winners and losers in Ukraine. There are posters all over Kiev to "Free Yulia", a very wholesome looking politician who is on the losing side. My Kiev experts say she is just as corrupt as the next....