Sunday, May 5, 2013

Easter Week, Kyiv, Ukraine: May 5, 2013

The reason why the office is closed is because of the string of important dates all coming together during the same one week period: May Day (May 1), Good Friday (May 3), Orthodox Easter (May 5), and the Day after Easter (May 6).  It is also Spring and the weather is glorious.

When we were first approached about coming to the Ukraine, it was mid-March and the temperatures were running about 8˚F (-13˚C).  There was about a meter of snow on the ground in Kiev.  Now there is no trace of winter.  Everything is in bloom and it is warm.  Perfect weather for sightseeing.

We stumbled upon a nearby neighborhood park (Ivana Franka Park) in which there was a display of painted Easter Eggs (pysanka) created by school children and artists.  The center fountain was draped with strings of painted eggs and decorated with freshly cut multi-colored roses.

At Kiev's Botanical Garden, flowering trees were in full bloom capturing the attention of artists of all kinds.

The Botanical Garden has many azaleas and rhododendrons including this unusual fragrant, yellow from Asia Minor.  We saw this same azalea in Georgia and I'm still looking for it at home.  The label says it is Rhododendron Luteum Sweet.

Friday, we visited an ethno village (Folk Architecture and Life Museum) in Pyrohovo just on the edge of Kiev.  Structures from many regions of Ukraine have been gathered and installed on this site.  The layout is regional and spread over many acres of grasslands and wooded grounds.  We strolled from region to region enjoying the girls wearing colorful flowered headbands with streamers and all the very Ukrainian quaintness of it.

 Church from about 1600

A church with beautiful early 20th C primitive icons inside

 Grilled meats and vegetables were the perfect "country" lunch.

 A house that looks as if it should star in Ukrainian fairy tales.
Another beautiful wooden church

Even the bee houses are quaint

Back in Kiev, men gather in shaded parks to play very competitive chess.  The guys below seemed to be playing 5 second move chess. 

And, of course, Spring is for lovers...

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