Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shopping for Souvenirs in Kiev, Ukraine

Last Friday after a week of sharing a small apartment with six others and teaching Vacation Bible School, I wanted some space and decided on a solo excursion into the heart of Kiev. My goal: face the metro, the St. Andrews Funicular (tram transport up a steep hill) and get myself to St. Andrews Church without assistance. And...I did it! And what a sight awaits the adventurer: St. Andrews Church, built mid-1700’s at the request of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna who visited Kiev and wanted to live there.

In the shadow of St Andrew's, along a cobblestone street are souvenir vendors. Care to join me for some open-air window shopping?

Hanging from the top are fur hats. I was tempted by a white one from Siberian fox. But decided that my lambswool earmuffs are quite warm enough for here in Rostov. Saved about $80 right there. On the table: matroshka dolls, lacquered boxes. Hanging around the back are t-shirts: the red one with the Aeroflot on front tempted me for a nephew.

Matroshkas, the wooden nesting dolls, are the most popular souvenir. This vendor was exceptionally clever - displaying several sets from large to small. Lacquered pins, too.

In the market for a samovar of gold? Nowadays, these are electric water heater uppers. On the very top, set a small tea pot filled with tea concentrate. Then just dilute it as per taste with the hot water.

How about Vladimir Lenin for a stocking stuffer. He comes in various sizes and styles. Makes a phenomenal paperweight. In the end, I bought the usual souvenirs: a handful of postcards, a book about Kiev and...ta-da, a wonderful pencil. Yes, a big, chunky pencil with a little metroshka doll on top, perfect for little niece Lilly Rose, who turns one-year-old next week. I'm imagining that it might be her first pencil. Who knows, maybe she'll fancy herself writer too.


Karen L. Alaniz said...

Love your blog! Thanks for leaving a comment on mine by the way. I am so impressed that you had the little adventure out on your own. You put me to shame.

I want to write an article on not using my car for a month for an environmental magazine and also because I do believe in it. But I'm afraid to take that first step and ride the bus...all by myself! I've tried to bribe my kids into going with me, but they won't. And then I read about your solo trek to Kiev? Sheesh, do I feel stupid.

I've got to read the rest of your blog so I can see where you are from.


Eileen said...

Hey Karen, THANK YOU for your comment! YOUR blog is simply excellent - so glad I happened onto it. But you got me to wondering - this bus that your wanting to ride, is it in the English-speaking world? Is it somewhere in the USA per chance? If so, the hard part's taken care of! Get your pocket change, ask where the bus stops are...and you're on your way, girlfriend! Your bus ride will be a great blog topic, will it not? So bite the bullet -- the bus bullet, we might say -- in the name of research and keep us posted! =)

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Can't find your email-so I'll just leave a message here. Feel free to email me- I think the address is linked to either my blog or my myspace. I'm not sure how people find's one or the other.

Anyway- how close are you to Bosnia-Hertzegovina (sp?)? Have you been there? There is a reason I'm asking.


Anonymous said...

Eileen, you ARE the adventurous one!!! I've enjoyed your informative and interesting. And I missed your birthday...soooooo sorry! Hope it was happy. By the way, I'll take 1 Lenin, 2 pencils, 3 matruskas, and partridge in a pear tree! mm

Eileen said...

Karen, thank you for your message. I left one 4 U at Your blog - with my email there. (Once you've gotten my email address, if you would please...delete it or whatever, so that it's not out there for the whole world to get! ) =) Thank you... EE

Eileen said...

Hello MM, who THINKS she's anonymous...THANK YOU for your massage, I mean message - and I'll have to see what I can do about fulfilling your Christmas shopping list! (Just kidding, I know that what you Really want a mink coat, to be just like Mary Kay.) ;) EE

Jessica said...

I went to Ukraine this summer and brought back 2 wooden bludgeon looking things....I figured they were Cossack maces -- am I right? I actually bought them on Andrevsky too.