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.