The biggest untouched spot in Europe has been scratched off my travels map, wohoo! It was not a usual vacation, though, but a business trip. Still one hell of a voyage in 5 days with my route: Kiev-Dnipro-Demurine-Dnipro-Volnohirsk-Zhovti Vody-Kiev-Ivano Frankivsk-Kalush-Kiev. I believe I have seen more of Ukraine that many of the Ukranians did themselves. It was a very diverse and intense experience, from modern and dynamic capital, across a Russian-speaking part, to the deepest quarries lost in the middle of nowhere, followed by visiting oil refineries and metalwire manufactures in the Western Ukraine, so different and mystical (mostly because I didn’t understand the language anymore and wasn’t even sure what I was eating most of the time).
This trip was very eventful, with one meeting followed by another, 300km in Duster followed by a train at 5 a.m., and most of my meals were dedicated to business. But I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t found 2 hours there – 1 hour there – late night dinner place there, to explore a bit on the go.
Once in Ukraine, the must-eats include: traditional borscht, dranyki, syrniki, vareniki (pierogi: there are dozens of fillings; I love classic potato ones, as well as with a modern twist, like truffles inside; can be sweet, too!), cow’s tongue, salo (fatback) and many more, depending on the region. I found food in the east to be completely different from the west. But everything in Ukraine is so satisfying! Always tastes like homemade from grandma’s kitchen, even in haute cuisine places. Even breakfasts in hotels are nothing we imagine here in Europe, where you barely see a buffet with 3 different soups, 5 hot meat dishes, all kind of potatoes, baked mushrooms, mayonnaise salads or shashlik at 8 a.m.
I have a list of Kiev and Dnipro recommendations from the locals, of course. I have tried out as many as I had the time for. However, I’d like to keep it, as well as expressing my emotions from traveling across Ukraine, for the next time, when I manage to visit more places myself and put together more impressions.
It’s amazing, how much of a life experience can a business trip be! Meeting local people from the tiniest villages and learning about their lifestyle was just as exciting as trying the most expensive truffle pierogi in the capital. See you soon, Ukraine!