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Journey to the Borderland

May 25

Posted by Lindsey Whissel on 05/25 at 05:19 PM

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are five thousand pictures worth?

Today is “last bell,” aka the last day of school, for students in Kiev. I know this because my hosts’ granddaughter s nine years old and very excited for summer holiday. On the streets I saw many of the same black and white dresses like those I noted in Kharkiv (reminiscent of old Soviet uniforms).

Our first excursion of the day was to the Water Museum (I don’t know the actual name). It was interesting and showed the evolution and process of water treatment in Ukraine (especially interesting for Mark). Our guide was great and there were a lot of interactive displays.

Near the museum there is a “Love Bridge.” I’m told this is a new tradition and I really like it. I’ve seen some in other cities, but didn’t know the meaning. Basically, couples place locks on the bridge to commemorate their love for each other. So many locks are hung the city has to clear them off periodically to avoid damaging the bridge from the weight. I was told the downside of this bridge is that some people who are unlucky in love go there to commit suicide.

Lastly, we visited the World War II Museum. I think I speak for our group when I say this was one of our favorite excursions of the whole trip. The layout and displays were amazing. Even though we didn’t have much time, our guide was able to point on many items of interest. A few that stood out:
1. There was a guillotine on display that was used for public executions- no one in our group knew this method was used by the Nazis
2. There was a famous woman sniper named Lyudmila Pavlichenko who shot several hundred enemy soldiers and is still alive living in Kiev
3. The Nazis didn’t like for any material to go to waste in the camps, so they used human remains to construct various items—by far the most disturbing thing I have ever seen was a showcase with soap made from human fat and gloves made from human skin
4. The guide showed us a showcase with photos of some women- one who pointed out had fifteen children and lost all nine of her sons in the war; the other also had fifteen children, but all ten of her sons made it home alive
My favorite part of the exhibit was the “Hall of Memory”; there are 5,000 pictures on display to commemorate those lost in the war and there is a table running the length of the room with glasses on one side for those who survived and military-issue canteens on the other for those who didn’t.

I ended the night with my host family, which was great. First, I had borchst and Kievski Tort (special kind of traditional cake) with my host mother, Nadia, and her friend Katya. Later, I went with Nadia and Sergei to a nice café on the river Dnieper and then for a short walk.

Word of the day: любить (lou-beet) – love.

{name} Author: Lindsey Whissel
Bio: Lindsey Whissel earned her degree in cinema and digital arts from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has produced a variety of broadcast and non-broadcast media projects for television, radio, and the web.

Comments

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
05/26 at 05:36 AM

sounds like the trip ended on a very happy note.  great job.  be safe.  see you soon

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