Ukraine, Rick Steves, Europe discussed on Travel with Rick Steves

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And so in Cameron feels like a very eastern Slavic city. I kind of thought it reminded me of Moscow but on a smaller scale a lot more colorful we were surprised. The main drag was blown up in World War Two by the USSR. Czar as the Nazis were approaching. And so it's all been rebuilt in this very stately communist style if you go beyond that main drag. It's beautiful colorful art nouveau townhouses. There's a certain sophistication in class in Kiev that I wasn't expecting given It's kind of low profile near national stage and yet you know. Even though it's it's got scars from it's it's long and tormented history. There's an incredible historical monuments and one of the ones that blew me away. The most is Saint Sophia Cathedral. It's this church. That is one thousand years old and you go in there and you I can see a thousand year old. Frescoes you go to Berlin. You go to London you go to go to Madrid. There's no thousand-year-old in spite of all the tumult these have survived NC Two thousand years. Yeah that's remarkable. Really when you think of the scorched earth policy of so many wars and so on. That's a real blessing. That is even there at all. Yeah it's spectacular okay. So they've got this More distant heritage but I would imagine there's also the Soviet heritage part of the USSR towering Motherland Monument and Salon. Can you describe that. Think a more bombastic statue of liberty overlooking the Great Napa River and surrounded by the great forests have kind of eastern Europe. And I and it's hilarious. It's amazing it's filled with this barely. Kind of retouched Soviet Era World War Two museum but you know not to make light of the incredible suffering that the Soviet people's went through and trying to you know repel Nazi threat so that is a memorial to the the motherland statue battles of World War. Exactly that's horrific classes. People underestimate how the Soviet Union paid a dear price Ukraine specifically even before world. War Two Stalin's Basically starved Ukraine to the rest of the empire so cameron USS War museums all over Europe. How does the World War Two museum at the base of the tower stack up? Well Ben said what was really interesting is. It's you get the sense that this is a very young country and a country that is still just sort of sticking it's claimed independence because most of the exhibits the exact same exhibits from when it was part of the USSR so they hadn't very very kind of Soviet spin two things that struck me as being really different. When is the last room is completely different because of course before the last room would have been celebration of the great victory of the USSR SR and building a great new world now? It's a very very poignant. Ukrainian focused With a big symbolic basically symbolic table. That's sort of a slavic funeral. Feast kind of honoring all of the people who were lost which was really poignant and then from that room you go back out into the main atrium and this really gave me chills out in the main atrium. They had a temporary exhibit about the war. That's going on right now. In eastern Ukraine with Russia with a bunch of tattered flags that had been sent to the front and then brought back as you push the door open to go out and see those flags you push a big door handle that shaped like a hammer and sickle so survives. It let arrives right. So they've left up the Russian hammer and sickle that you have to push out to get to the monument. I love the war against Russia tells you a lot about Ukraine's position in history and there's something poignant about a tourist who used to the West and American tourists and so on visiting Ukraine where there's a conflict going on right now and it's not a new conflict. There's been tension for for generations and generations. This travel with Rick Steves for talking with Cameron Hewitt and Ben Curtis the Ukraine. Our phone number is eight. Seven seven three three three seven four to five and Dennis is on the line from Wyckoff in New Jersey. Dennis thanks for your call What's your experience in you can? We've been there three times over the last ten years or couple in the sixties basically we always starting vs go to Cap Edessa And also the Kapadia mountains cross the capacity and go to rocky's and then which garage and go out to Hungary and our experiences experiences has been fantastic. You've been to most other countries in Europe. It's cheap it's extremely diverse. We always take public transportation tation Including those you know one dollar My favorite Kaz and going into Ukraine. We've done twice from Poland one with. It's actually the local bus once with an overnight train and once flying in from Germany. So we've done everything and we then Ukraine we have always always taken overnight trained And usually if it's We always go first class if he can get it. It's too bad. We have our own private compartment. If that's full we actually take the whole second class compartments four beds we use two of them and even then it's like forty dollars. Yes I I remember that just from other experienced deep into eastern Europe is just if you want the privacy of a second class compartment. Just buy up all the beds. I mean it's that cheap you know It sounds like you've enjoyed La. Vive and that is a nice complement to Kiev. I understand it's it's sort of the historic old capital. What is like to me is reminds us of a combination of crock cough in the end because it has the Viennese cafe culture and better than most places ah been in? Vienna and it has the Catholic Ukrainian church culture and then you Orthodox Ukrainian church culture sure and then the old Habsburg culture so there's so much there that I don't know where to start it's really old to Europe. nope probably Germany. Maybe eight years ago. I love the thought that it's Sort of a Ukrainian Crack off because a lot of people you know more size to big dominant city kind of maybe give and historic old capital. In fact I think Levin has that connection with Polish History Cameron. What's your take on the vive? Yeah Dennis put it exactly exactly right. It actually was a culturally Polish city for a lot of its history after World War. Two shifted the borders. Actually move the Polish people from leave to a city in in. What's now Poland? But it does as someone who's traveled a lot in Poland. It felt very very familiar. There was a sense of deja Vu. It's got the beautiful main square that kind of feels like a smaller version of that great main square in Krakow it has beautiful churches churches. It's interesting a lot of the church's feel Catholic from the outside and even the inside but they're Orthodox it tells you a little bit about the cultural heritage there. They have something called. Greek Catholic Catholic click coaches The technically Catholic liturgy is more like Orthodox. So you really feel like you really are which is at a crossroads of cultures and this is L- Aviv. LV IV Ben. What's your memory of Lviv when you were there? I think you'll Aviv is a great introduction to Ukraine for people who might be curious. But you don't really know where to start because it has. Is that great historical fabric. It is as Cameron and Denison said this kind of thing. You didn't cultures But it's really easy it's manageable size. There used to tourists Dennis. Thanks for your call. You're welcome this is travel with Rick. Steves we've been talking with Cameron Hewitt and Ben Curtis about their adventure in Ukraine and Ben and Cameron talking to you guys about this. It just reminds me. Do you think even broader than Ukraine that you can have soft adventures by choosing to go places that are just a little beyond just a little bit off the radar going beyond on tourism and in these days. I think that's more important than ever. That's something I thought a lot about a lot. We were traveling on Ukraine. I've been hearing a lot. The last year to about the really famous places in Europe are getting so crowded there almost unpleasant to visit. And I gotTa tell you. We had Ukraine to ourselves. We went to this gorgeous. Orthodox monastery complex in Kiev on a hill overlooking the river with gorgeous gorgeous domes. And then you go into these underground crypts where you see the graves of all the monks who used to live there. We spent probably two or three hours on a on a busy Sunday during the place and as we were leaving it suddenly occurred to us. We had not seen a single other American traveler there and It was just really exciting to feel like we were in on something secret. You know. Thank you guys. It's very much thank you. Thank you travel with. Rick Steves is produced by yours. Truly Tin Tap of with Isaiah Kaplan wander and Caz Mahal. At Rick Steves Europe in Edmonds Washington Washington. Our website is managed by Andrew. Wakeling and Amara Kip Nicole. We get promotional support from Sheila Bruce Off our theme music is by Jerry Frank. You'll you'll find guest information and you can listen again on demand and Rick Steves dot com slash radio. We'll see you again next week with more travel. With Rick Steves. Rick Steves teaches smart European travel. At Rick Steves Dot Com. You'll find an archive of interviews from his radio. 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