Ukraine, day 3 – Kiev

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader

Wow.  What an evening it has been.  Before we knew it we saw the true Prince of Darkness visit Moscow and drive that city into pure mayhem. There was confusion all about, as if all morality had ceased to exist. Then the events of Good Friday flashed before our collective eyes, right in front of us, as in a vision but it wasn’t that. And if that wasn’t enough, a man we had come to know had ended up committed to an asylum and the love of his life wasn’t able to visit him. Everything seemed to go from bad to worse.

Did I mention that that was the plot of a ballet our group saw this evening in Kiev’s grand National Theatre?  That’s probably important information to know.  🙂

If you want to see a bit of the ballet itself  you can google “The Master and Margarita” for a recent Russian version. It has subtitles and is a splendid production.

Oh, and we also had a good day before that:  saw terrific sights from Ancient Kiev including a rebuilt St. Michael’s Monastery on the very site where the original was destroyed in 1930. After lunch our group split up briefly, as most went to the moving memorial site known as Babi Yar, where tens of thousands were massacred over a three day period by invading Nazi troops in 1941.

But not all went, as others strolled in a lovely city park and still others took a few hours to catch their bearings at our hotel before our evening ballet. Does all of this sound like a world of contrasts? Well, actually, it was, and that’s not all of it as further conversations with local (and youthful) guides made it clear that Ukraine’s challenges are very real indeed.

One of the real bonuses of TourMagination as it works hard to strike a balance between organized tours (like this morning) and a host of guided or non-guided options that participants themselves choose (like this afternoon). It is the best of both worlds, and makes for rich conversations over our shared meals (which involves all of our meals actually).

It has been a wonderful few days in Kiev. We head for Zaporozhe tomorrow, and the Mennonite heartland. Oh, and if you wonder how the ballet ended, you’ll have to sign up for our next tour and – if it is still playing – see for yourself.

That’s it for now, from beautiful Kiev.

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