I was asked in the Flickr comments of this picture if I get scared while carrying around an expensive camera and tripod around with me. I replied no, not really. I keep the tripod cocked on my shoulder. It’s big and metal and I think anyone knows that an assault will be repelled by the business end of that tripod. It leaves a mark.
This is Cathedral of the Dormition at the Pechersk Lavra in Kiev. It was cold and my tripod was like holding on to liquid nitrogen.
The cathedral was built by a group of Antonite monks from Constantinople on top of a complex network of caves under the Berestov Mount overlooking the Dneiper river.
The second photograph is of the backside in different light much later in the day.
In the last few moments of twilight in the middle of winter, we left the Lavra (distant right) to go into this little restaurant to have some hot chocolate. We sat up in that little round area at the top and they brought us a tiny mug full of super-thick chocolate. It was barely even a liquid, but it was burning hot. You could tell that if you let it fully cool, it would actually turn back into a solid.
This very unusual and moody old fortress, the Golden Gate, sits obscurely in the middle of old Kiev. It is unlike anything I have ever seen, and I still don’t know what to think of it. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t well-formed… it was just… kinda… there. But picture-worthy? Sure!
Cinderella, Saint Andrews cathedral on a cold day, which does not differentiate this day from any other in the Kiev
Cinderella is not Russian is she? I know she really likes shoes, and so do Russian women, but she is more into glass than fur.
Speaking of which, Ukrainian women have some of the most outrageous boots you have ever seen. I really need to grab some shots of these things. They are more crazy than anything Chevy and Dan would wear in Spies Like Us, and twice as wild as anything Harry and Lloyd would wear as part of their apres-ski ensemble.
I walked around the city on a bitter-cold morning after a long night of deep snow and found this gold-and-green domed orthodox church sitting silent in these woods. I did not see anyone else around, so I snapped a few pictures through the woods from across the way.
This is the same church that was almost destroyed by the Germans in The Great Patriotic War, which we call sweet sweet WW2. I told my Ukrainian/Russian friends that those Germans weren’t so tough after all, and they did not find any Great Patriotic War humor funny at all.
They found it even less funny when I did my John Cleese Hitler-walk around the forest claiming the land as my own.
I cannot understate how cold it was in Kiev when I took this picture or how much it hurt to swing my icepick through my exhale to make forward progress.
Below the picture of the exterior is a picture of the inside, where I captured a ghostly heiromonk in his daily devotions.
Kiev is a cold place in the winter. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Germans chose to invade these old Russian cities in the winter months. They say the Russians had some significant success because they initially did not depend on tanks, which are not great in the snow, but instead relied on horse-cavalry.
All of this ultimately made me think that the only thing worse than being a German soldier during a Kiev winter would be being a Russian horse.
Over on the right there, you can see the huge statue celebrating the Great Patriotic War, which we know as WWII.
This Large version looks nice.
This is the Kievo-Pecherskaya Larva in Kiev, Ukraine. It started out as a series of caves and now has grown to a massive complex of monasteries. Unfortunately, it was so cold and windy outside, that I didn’t really have the ability to get a lot of shots all around this cave area. Actually, I did have the patience…. but Will was standing around looking quite bitter and cold, so we just moved on to the military war museum from WWII. I’ll have pictures from that in coming days/weeks.
The Ukraine has some unique architecture. Below is a section of some interesting homes that I think look like they came right out of Smurfville or Disneyworld. In other parts of Ukraine, the buildings are all concrete, blocky, and throwbacks to Soviet government-mandated design, so it is nice to see a reminiscent style of architecture that seems to blend the olde world and the modern.
I’m leaving the Ukraine today to head to Amsterdam, where we have the Casual Games convention lined up. I’ll be pretty busy there, but I’ve always got the camera in the bag if an opportunity arises.