Category Archives: Mostly Tourism

Happy New Year!

Last night, we drove to Kyiv with the kids, ate at one of our favorite restaurants, located in the chic central mall, Tsum. Then walked up to the Christmas tree by Saint Sofia’s, and on the way home, stopped at another mall which has a huge play area with carnival rides and a trampoline room.

It was a pretty good New Year’s Eve.

Stunningly Beautiful Pedestrian Bridge in Kyiv

We made it into Kyiv recently, and visited the pedestrian bridge recently opened by Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko.

It is stunningly beautiful and inspirational. It fills you with hope and excitement.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko has taken part in the opening of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge connecting the Volodymyr Hill with the People’s Friendship Arch, according to an Ukrinform corresponde


Later in the day, there was a freakishly strong 20 minute downpour which briefly turned Veliki Val street into a river.

A light in the Sky

To celebrate the return of fresh air, Yulia and I went for a walk. It turned out to be during that magical hour immediately after sun set. That mysterious transitional time between day and night, good and evil, when the light makes everything crisp and beautiful.

The cherry blossoms still scented the air. There were also apple trees blossoming, but they gave no scent.

We saw both ducks and bats in the sky. The ducks flying straight with that frantic beating of wings, the bats chaotically chasing insects in the air.

We saw a part of the woods near the river ravaged by some disease. A few hundred trees stood bare, and at least a dozen had fallen, their roots seemingly withered away.

An old man was grazing cows, and we passed very close to them. I know they are gentle, but I’m cautious around such heavy animals.

We say satellites in the sky. Surprisingly, there was one after the next. A steady flow of minuscule white specs in the dark blue sky. As we were watching, and one of them seemed to turn HUGE. It was probably five time as bright as the brightest star. Then it got small again. I think probably the satellite caught some reflection from the sun at just the right angle.

When we returned home, the day was gone. Night had settled in.

ps – during my morning job, the apple trees were buzzing with honey bees.

Fresh Air

Today there was fresh air and blue skies. A lovely day in small town Ukraine. We smelled the blossoming cherry trees.

For the past couple of weeks, much of central Ukraine was covered in smoke. Apparently, there were fires burning in the woods around Chernobyl. Though some of it may have been from seasonal burns of brush that farmers, big and small, do this time of year to fortify their fields. The Chernobyl fires may in fact have been caused by such burning.

So we had two reasons to stay indoors. One, the Corona Virus, and two, the Chernobyl fires, which were serious enough to have caused an official health warning for poor air quality.

The Native Ukrainian National Faith

The Native Ukrainian National Faith (Ukrainian: Рі́дна Украї́нська Націона́льна Ві́ра, Rídna Ukrayíns’ka Natsionál’na Víra; widely known by the acronym РУНВі́ра, RUNVira) or Sylenkoism is a branch of the Slavic Native Faith (Rodnovery) specifically linked to Ukraine that was founded in the 1960s by Lev Sylenko (born 1921) among the Ukrainian diaspora in North America. The doctrine of this tradition, and of the organisations which develop within it, revolves around a sacred writing composed by Sylenko himself, the Maha Vira (“Mighty Faith”).[1]

The Sylenkoite movement is distinctively monotheistic, and this, together with its early emphasis on the charismatic figure of the founder, has led other Ukrainian Rodnover movements and organisations to define it as not authentically “Rodnover”. Members of Sylenkoite churches, however, consider themselves Rodnovers in all respects. Ivakhiv (2005) defines it as a “reformed” Slavic Native Faith.[2] It may be more accurately defined as pantheistic or panentheistic, since, in the Maha Vira, Dazhbog (“Giving God”, the name that Sylenkoites use to refer to the supreme God) himself proclaims through his prophet: “I am the Giving God, I am in all things and all things are in me”.[3]

According to the definition given by Sylenko himself, his doctrine is that of a solar “absolute monotheism”.[4] Sylenko proclaimed himself a prophet, bringing to the Slavs a new understanding of God that, according to him, corresponds to their own and original understanding of God. By his own words: “God’s grace came upon me, and following the will of God I have proclaimed a new understanding of God”. According to believers, he acquired this knowledge through “breath of his ancestors” being united with them “by divine holiness”.[5]

The movement is split between at least four churches which administer more than one hundred congregations spread throughout Ukraine. These four churches are: the “Association of Sons and Daughters of the Native Ukrainian National Faith” (OSID RUNVira), the “Association of Sons and Daughters of Ukraine of the Native Ukrainian National Faith” (OSIDU RUNVira), Volodymyr Chornyi’s network, and the “Union of Native Ukrainian Faith” (SRUV).[6]

Life in Quarantine in small town Ukraine

I’m living with my in-laws, in a town of about 20,000. There a small town center, two super markets, and several grocery stores.

All the changes to daily life seem exceedingly sensible. Everybody is at home. Most businesses are operating, though restaurants and coffee shops are closed.

Supermarkets only allow ten people inside at a time, and there are lines by the front door or people standing less loosely packed than normal. When we drove by there were maybe fifteen people in line. The bazaar is closed. I heard there was outrage a few days ago that people from the next town over, Radomyshl, were visiting our bazaar. The first death from Corona virus in Ukraine happened there — a lady who had returned from Italy.

Perhaps 10% of the people in the streets wear masks. And there don’t seem to be any fewer people in the streets than usual. I think the percentage will go up.

The electronics shop I entered yesterday allowed for three people inside at once, and the delivery service Nova Poshta (Ukraine’s FedEx) allowed four. All the people working in shops had facemasks and some had gloves.

We went for a drive today for a change in scenery, driving through surrounding villages and speculating about what life would be like there. Love village Lyubovychi which means “loving town” had a wooden sculpture of a man embracing a woman by their entrace.

Haunted Painting of Ukrainian artist

The story goes that artist Svetlana Telets painted the painting in less than 5 hours and felt during them hours that a hand was guiding her.

The painting was put on the market but was quickly brought back which occurred several times by different purchasers of it.

It now hangs in the Vinnytsia salon “Merckx-furniture” on the streets of Kiev.

Customers who visit the shop today claim that sometimes you can catch the painting smiling and to some there is often a glance of anger.

Svetlana stated she felt as if someone was always with her and one day she had the urge draw and believes she captured who watches over her :

”I always felt like someone was watching me. I always drove such thoughts away. Then, one day, by the way it wasn’t a rainy day at all, I was sitting in front of a blank canvas and thought of what I could draw.

Suddenly I saw clearly the contours of a woman. Her face, colours, shades.. I saw every detail of the image. I started to draw it, as if someone drove my hand over the paper. In fine hours I managed to finish it.”

The reports from the first purchasers

The first purchaser was a lonely businesswoman, she hung it on the wall in her bedroom and after two weeks, Svetlana got a call late at night from the lady stating

“ Please take it back, I can’t sleep! It feels like there is someone else in my apartment beside me!! I even took it off the wall and hid it behind the cupboard, but still I have this feeling ”

The second purchaser, a young man bought the painting. He too couldn’t stand it. He brought it back to the artist without even taking his money back. He said he kept dreaming of and complained that every night there was a shadow of the woman walking around, he stated that it was sending him mad and he was extremely afraid of it.

The third was a male, he was completely sceptical and didnt what was rumoured to be happening with it at all but he quickly returned it when he started to see the lady in the paintings white eyes everywhere he also claimed to have intense headaches while being in the room with it.

Many believe the painting is evil and is curse but the artist herself disagrees and has optimized views on it.

She stated:
I’m sure that every picture is born for some particular person. I believe that for my “ Woman “ also there is a person. I understand that many of you don’t need this grief in your eyes. It’s just not an interior decoration. I’m sure there is some one who looks for it, as it looks for that someone.