Tag Archive for 'ukraine'

Schoolmates reunion in Moscow

LeninMavzoley-225x169I just came back from a two day trip to Moscow where I was meeting some of my old friends by high school. I say “some” because most of my friends didn’t make it even though many were going to. At the time I went to the school I lived with my parents in Chukotka, Russia. It is a region in far east Russia, very close to Alaska. Sara Palin could probably see my town from her backyard :)

We met during the first day and then I went to my friend’s house for the night. He lives with his wife and a 2 y.o. son in a 2-bedroom apartment on the 9th floor of a high rise building in the northern Moscow suburbs. My friend is currently unemployed but soon after he got laid off he started a small motor oil distribution business which fairly quickly picked up and currently pays his bills. My friend’s wife doesn’t work.
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A week in Crimea, Ukraine – Part 2

Vorontsovsky-Palance-225x169Today is our last day in Crimea. Overall we spent more than a week and went to several places around Alupka, the town we stay at. The place we went the most times to is Vorontsovsky Palace and park around it which is just 10 minutes by foot from our house. We would usually stroll around the park enjoying the views. On one of the days we took a tour of the palace (40 grivnas per person) but it turned out a complete waste of time and money. It took the guide about 30 minutes to walk us through all the rooms and spit out enormous amount of dry facts about the place none of which we remembered by the time the tour was over.

The one fact about the palace that I did memorize is that it literally has two faces. The Northern side is built in western style while the Southern side (pictured above) carries distinct Eastern elements like “There is no Conqueror, except Allah.” engraved above the entrance. This fact symbolizes multicultural nature of Russian Empire of 19th century.
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Taking a week off in… Crimea, Ukraine

mountain-221x170I am taking time off my daily routine and the place is nothing else but my home country, Ukraine. We left on July 7 and after arriving in Kharkiv spent there one week at my in-laws home. The city hasn’t changed much since my last trip 3 years ago so I will skip that part of our trip. I am in Alupka, Crimea right now. The city is located on the south end of the peninsula and is surrounded by mountains on one side and the Black Sea on the other.

The climate is sub-tropical. During the 6 days we have stayed so far we had sunny weather with around 30’C temperature and just an occasional short rain in the morning or afternoon. The sea warms up to 26’C during the day. The heavenly climate and gorgeous landscape has been the reason why Crimea attracts crowds of tourists from Russian and Ukraine and was the place for summer homes of some high ranking Soviet officials before the regime collapsed.
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My trip to Ukraine – visiting Zaporozhye

This will be the last post from my Ukraine series. Overall I spent in Ukraine around 5 weeks and visited 4 cities. The last place we went to was Zaparozhye, a city with population of around 1 million people stretching for several miles along Dniepr - the longest river in Ukraine. During our visit we stayed at my cousin who lives and works in the city.

Dnepro GES damZaporozhye is famous for its power plant - DneproGES. It is a huge dam connecting two parts of the city and supplying electricity to the numerous plants nesting along the river bank. It was built in 1932 and is the largest hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine.

We took a walk across it and I should say it was quite a nervous adventure. The bridge above the dam swings with each passing truck and you literally have to hold the railings to be able to stay straight.
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Calling to Russia and Ukraine – money saving tips

Old PhoneI have recently received an email from one of my readers asking how to call Ukraine without spending a lot of green. Since both my and my wife’s parents live in Ukraine (as well as many relatives) the topic of international phone calls to Ukraine has never been off the table and we have probably tried every possible way to save on international calling. Here are a few tips that will help you call Ukraine (and other ex-Soviet countries) without braking the bank.

Check what your current provider charges

If you are using one of VOIP providers the chances are they already have very competitive rates. SunRocket, when it was still alive, even offered $3.00 monthly credit towards international calling. My current provider Packet8 charges $0.13 to call a land line and $0.16 to call a mobile phone in Ukraine, which is a very good rate. For those of you still stuck with AT&T and the likes - read on.
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