Climb out of the Universytet Metro stop, gazing at the architecture while you ride endless escalators. When you get out of the building, turn right and enter the small Botanical Garden; stroll down the hill and back up again among the greenery. Back at the top of the hill, you should be on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, almost directly opposite St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral, which you’ll recognize by its yellow color and starry domes. Go inside for a moment of quiet.
From the cathedral, turn left and walk downhill; you’ll eventually run into Bessarabs’ka Ploshcha with the redbrick building towering over the big intersection of Kyiv’s main streets. Cross the street via the underground mall and pop out next to the building; walk around the left side of it to find the entrance to the Bessarabs’kyy Rynok, one of Kyiv’s hidden treasures. Inside, gather picnic fare from some of the many vendors hawking fresh produce, dried fruit and nuts, caviar, home-pickled vegetables, and salo (cured pork fat).
Take your picnic back up the hill to Shevchenko Park; sit on a bench facing the bright red and tangerine Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv buildings and settle in for some people-watching.
And here’s how Tammela got to know Kyiv: “From September 2010 to November 2012, I served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. Though I was posted in a small town in the southwestern part of the country, the Peace Corps office was in the capital, Kyiv, so I spent many single days there with time to wander around the city.My blog, Wherever I am, you are there also, is a combination of travel tales, recipes, running and cycling race and ride recaps, and general musings.”