Turns out Ukrainians spell Kiev as Kyiv. And I was lucky enough to travel there to speak at the JavaDay conference.
Andrii and the entire JavaDay Kyiv team did a phenomenal job. There was even a live band! I'll post videos of my favorite talks as soon as they're up.
I was more than impressed with Kyiv and the people who live there. Though language was a struggle — and more than once I played charades with a stranger — everyone I interacted with was lovely and went out of their way to help.
Kyiv is full of ancient and amazing churches. I stayed down the street from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, a beautiful church with stunning paintings delighting its walls.
I was touched and impressed by the level of reverence displayed by visitors, so much that I felt compelled to cover my head with a scarf.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra
The other highlight of the trip was Kiev Pechersk Lavra, a monastery founded in 1051 A.D. (or C.E.? What are we doing these days?)
While I didn't get to go into the caves for which the monastery is known, the churches and chapels above ground were beyond anything I've ever seen. Every wall was covered in ornately carved gold and paintings of saints.
If you're ever in Kyiv, I highly recommend you visit it.
My Jetsetting Daughter
I made the brave (stupid?) choice to bring my daughter along. She's obsessed with buses and trains so I heard a lot of "Bus!" and "Toot toot!" every time we boarded another one.
I accidentally stumbled into the deepest subway station in the world. Arsenalna station is over 346 feet deep and required a trip on two extremely long escalators which moved alarmingly fast.
For my DC friends, not only is their subway called Metro as well, they don't tolerate escalefters! Finding common ground. This is how we solve world problems, folks.
I absolutely love seeing the different styles of toilets that exist all over the world. So here's two I ran into during my visit. Yes, the one on the right is a squatty potty. That was interesting to say the least!