I and Anna had a ball outside the Sophia Cathedral as we were filming the scene with my GoPro as two guys approached us. One of them was dressed as a huge brown bear and the other as a swordsman. They were the entertainment value outside the cathedral. Their job was to dance around and do funny tricks to attract visitors to the cathedral. The cathedral was white with steps of green that formed the border around its tall white walls. The bells on top of the tower of the cathedral rang once in a while as our two clowns dressed as a bear and a swordsman performed their antics. One of them hugged Anna as the other danced around them waving his sword. This was a performance to be seen. It was like Walt Disney in front of the Vatican.

Sophia Square and Sophia Cathedral
Sophia Square and Sophia Cathedral

Off then we went to the Vladimir’s Church. This was a piece of architecture. Many small school children had come to see the church as part of their curriculum. This was an old-fashioned Gothic church building with brown marble walls on every corner of the church with golden light candles placed on shimmering brass candle holders. As very little light entered the church, it gave a gothic and eerie look. Fresca paintings of saints, Christ and his disciples bore testament to its place in Christian philosophy. Huge golden crosses adorned this church as people came up to perform prayers.

Vladimir's Cathedral
Vladimir’s Cathedral

Kiev has a heritage and a distinct look about it, at times ancient and at times tardy. It is the first peek into an eastern European country that doesn’t try to pretend that it is perfect. Sure there is litter on the street and graffiti on the walls and old-fashioned roads, but its heart lies in its cathedrals, churches, gardens and opera houses of which I was able to get a good look at. We had the luxury of a taxi that whisked us around from place to place. Anna, who told me that she had read the Hindu Vedas and Upanishads, was also well-versed in the Bhagwat Geeta. She was proving to be an excellent compere. She was like the Sutradhar who was waving the story of Kiev and its heritage. She was like this encyclopedia who just kept going describing each spot and its history in detail.

I was liking this city with a temperature of around 2 degrees. It did give me chills from time to time as I got a cold and a running nose half way down our tour around the city. But my tour agency which was a local one by the name of Green Tours had done a good job. I liked the professionalism of Anna and the punctuality of the taxi driver that we had hired. From time to time, Anna would also handle the GoPro and click a few pictures. She was getting involved with what I was doing. Without her, I would have been lost in the city but with Anna wondering mindlessly around the city parks and cathedral, it was sheer joy for me.

Continue Reading