In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #72: Ukraine. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #72: Ukraine
Blog post on Ukraine
- Journey from Lviv to Odessa Ukraine
- Review of the Historical Old Town of Lviv Ukraine (14 Pictures)
- Kiev Ukraine – What’s It Like in this Eastern European Country?
- My Complete Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and Ukraine Spending Breakdown
During my one year trip around the world, I befriended a Ukrainian guy in a hostel in Hong Kong by the name of Stanisvlav. He invited me to come to visit him in Ukraine when I reach the European segment of my around the world trip.
Fast forward near the tail end of my big year-long trip, I landed in Ukraine where my friend Stanislav and I met up again. I ended up staying at his place for two weeks in Kiev with two side trips in between.
On my first few days in Kiev, he took me to use the metro which is an insane experience on its own. It feels like a big washing machine and the passengers are the laundries being tossed around.
Kiev definitely feels like a soviet country but more rebellious.
It makes sense considering all the conflict they’ve experienced over the years.
After spending a few days in Kiev, Stanislav and myself decided to take a trip to a city called Lviv.
Lviv is a city near the border of Poland. Apparently, it used to be a part of Poland until borders shifted. This city is apparently Stanislav’s favourite in the entire country of Ukraine.
To be honest, I thought it was just okay. I didn’t really feel that it was anything special.
After spending an entire day exploring the city, we spent the evening hanging out with Stanislav’s friend who told us numerous inappropriate and politically incorrect jokes. It was good times and I love talking to people without filters.
Lviv to Odessa overnight sleeper train
At night, Stanislav decided we should take the sleeper train going from Lviv to Odessa. He told me that I will hate this train ride because it sucks. But, he said if I want to experience real Ukraine, I need to take this shitty sleeper train.
I actually thought the train ride was pretty funny. The lights were on an entire night making sleeping difficult. A random Ukrainian woman also went up to Stanislav in the middle of the night and started shouting at him. Stanislav’s cell phone cover had a cartoon that resembled Hitler. She started pointing at it and started yelling “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!”. I thought she was trying to tell him, “NO HITLER”, but actually, she meant to put your phone away or it might get stolen.
The next morning, with barely any sleep and feeling exhausted, we arrived in Odessa.
Odessa felt humid and hot. This makes sense considering the city is further down south and right beside the Black Sea.
We made our way to our hostel to check-in and drop off our stuff before continuing to explore the city.
Stanislav made me ride the yellow buses which is an adventure on its own. I wouldn’t recommend taking them unless you know a local that can guide you.
You’d think the sea would be a nice place to hang out but the water looks pretty dirty and I just can’t recommend it.
Stanislav didn’t like Odessa as much as Lviv but I think I prefer Odessa over Lviv.
At night, the Ukrainian people got mad at me for turning on the air conditioner. It was freaking hot and humid, they are nuts to not turn it on. So when they turned it off, I turned it back on after seeing that they’ve fallen asleep.
The next day, we took a long train back to Kiev. This train was freaking brutal. There was no air circulation at all and I felt like suffocating the entire time. It didn’t seem to bother the Ukrainians. Stanislav told me that this happens all the time and eventually, the circulation would get fixed.
On my last few days in Kiev, I got a chance to enjoy some local food.
I also got some teeth cleaning done seeing how much cheaper it is to do it in Ukraine than in Canada. Just because it was inexpensive doesn’t mean it was of poor quality. On the contrary, I felt like I was in a spaceship when they cleaned my teeth and the service was very professional and good.
Before I flew out of Ukraine, I also got a haircut to complete my collection of haircuts on four continents. Since travelling for a year, I’ve gotten one haircut in Africa, Asia, South America, and now in Europe.
After an awesome time in Ukraine, I bid Stanislav farewell and invited him to come to visit me in Canada in the future.
Ukraine was fun; though, I would have liked to have visited Chernobyl. Stanislav said we planned poorly and said if I visit again, we will book a trip there in advance.
What I especially like about Ukraine is the fact that the people there are so blunt and they just say what they’re thinking. I think it’s such a breath of fresh air not trying to be politically correct and say socially acceptable things all the time.
I’ll definitely return to Ukraine one day and visit my friend there again.