Dean O'Brien's Blog

Just a Cold Winters Day in Ukraine

with 3 comments

Well as the first snow flakes have fallen in Kiev over the past few days it reminds me of my trip there last year.  Bitterly cold and I just missed the heavy snow which brought the city to a total standstill.

My friend Dmytro had promised to take to visit his father Nikolai in a village.  It was touch and go, but slipping and sliding, we set off in his girlfriend Masha’s trusty Mazda 323.  After about an hours journey from Kyiv we arrived at Nikolai’s home in a traditional Ukrainian village.  Nikolai was keen to show me a different side of life.  He had a large plot of land on the bank of a huge river which included bee hives.  Rather handy with a metal detector, he also had a huge collection of found military artefacts which were mostly German and Russian from the second world war.

I was then introduced to the sport of ice fishing.  Yes that’s right, it’s the kind of fishing where you drill a hole into the ice and drop your line into the freezing cold water to see if anything bites.  I must warn you that this can take turn out to be a rather long drawn out affair.  I never caught anything so I think Robson Green’s job is quite safe.  However, it did turn out to be a great experience.  The most frightening part was actually walking quite far out onto the frozen water.  To what I call ‘the point of no return’.  You can hear the ice cracking beneath your feet although I was assured that this, as Ukrainians say is ‘normalna’.

It was a fantastic way to spend a winters day and as I left, Nikolai insisted that I return and visit him in the summer whereby we could go out in the boat, fish in the more traditional way and have shashlik.  That sounds like a great way to spend a summers day in Ukraine.

I’m truly humbled at the way Ukrainians treat me whenever I visit their country.  It’s a hospitality rarely shown anywhere in the world that I have visited before.  Your glass is always full and your plate never empty.  I’m always offered a bed for the night, which seems almost customary for visitors to peoples homes.

Before I left, Nikolai presented me with a few military souvenirs and a pot of his honey.



Written by Dean O'Brien

December 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Ukraine

Tagged with , , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Beautiful blog mate!


    December 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

  2. Wonderful description of Ukrainian hospitality, I totally agree 🙂


    December 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

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