Winter of discontent
Well, discontented because there was no winter and I feel almost robbed that I didn't have to freeze my ass off. We're now hurtling towards summer and I'm just trying to enjoy the city before it becomes unbearable.
Other highlights of the spring included:
In late January I took up an invitation to travel to Dnipropetrovsk, an industrial city a few hours south of Kiev. The city is interesting both because it is in the pro-Russian south and east but also, in apparent contradiction, it is the hometown of pro-western prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, with the famous hair. The city reminded me somewhat of Sheffield, not so much in physical geography but in character. The main Boulevard 'Karl Marx' runs right through the centre, with a characteristic green central reservation running most of its length.
Poltava is one of Ukraine's gems. It's also a place that goes right to the heart of the present day situation in the country. Next year will be the 300th anniversary of Tsar Peter I's conquest of the territory by defeating the Swedes and Ukrainian cossacks at Poltava.