So, for all those Sunday’s without any posts, my travel schedule was packed and hence, hardly was there a time to sit and write a post down!
A good part of my April was spent in the city of Kharkiv, in Ukraine. My verdict post travel is simple – It is one of my favourite cities ever!
My travel was strictly for professional reasons and hence I couldn’t exactly go out and explore the city and the country more. But whatever I saw, left me with a feeling best described in one simple word – Beautiful!
At Kiev, it was easy to make out that the country would be more or less a cleaner one and the flight journey till Kharkiv didn’t disappoint either. The sight of gigantic fields, surrounded by a lush green cover on multiple sides was heart-warming! I, for all the tiredness, couldn’t sleep and just kept on trying to identify structures from the air, some of which I would later go and see! (The stadium of FC Metalist, also known as the Metalist arena was one I saw, but only from the sky!)
Kharkiv airport was a new thing for me, one of the first ‘cultural’ shocks that awaited me in the coming weeks. It was clean, it didn’t have too many people waiting and it didn’t have a non-stop noise of horns! It was simplicity at its simple best. Our host, Sir Igor, picked us up from the airport and drove us till our guest house inside the factory! The buildings which I saw on the way reminded me of the Hollywood movies I had grown up watching – Retro look, a feel of the colonial era, a touch of the soviets!
I settled quickly into the scheme of things at the factory as life became on a cool note in Kharkiv. Gradually the week wore on and on Saturday evening only did we manage to go and eat at an Indian restaurant in Kharkiv called “Cafe Spice” and in that transit we actually saw a part of Kharkiv city!
Sunday was rainy but we managed to reach the city square and see the mirror stream fountain from the opposite side of the road, the grand theatre from outside, explore part of Shevchenko Park before finally settling in for coffee at the Avenue Plaza shopping mall. Rain continued to pour in heavy and we could see the freedom square from the car, between eating the traditional Ukrainian dumplings at an amazing restaurant called “Puzata Hata”
We then visited the Annunciation cathedral before driving to the Dafi mall for bowling! Kharkiv had already surprised me with its simplicity, the rates for bowling at the mall left me jaw dropped! It was a really fun experience and the dinner at Chekov restaurant was the best way to wrap up the day!
The second week passed away on a similar tune and on Sunday only we could go shopping and enjoying the first spring Sunday. We enjoyed the evening at the meeting point of the two rivers of Kharkiv, saw the “Bridge of lovers”, met a beautiful Husky named Richard and then back to the guest house.
The third week was when things warmed up much more. Factory results had started looking up and I had finally made some friends in the factory to talk about Ukraine, about Kharkiv, about life in India and about everything else in general!
I spent two evenings that week at Gorki Park – The best place to be in Kharkiv! The first evening will remain a memory for ages and the second one was fun on another dimension – Getting stuck right at the top on a roller coaster before being manually ejected and returned to holy earth! I also managed to buy some souvenirs in turn too!
And next day was the day to fly, after the goodbyes!
I summed up the city experience in small up there. What I want to take away from all of it are the memories that Kharkiv gave me! For a change, I was happy over a sustained period in life! Despite some major setbacks on the professional front, the smile didn’t wither. This trip broke a lot of stereotypes, and whenever I look back, I will be a glad soul, having had a chance to experience this wonderful city!
There was something in the air of Kharkiv, something that kept me rejuvenated despite all those hours on the line! The city, for all its simplicity, was the kind of peace I felt I had been missing all these years.
And then, there were some amazing people I spent some good moments, both on and off the line which just summed up everything!
They all made returning to India harder than I had ever anticipated. That is something I will always stay grateful for and what I will remember!
One of my favorite quotes from Roald Dahl read like:
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Kharkiv just brought these words to life!
Я сподіваюся, що наші шляхи знову перетнуться, скоро!
Це було весело!
Gorki park – 5/5 stars – A place to visit, any day, any time! (The featured Image)
Chekov Restaurant – 5/5 – Luxury at its finest!
Strilka square – 5/5 – Perfect place to spend time with your loved one!
Kharkiv – 10 – Lovely women, beautiful roads, great environment!