Sunday was our last day in Kiev, so although we didn’t get home from Patipa until around 6am, we had no choice but to wake up and check out by 11. With less than 5 hours of sleep and a long night of partying behind us, we both still felt noticeably buzzed – a fact confirmed by my handy dandy pocket breathalyzer, a great (though not particularly inexpensive) party gag 🙂
Since we weren’t even sure when the trains to Lviv departed, our plan was to head to the station, check the schedule, drop our bags at the baggage check, then use any available time to explore – hopefully including a quick stop at the beach. Although Kiev isn’t a coastal city, it does have quite a bit of sandy “coast” along the banks of the Dnieper River.
So with our massive packs on our shoulders, we began making our way from the hostel towards the city center. First was a quick minibus ride to what we thought was an entrance to the metro – but as it turned out, this particular staircase led to a massive subterranean mall instead. I can only imagine how ridiculous we must’ve looked stumbling through all those well-dressed socialites, piled high with plastic grocery bags and dirty backpacker’s backpacks 😎
But that didn’t matter. Because by total luck, we happened by something we’d been searching for nearly the entire trip.
A bling shop.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that ever since buying them at a souvenir stand near Dracula’s Castle, Peder and I have been donning the same yellow bunny ears every time we go out. This is not our usual style at all. Take Japan, for instance: half the fun of wearing something silly was that we’d always show up in something different. Eventually people would recognize us, running up to ask “What’ll Peder and Justin be wearing tonight??” There were the tophats and bowties at Suma, the flashing devil horns at Awa Odori, the Reindeer antlers in Tokyo, and the white bunny ears in Kishiwada. Yet here, it was the same thing every time; we had no variety at all. Finally, the opportunity had come to change all that 🙂
And trust me when I say this store had everything: oversized sunglasses, velvet top hats, springy antlers, angel halos, boas, masks, you name it. We had a great time playing with the staff and trying the various things on – both us and them. It was so much fun that by the time we finally made our selections and said goodbye, virtually the entire staff insisted that we exchange emails and promise to send copies of our group photos (see the first shot above).
Our spoils of the day: purple and red fuzzy top hats, feathery boas, and bouncy alien-like antlers.
Go figure that we’d happen by the perfect shop on Sunday of our last weekend in Eastern Europe…but I guess we’d just have to write this one off as a case of “better late than never.” After all, the Roskilde festival was rapidly approaching (as well as our departure to the frighteningly expensive Nordic countries), so at the very least we were now set for the remainder of our trip.
When we finally made it to the train station around 2, we learned that the only two trains for Lviv departed at 5 and 10pm. So after confirming that plenty of tickets were still available, we decided to head to the beach and just play it by ear; if the vibe felt good we could stay until 10, taking the night train to Lviv and finding a place to stay the following morning. If it was boring, we’d catch the 5pm and arrive around midnight, letting us check in and sleep in some real, comfortable beds.
Guess which one it was
*Note: The bling shop is not what I was referring to when I said “a wonderfully fun and totally unexpected encounter” at the end of the previous post. That’s coming up next.