After a long travel day, I finally touched down at Boryspil International Airport in Kiev around 5pm.
The sun had already set and the sweltering 28C temperatures of Havana had now made way to -2C temperatures with ice and snow on the ground.
Stored away were my shorts and out came my pants, hoodie, gloves and winter jacket.
I didn’t care though cause this was what I had wanted.
I needed a change in direction on this trip. A place to recharge and reset. I had really fond memories of my time in Kiev and this was definitely the place to come.
Still fighting a stomach virus from the street food I had on my last day in Mexico, I really needed somewhere to feel like I was at home.
And home I felt.
It’s always interesting coming back to a city you’ve visited before. You know the layout and you feel confident getting around because you had done this all before.
Sadly, the hostel I had stayed out before wasn’t available all 4 nights I’ll be here in Kiev so I booked the next highest rated one on the list.
The two hostels are close by so at least I could remember how to get into town and use the metro to get to my new home.
I headed out into the cold winter air, past all the men offering me a taxi, and onto the shuttle bus taking me to the Central Rail Station (45min, 80uah, $4).
It quickly became apparent that I should have also packed my touque (beenie for you non-Canadians) and my scarf, but, then again, I never expected to be over here in the cold on this trip.
Anyway, at the Central Rail Station I knew exactly where the metro entrance was unlike the previous time I visited here and wandered around for half an hour looking for it.
Signs in Cyrillic? No problem! I got this!
And, sure enough, like clockwork, I was getting off the metro at my stop and walking up to my new hostel around 7pm.
The hostel was more like someone’s apartment. In fact, that’s exactly what it was. The girl who greeted me said she owned the place and also slept there. The place itself had 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room.
So, yeah, I was staying in someone’s apartment.
With 10 other people.
And only one bathroom.
What the hell? Cannot catch a break!
This place is literally the same as what I had in Cuba except there’s MORE people staying in it.
I unpacked my stuff, caught up on internet stuff and around 11pm I headed out to just wander around.
I took the metro to another part of town across the bridge and by the time I returned to take the metro back it had stopped running for the night.
At least the taxi was only 100uah ($5) for the 20 minute ride back into the main part of the city.
By now it was 1am and I was starving so I headed towards a restaurant with a big colorful Cyrillic sign and a “24h” next to it.
It wasn’t until I entered that I found out it was a Chinese/Japanese menu with everything from chicken fried rice to sushi.
Sounds good to me.
First meal in Ukraine and I having chicken fried rice and curry potato balls.
I finally returned to the hostel around 2am which, for hostel living, is really late.
I entered my room to find, not one, not two, but three people snoring.
I grabbed my blanket, pillow and my laptop and headed out to the living room couch.
I guess a sleep on the couch never hurt anyone and, besides, I had the room all to myself.
Before going to sleep, though, I did hop onto HostelWorld to look for a new home for my three remaining nights here in Kiev and, thankfully, the hostel I stayed at before was available.
Caught a break!
So, tomorrow, I move hostels yet again.
I gotta say, my track record for hostels before this trip was almost spot on with only a handful of duds out of the 80+ I had stayed at.
This time around though, it seems like every hostel I pick is a dud.
Oh well, at least I know the one I’m going to tomorrow won’t be.