Cossacks and pumpkins

Mother and child - not sure if this is traditional  Cossack baby wear...

Mother and child – not sure if this is traditional Cossack baby wear…

Kyiv’s main street, Khreschatyk, is pedestrian only at weekends – so instead of battling traffic, everybody gets out and about, walking up and down alongside the quad bikes, musicians, and the segways for hire.

main street is closed at weekends

One of the city’s main streets is closed to vehicles at weekends

It makes the city centre feel wonderfully democratic and friendly. You just have to avoid getting your photo taken with a fun fur costumed character who will then pursue you for money. We walked there to catch a marshrutka – the battered yellow minibuses that are part bus/part taxi – to get out of the city centre in search of cossacks…

We were heading out for lunch – in a restaurant in a place dedicated to maintaining Cossack traditions, where we drank chilli vodka with pickles, followed by rabbit stew.

Cossack arrives by horse, and impresses the ladies

Cossack arrives by horse, and impresses the ladies

picture of food

Rabbit stew on the right – and dill with everything

pic of women

check out those coat & boot combo’s

Natasha and I visited because there was a “celebration of Ukrainian womanhood” going on, which involved young women showing off their prowess – with song, dance, and some sort of treasure hunt.

Cossack judge - I think - the Hetman?

Cossack judge – I think – the Hetman?

Young men with their hair cut in a Cossack-style – chupryna (чуприна in Ukrainian),  or oseledets (Ukrainian: оселедець, which means herring) describes a man’s haircut which features a lock of hair sprouting from the top or front of a shaven head – galloped around impressively on horses, and showed off in front of the girls.

Pic of man on hosrse

His hair cut apparently shows that he’s not a full blown cossack yet

The wagon of pumpkins didn’t get used much – evidently, “in the old days” if you didn’t want to marry the boy who asked, you gave him a pumpkin by way of a brush off.  (See how I’ve slipped in a seasonal reference, but without mentioning Halloween, which isn’t really celebrated here).

Pumpkin cart with construction site behind!

Pumpkin cart with construction site behind!

In the evening, we swapped the rough wooden tables and earthenware crockery of the Ukrainian peasant for the luxury of the Panorama Restaurant at the Hotel Dnipro – where we could only afford one drink, but the view was awesome! 

View from Hotel Dnipro Panorama Bar - Rainbow Arch to right is Nations Friendship Arch

View from Hotel Dnipro Panorama Bar – Rainbow Arch to right is Nations Friendship Arch

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s