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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Ukraine Travel

24 Hours in the InterContinental

Hotels mean different things to different people: To a holidaymaker they are places of relaxation and enjoyment, but to a businessman they can become a necessary evil where all seem much the same as any other. However, a five star hotel is something special a place of luxury you can retreat to when youre in need of some pampering, a night away from the kids and domestic duties, or as a special treat for the woman you love. Kyiv now boasts a number of five star hotels, so were going to test them all to see just how good an escape they can be. Were starting with the InterContinental

Its been a hard week, so it feels like a huge load lifts from my shoulders as Zhenya and I leave my apartment jump in the taxi thats going to take us to the five star InterContinental hotel. Its tough times for us all here in Ukraine, as it has been for a long time now, and the pressure of business (and the pressure of juggling all that hard work with a personal life) takes its toll. And while holiday time gives us all a bit of a break, these days theres not enough time to take so much time off, so Im looking forward to this little mini vacation in the lap of luxury very much good eating without cooking, living without having to clean up after, breakfast already waiting as soon as we wake up in the morning, a much needed massage to knead all the stress from our tired muscles, and no kids screaming! Just to think of it all lightens my heavy load.

Lazy Sunny Afternoon
Weve arranged early check-in, and arrive at the hotel a little after two, without having to pack more than a change of clothes, something for the evening and bathing costumes for a swim in the hotel pool. Check-in is quick and within minutes of arriving were in our room, where we dump our bags and help ourselves to a beer courtesy of the free minibar.
But this particular Saturday afternoon is one of the first warm sunny ones so far this year, so we quickly head out for a stroll down the conveniently located Andriivskiy Uzviz. We take a long relaxing stroll down the hill, looking at the art and the tacky souvenirs, and then wander around Podil for a while before taking the funicular back up the hill and making our way back to the hotel.
We have a very nice cup of coffee accompanied with some sweet delicacies while lounging on a large sofa, and then head back to the room. Sometimes a couples love life can suffer when work mounts up and the kids take up so much of your personal time, so, with the chance to catch up now afforded to us, we take full advantage, so excuse me while I draw a veil over the next hour or so.
A cup of tea while watching a movie in bed is a nice way to round off the afternoon, and then we get ready for dinner. First we each take a nice long bath, and then Zhennya does her face and hair, while I relax with some TV and another free beer. Soon were ready to head out for dinner, but another great thing about this little holiday of ours is we dont need to head out anywhere theres a very good restaurant a couple of floors away and we also dont need to worry about getting a taxi home.

Good Eats and Good Fun
And that means we can drink freely, and we do. We arrive at the InterContinentals very own Mediterranean restaurant within a minute of leaving our room. Were greeted promptly and pleasantly, and asked if we want smoking or non-smoking. We certainly have the freedom to choose, because the place is very quiet. While its strange that such a pleasant place is not a little busier on a Saturday evening, its fine with us because were in the mood for a little private time.
We choose a table in smoking, and our smiling, jovial waiter gives us menus and a wine list to peruse. We want to take our time over our selection, so we order a bottle of wine right away, so we can enjoy a glass as we ponder a bottle of Marques Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (510hrv).
As we sip our wine, we take our time selecting what were going to eat. For me, the main course is a no brainer, and the selection is made as soon as I see lamb on the menu Herb Crusted Lamb Loin with roasted root vegetables, couscous, pickled cucumber and mustard sauce (310hrv) to be precise. For a starter I finally decide upon the Mediterranean Style House Cured Salmon with dill mustard dressing, cucumber and lemon salad, and breadstick (150hrv).
Zhenya also makes up her mind fairly quickly opting for Wild Arugula Leaves with poached pears, candied walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and goats cheese (98hrv) to start, followed by Beef Rib Eye with white aparagus, tomato marmalade, pine nut and lemon butter (290hrv).
Now this is not meant to be a restaurant review, but it has to be said, the food is wonderful, the service is top notch, and the whole dining experience is first class. Both salads are delightfully presented, and the flavour combinations are exquisite. And the lamb! It is just divine, melt-in-the-mouth, perfectly cooked, full of flavour heaven. All the garnishing in all the dishes combine perfectly in texture and taste, making this meal a real pleasure.
When it first opened, InterContinental pitched its prices very high, but they seem to have gone quite along way in addressing that. Now, it is still at the high end, but with the quality and pricing one would expect.

The food is excellent!
It seems that not a lot of people know this yet, because the place is quiet, but still weve selected a smoking table, located in a smaller room at one end, and it has plenty going on to keep us entertained.
Were now ready for dessert, and again the choice is a no brainer for me New York Cheesecake with caramel and fresh berries coulis (135hrv). Zhenya cant make up her mind, but eventually decides upon Iced Lime Buttermilk Mousse with pickled cherries ragout (75hrv).
The cheesecake is huge, with 2 large slices and a big pile of assorted berries, and after some cajoling, I manage to get a taste of the mousse, which is very tasty indeed.
Once the desserts are finished, the wine is too, so we decline coffee and decide to head upstairs for a cocktail or two in b-hush.

Luxurious Cocktails
Taking the lift to the top floor, we step out into the exquisite b-hush. Now, for those of you who havent been here yet, this has to be one of the best places in town for a nightcap (or five), especially now the good weather has arrived the views from here across the city are hard to beat. And its a very cool place too.
While its been a warm day, the evenings arent quite warm enough for them to have the big glass doors open, but as they are big and glass, that doesnt hamper the views.
We have a look round first, deciding whether to stay in the room looking out over the river, or in the one that looks out over the city. We decide on the latter, because its a bit more populated, and theres a couple in the former being a little overly amorous for our liking.
We take a seat in a couple of fashionable chairs and order ourselves a cocktail each. Now Im usually a beer man, but after some wine, and in a location like this, Im feeling just slightly exotic, so I decide upon the ubiquitous Mojito while Zhenya goes for a Margarita (100hrv each).
In fact, we have more than one each, but how many we have Im not sharing. All you need to know is we had a very pleasant time. After a while, it was time to go home, and as home for the night was only a few floors below us, it is very easy to get to: No taxis, just a lift and a five metre stroll!

Food and Relaxation
For hard working people who either have to cook breakfast before they eat it, or skip the most important meal of the day because they dont have the time (I, sadly, fall into the latter category), so to rise in the morning, have a nice long shower, and then walk a few paces to a beautiful spread of food already cooked and ready to eat really needs to be appreciated.
A glass of orange juice and some cereal to start, after which follows a good cup of coffee with some croissants and French cheeses. Zhenya then opts for a plateful of fresh fruit, while I, as usual, go for the less healthy option of eggs and sausages (cooked to order by the chef), potatoes in fact the biggest plate I can pile.
After breakfast we go back to the room to collect our bathing costumes, and then we head down to the spa where we have massages booked. The people are waiting for us when we arrive, because were a little late, so we change quickly into the gowns and slippers were given and head down into the massage room, where, as you might expect, there is incense burning and soft relaxing music.
Unfortunately, and unfairly in my opinion, both masseuses are male, but they both know what theyre doing and by the end of one hour of treatment I am so relaxed my bones feel like theyve liquefied.
We take a quick shower to wash off the oils, and then swim some lengths in the pool, which we have to ourselves (although there are a couple of men lounging beside it as if tanning on a beach, which is a little strange when were in the basement). We do a few lengths, telling ourselves that this small amount of exercise will burn off some of the calories weve accumulated, but really we are fully aware were kidding ourselves. But still, a few lengths of the pool adds to the sense of relaxation and leisure.
Finally we sweat for 15 minutes in the sauna before taking a final plunge, shower, and head back to the room feeling like the world outside and all its troubles have dissolved completely. In fact, for a moment I get the feeling there is no world outside the InterContinental, and rather strangely, it is a pleasant thought. But just for a moment.

And More Food
Its 1.00pm and we really should be checking out and heading back out into that big bad world Id fancied had gone, but were not quite ready. I pick up the phone and call reception: Is it possible to have a late check out? Yes, apparently it is.
Brunch? I ask Zhenya. I can see her ponder this thought for a moment, weighing all the things shes got to do against another few hours not caring about that. Okay, she says, and smiles broadly.
So not only do we have a wonderful breakfast without cooking or washing up after, we also treat ourselves to a wonderful Sunday brunch with the same bonuses.
Theres oysters and seafood, and wine. There are tasty nibbles, and wine. Theres a chef offering to make a delightful Caesar Salad, and wine. There is a tender joint of beef and racks of lamb, and wine. There are various fish dishes, and wine. There is such a huge and good selection that it makes it impossible for one to choose one over the other making one sample everything, and wine. Some delectable cheeses, and wine. And there is such a large selection of desserts and chocolate that again, one cannot choose and one has to try almost all of them. Oh yes, and wine. And along the way there are lots of laughs and much merriment as well.
By the end of it all, my belt is bursting, Zhenya is complaining she will have to be on a diet for a month, and were both more than a little tipsy. Our faces may be red with all our overindulgence, but the smiles there on are broad. And yet again, not a single dish to wash.
Our 24 hours, plus, have been a real treat, and we head back out into the world (which is still there), fully refreshed and with batteries recharged. Were ready to take it all on once again.

Richard Caldwell

24 Hours in the InterContinental Kyiv
Specially negotiated rate for Whats On readers
Night in a Classic Room for two people including:
Dinner in Olivera
Two cocktails in b-hush
Breakfast for two
Two body treatments in the I-SPA
Full use of gym, pool and sauna
Free mini-bar

All for only 325 euro

And why not stay a little longer and enjoy Sunday Brunch for 675 UAH?

*Rate is payable in UAH at the exchange rate of the Central Bank at the time of arrival and includes VAT. Package is valid on weekend nights (Friday-Sunday) only and is a subject to availability. Please contact Reservations Department and quote Relax package: (044) 219 -1931.

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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