Odessa mud

The healing power of mud

Many people believe that the salted mud from the Kuyalnik Estuary, some kilometers outside Odessa, has healing powers. As a result, dozens of people spent Friday afternoon rubbing their body with the healing dirt. In fact, the mud is also being collected in plastic bottles and brought home as a souvenir or, perhaps as a…


Kyiv Life: December, the first.

At 00.00 o’clock on the night from Friday to Saturday, the 1st of December, my internet connection suddenly stopped. I opened the link that had popped up and read the following text from my Internet provider Best: “You have to pay your bill.” My ISP ‘Best’ knew now mercy. The month I had paid for…

Longest nails in Kiev

Horny Nails

According to dictionary.com a nail is: ‘a thin, horny plate, consisting of modified epidermis, growing on the upper side of the end of a finger or toe.’ Ukrainian women have a special love for these ‘horny plates’ and you will find all kind of nails, manicures and forms of nail art in the streets of Kiev. Even the conductor of the bus takes care of her nails. These nails were shot at the nail…

Sergey Illych eating Taranka

Turbasa Teterev: a weekend in the Soviet Union

In Soviet times each factory or collective had its own countryside resort called a Turbasa. Employees and staff could use the Turbasa for holidays and weekends out of the city. The town of Teterev, eighty km from Kiev is renowned for its beautiful nature and wildlife and several Turbasas were located there.  Sadly, after the…


Milking it

Have you ever wondered where milk comes from in Ukraine? Well, yes cows, but surprisingly almost eighty per cent of Ukrainian milk is produced by private farmers that own an average of just 1.5 cows. They sell their milk to local factories who visit each day to collect the ‘village’ milk. The majority of private…


Speed is no substitute for style

Train travel in eastern Europe might not be fast, but for those who have time it remains one of the most rewarding travel experiences on the continent. Unlike train systems in western Europe which were built with efficiency and profit in mind, the whole system in the former socialist states was built with two far simpler goals: employ people…

garbage truck

Video: garbage truck fighting the snow

This morning I woke up with the buzzing sound of a truck. When I looked out of my window, it turned out to be the garbage truck that had just gathered the garbage from our house. It took the brains of three people half an hour to set the truck with the garbage free. Hopefully…

Fairy tale of Troeshina

Video: Fairy tale of Troeshina

A Ukrainian woman has transformed her depressed Soviet-style floor into a fairy tale. The 13th floor of house 26 in Kiev’s dormintory subburb of Troeshina attracts many visitors. Some are horrified by the scene, others impressed.

Well water, Kiev

Well Water for city dwellers

The water supply system has broken down in a subburb of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. No worries. There is always the local water well. Dozens of people line up to get there plastic bottles filled. There is also a queue in a nearby district. No problems with the water system here, but people just…

Ukrainians preparing for wintertime at Shulyavski Market

Video: Winter clothes from Europe

Medio Oktober. Ukrainians are preparing for the winter. The Shulyavski second hand market in Kiev is crowded with people on a Wednessday afternoon. Dozens of people dig through the heaps of clothes in search of a bargain. The garments origin from Europe and were donated by charity organizations. Among the fur loving Ukrainians fur coats…