We reach Kyiv central station at 7am where a friend of a friend – Oleksa – is waiting to pick us up. I got in contact with Oleksa a few weeks ago because I want to visit an orphanage 2 hours from Kyiv which I believe is doing some very good work. Oleksa is our man on the ground in Kyiv and will help us try to get there and also aid us in our search for affordable accommodation.
As promised the very affable Oleksa picks us up in the Kyiv rush hour traffic and takes us for breakfast. The traffic is ridiculous. After some badly needed caffeine and pancakes he drives us out to a town called Brovary, around 25 kilometres from the capital, where we bag a quality two-room apartment with air-con, plazma etc. for 50 dollars per night. Quite what we would have done without Oleksa’s kind help it is difficult to say.
Unfortunately, it is proving problematic visiting the orphanage today because we need local government approval to visit. It is understandable in many senses because you never know who might turn up and what their agenda might be.
Later in the day after a lie low, Oleksa drives us all the way back into central Kyiv where we pay a visit to a government office in search of the vital permission permit. To be fair, the officials are as accommodating as you could wish but time is not on our side. They promise to give us an answer in the morning and, in the mean time, Oleksa goes beyond the call of duty once again and drops us off near the huge fanzone, where we meet our friends American Jeff, Norwegian Johan and Estonian Margus who are in town for tomorrow night’s England match. The atmosphere once again is superb at the fanzone with thousands of Swedes, English and assorted football fans present.
The boys are keen for a night of clubbing after the evening’s matches on the big screen but Neil and I have hit the wall. After the match we jump on the last metro to Lisova, where once again our good friend Oleksa drives down from Brovary to pick us up and drive us home. What an absolute diamond this lad is. Ukrainian hospitality at its finest!