wo Kiev Apartments
June 9-13 & 15-24, 2002
On an impulse one day in Turkey, we searched on the web for furnished apartments for rent in Kiev on a short-term basis. We were a bit surprised to find a couple of ads. One of them offered an email address and we were even more surprised when our enquiry was quickly answered in good English. Our correspondent, Sergei, assured us that he could help us and gave us his telephone number in Kiev.
We were more than a little sceptical, but shortly before leaving Vinnitsya for Kiev, we placed a call to him and asked if he would be able to find something for us at our price for that evening. He said most probably yes, but we must call him from Kiev once we arrived. We did so and were even more surprised to hear him say that yes, we could have an apartment close to the center of town for $35 a night with all the modern conveniences.
After a struggle to find a taxi that we felt we could trust, we arrived in downtown Kiev to rendez-vous with Sergei at the McDonalds. Our surprise was complete when we found him to be a young 23-year old. The apartment was just around the corner and turned out to be a studio-type apartment with a full kitchen and bath. As promised, we had cable TV, telephone, hot running water, and all within two minutes of the heart of Kiev.
We had committed to the apartment for four days and met its owner a Russian-speaking woman in her late forties who quickly exhausted Jan's poor command of Russian. But Jan did manage to understand that for Larissa, Russia was still simply "the north", and the border some frightful injustice that kept her from visiting what she still considered part of her homeland.
It was so nice to have a kitchen again. We had fun food shopping and Jan got to dredge her memory for all those words once so painstakingly learned. The good news is that they did come back, sometimes unbidden but sometimes only after an excruciating struggle!
Originally, we wanted to come back to Larissa's apartment after our trip to Korosten, but it was not available and so we set out to find something else. Sergei didn't seem to have anything suitable for us. But we looked in the local English-language paper and found one or two ads that looked promising. We made a couple of calls and found an even bigger apartment than Larissa's, a true one-bedroom with a large living room, a kitchen and a bathroom, only two blocks away. We visited and made arrangements to take the apartment for ten days after our return from Korosten.
In spite of some uncertainty on both sides as to the reliability of one another, a deposit and a phone number for us to call when we got back to Kiev set both minds at rest. Our return was a bit stressful, with another taxi struggle, but in the end we settled nicely into our new home and happily explored Kiev and its surroundings with it as our base.