10 May 2010

The REAL Ukraine

Having spent the weekend in the west of Ukraine, it reminded me of how different the rest of the country is from living in Kyiv. I suppose you could say this about most capital cities when compared to the rest of any country.
Those of us who live and work in the city centre of Kyiv lead a different life than those living in what I call the REAL Ukraine.

Kovel is a small city in western Ukraine near the border with Poland. Its one of those places where it is rare to see a foreign visitor. Indeed most visitors would not have any good reason to visit Kovel. However, a group of us stayed there last weekend to celebrate a birthday and we enjoyed a break from big city life. The ‘best’ hotel in Kovel supplied us with ‘delux rooms’ for just UAH 295 per night (that’s GBP 24.50 or USD 37).
The hotel featured a wonderful outside bar, restaurant and entertainment complex. The rooms also provided a ‘mini bar’, but not the kind of mini bar you expect to see in a western hotel. Oh no, here they give you a whole king sized refrigerator in the room. Plus the contents are not priced as per normal mini bar prices. This hotel deserves an award for common sense. The prices of the drinks and snacks in the mini bar are exactly the same as the low prices in the bar/restaurant downstairs. Low prices? Yes, I ordered four large beers on our arrival just to blow away the dust of our six hour journey. I gave the barman UAH 100 and he gave me UAH 76 change!!!. As I walked away I assumed he must have made a mistake. But he hadn’t.
That’s just UAH 6 per beer (in our language that is GBP 0.50 or USD 0.75)
Prices of other services were also very low. We had a great weekend

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