Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kiev...when can we return?

Kiev, end of winter beginning of spring...

I did not know what to expect of Kiev.  It was a last minute trip with very little planning and research.  It turned out to be full of amazing food, friendly people and is a beautiful city.  This is one of the rare trips where, after a week, I was not eager to return home.  I will be honest, I did miss my bed, I always do but I could have stayed and stayed in that city.  We are already planning a return trip.

The first and most important part of our trip was to do our family work at the Kiev temple.  My parents are currently serving a mission in the Family History Center in SLC, Utah.  

Day one Kiev temple

Ha-Na's first time to be able to go in to do baptisms.  We were so happy to be with her.

MJ isn't yet of the age to do temple work but she loved being there and really felt of the temple spirit.

Lissy and I saw the temple from the airplane as we flew in.  She loves temples.

I wanted pictures of the kids without all the big coats but it was really cold that day.  These kids were so sweet to let me get my pictures.

The Agren girls, together forever.

Handsome Agren men

The kids all hid their faces for this picture but Ha-Na did get the picture, I love it.

Temple work is all about families.

Day 2 Streets of Kiev 

Carl's friend, Natalia, showed us all around her city.  She was so kind and hospitable.  I learned about and fell in love with Kiev.
Still cold but happy to be out where they can run.

MJ will climb and jump over anything that gets in her way.

The Golden Gate, the old city gate

We were there for the Orthodox Easter and we had fun seeing the eggs all over the city.  This is in front of St. Sophia

In front of St. Sophia.  I love the exterior of this church.

These large eggs were decorated in different regions of Ukraine and sent here for display.

This was one of our favorite eggs

Lissy loved this one and thought the picture was of a temple (she really loves temples).

A woman was spinning this egg and we heard a loud crash.  

The egg fell completely over bending the metal pole.  Carl and several men worked on it for a while and finally, with much effort, was able to reattach it so it would stand.  We are not sure if it fell again but while we were there it remained.

This is a fun hay maze but Ha-Na is so tall now that she could see her way out.  MJ and Lissy had a great time with it.

A big Chicken...

They also had these small eggs that were painted.

These were done all over the country and sent here.  There were so many we did not have the time to see them all.

Here are two of my favorite

A man in the park handed these to the kids.  When we took a picture he wanted an insane amount of money.  It was nice that Carl could speak the language and paid a reasonable amount.

In front of another church, all bundled up

As the sun starts to set Carl is feeling the cold

This is a fun fountain where if your coin sticks then your wish will come true.

Daddy stuck the coin while Lissy made her wish

Madison was not going to let her height keep her from getting her wish

At a park overlooking the city

Carl is in cold ninja mode

We stopped off for diner at a cafeteria.  It was nice to get off of our feet.

Natalia then directed us to a wonderful chocolate restaurant.

Chocolate makes everyone smile

Lissy is in heaven pouring her chocolate over ice cream

MJ was sure she needed this chocolate revolver

I think I see a little drool as Ha-Na looks over the wares

Carl looking to bite the head off a bunny

Day 3

We spent the morning at the temple and then we took the kids out to Kiev to see more of the city

We went to a place for lunch and to the kids delight we had palemeni and pork skewers

At the bus stop Lissy was fascinated by this cup being blown by the wind

Riding the long escalator in the subway

This ice cream stand was delicious.  My favorite was the chocolate dipped.  The chocolate they used was amazing!

MJ and her friend, Seva, had a great time posing with statues all over the city

The architecture was amazing.  Adorning the top of the building are mermaids.  This is the home of the man who build up this whole area

This is where the presidents offices are.  It used to be an open walkway but it is shut off and heavily guarded now.

Hanging out together

This is the square where the demonstrations took place last year

This is part of the memorial all around the square.

This is a statue representing the three brothers and sister who are said to have settled Ukraine

Beautiful people in a beautiful city

The kids having fun with monuments

Beautiful view of Kiev

The overlook is amazing

We walked around many monuments

The kids loved seeing the tanks.  These ones are on display to show the world that Russia is aiding the rebels in Ukraine

Mother of the Motherland monument

Monument for the soldiers

On the tank in front of the statue

Day 4

We spent the morning relaxing and then we attended the Easter program at church

It was fun and the talent of the members and missionaries was impressive

The weather warmed up, no more coats, the trees were budding and the fountain in front of the temple turned on.

Day 5

Orthodox Easter morning 

The hotel gave us this paska.  It is the traditional Easter bread.  MJ especially loved the sugar icing and candy on top.

We boughtLissy a traditional dress  She wore it to Easter service

They were happy to take off their coats for pictures on this warm morning

After church we went to the outdoor museum.  It was fascinating.  They have taken dwellings from different areas and set up villages as they were in history.  

We were surprised at how busy it was on Easter.  People had brought their picnic baskets and were starting a great party.

We had fun listening to this man playing

This is an old church, Visitors were lighting candles for Easter

Represents an old kitchen

Another church

Old beehives

MJ could not resist running through the forest and flowers

Ha-Na found a stream

We didn't bring a picnic but we bought a great meal from the vendors at the museum

That evening we were invited to some of the temple missionaries apartment for dinner.
We were so grateful for the kindness and love we felt during our visit.  

As we walked back to the hotel we wanted a few more pictures of the temple as it was all lit up in the evening.

The next day we packed up and flew home. 
Lissy is doing her tada but she says "ba ba bum"