15 October 2014

Extreme Tourism in Kiev

On arrival into Kiev's Borispol airport we were greeted by our driver and within hour of wheels down we had arrived at the Statue of the Motherland where we were greeted by our tour guide Helen.

After what seemed like a rather heated conversation between Helen the manager of the statue and a particularly grumpy employee, who clearly wanted to go home (he was really rather vocal about it) we had permission to go to the very top of the 91 metre platform which would take us to the top of the arm.

A cramped four people and a very tight squeeze lift ride later and all 6 of us and an the now extremely grumpy non-English speaking climb guide had arrived at the base of the statue.

With the boys going first, the assent to the top started with a lift so small that we struggled to close the doors with four of us inside.

The remainder of the climb was interesting. By interesting I mean one little slip and we'd have fallen to our almost certain deaths. There was safety gear, but clearly that only gets used when our grumpy tour guide wasn't in a rush to go home. All we were given was a pair of gloves so old and smelly they were probably used during the construction of the statue 33 years ago.

The badly welded ladders took us up at all kinds of angles, until finally a tight bend and a manhole cover and we had reached the top of her left hand.

The view was rather good though.

After an even more terrifying can't really see where you are putting your feet descent, we arrived back back with the girls. Their turn while we slumped into the only three chairs in the enclosed room to recover and discuss our near death experience with each other.

Although the top viewing platform is very clearly advertised, we'd never have been able to do it without a native Ukrainian speaker to fight our side.

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