10 days   December 1998


It was the end of October when same my university-mates organised to visit the Polytechnic institute in Kiev. For me it was a unique chance to get the ukranian visa to visit the country, thus I didn't miss it.


At the beginning of December we flew from Milan to a snowy cold Kiev. We stayed in a student house visiting the university, the city, having parties and knowing a lot of people. I also had my time hanging out by myself, as I did looking for the fishermen fishing holing the ice. I had to go to Kiev outskirts, but at the end I found them! 


Kiev was so beautiful in the wintertime with his soviet old fashioned dashes. Many images about the town are still impressed in my mind. His long huge boulevards with hills of snow running along them. The big old fashioned chandeliers that decked the metro. The endless fast wooden escalators to reach it. The golden onion shaped roofs of the churches. The silence and the atmosphere of the Pechers'kyy monastery at the dusk. The immobile fishermen on the frozen Dniper river who, every five minutes, had to move the water in their hole otherwise it froze. The awesome statue of the woman with the sword. The snowball fight: Ukraine versus Italy.

But overall the wintertime atmosphere with his amount of snow and the pale light around everything charmed me.
Moreover I won't forget the nice people I met and the amount of vodka I drank.


This trip left me some sadness too. The Ukranian economic situation was very precarious and the state had no money; I figured a tough future for this country. I knew an ukranian girl whose parents were teachers and got just 50 $ each month, but it was six months they didn't get paid. In the university it was so cold that students wore jackets during lessons. The coldness was everywhere. I clearly remember the ice on the part inside of  the bus window. When we went at the theatre, the main one in Kiev, I was freezing up inside during the performance... despite I'm not an "easy-freezing" person at all!

Anyway I saw a lot of people striving to have a better future, especially youths who wanted to learn languages. I found many english speakers, and even some people who learnt italian. It's an huge efforts when you have to think to buy the food for the next week or to heat the house.