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You will love the city: the expectations and reality of a foreigner in Ukraine

The Premier hotel chain has conducted an experiment, the idea of ​​which is to show Ukraine with its tourist realities through the eyes of a guest who is discovering the country. Premier organized a contest and invited a foreigner who, traveling, will share his impressions without filters.
Ukraine for foreigners in most cases is the Klitschko brothers and Andriy Shevchenko, the Ukrainian agency Banda, which recently broke into this list, having received the Kanes lion for Eurovision branding and a bold decision Ukraine Now. But besides that? What do tourists see and feel when they come to our country?
Our hero Richard Benton is an American from Minnesota, who first came to Ukraine in 1993 and learned Ukrainian during an exchange year in Kiev.
Kiev
before
On my first visit 25 years ago from Boryspil, I was traveling by bus. Before leaving, the driver waited until the bus was full; this could go on for as long as possible.
Previously, people on the streets were very gloomy, it did not even occur to me to talk to a passerby. Units spoke English. Everywhere there were kiosks where all sorts of nonsense were sold, products that were very strange to me as an American. In kiosks with pirated discs, I bought a lot - “Ruki Vverh!”, for example. There were a lot of people on the streets and few cars. I did not know a single person who had his own car.
after
From the airport to the city I quickly got on the new train.
On the streets, people became smiling and friendly. I conducted an experiment: asked passers-by questions in English. It was pleasantly surprised that even those who did not speak it still tried to help me. Everywhere you can find convenient supermarkets that work even at night.
In 1993, St. Andrew’s Church was under repair. I saw that they were repairing it too. However, I hope that this is not the same, but another repair.
In the Bessarabian market with ease paid credit card. On the streets only new foreign cars. How can this be?
Lviv
before
Lviv has always been a quiet city, cultural capital. Only here to get from Kiev was not so easy. When I first came to Ukraine in the 90s, there were coupes and reserved seats. It seems to me that the reserved seat could exist only in the Soviet Union, I have never seen this anywhere else. It looked frightening; you didn’t know if your things were stolen while you were sleeping. Previously, people took food with them on the road. Now, if you get hungry on the train, you can get something tasty there.
after
Traffic is the first indicator of change in the country. Modern Ukrainian Intercity - is comfort, saving time and money.
Now the whole city is a real tourist center. I lived in the hotel Premier Hotel Dnister, the view from which I was impressed with Lviv. In Lviv, there is something to see, and the prices are much lower. For example, a bottle of decent beer is even cheaper than a bottle of water. For 500 hryvnia, you can have dinner together in a good restaurant. In Europe or America it is almost impossible to do this.
There are many public spaces. In 1993, we didn’t have such a thing, there wasn’t even any place to drink coffee and talk for a long time. Therefore, we went to visit. Our disco at that time was when a tape recorder was loudly running in a dorm room. Now there are cozy cafes and restaurants at every step in Lviv .
Kharkov
before
Kharkiv has a reputation as an industrial city. The first Ukrainian capital is known for large enterprises and factories, monumental buildings. Nobody traveled to Kharkov.
after
Stereotypes are not justified. Kharkiv is big, energetic and interesting.
From Lviv to Kharkiv I flew by plane. There is no direct flight, you need to fly with a short transfer in Kiev, but still got pretty quickly. I liked that the tickets were not much more expensive than the train. True for the breakfast had to pay separately and a lot.
Kharkiv attracts foreigners, especially students. I heard that education is inexpensive compared to European, here is affordable housing, many universities, whose diplomas are recognized in many countries.
I would like to visit Kharkiv yet. Everywhere posters - in the spring there are a lot of open-air events here: picnics, festivals, even concerts of world stars.