Babin Yar

Friday, September 7th 2007

The next day I visited this part of the city again, but the sunshine had gone and the city was swathed in mist. I got the metro to Arsenalna and walked through the park to Rodina Mat. It was a Saturday, and there were newlywed couples near all the statues and war memorials, having their photos taken. I spent a while looking around the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.

Back outside, the mist had cleared and it was another fearsomely hot day. I set off towards Druzhby Narodiv metro station but I took a wrong turn somewhere. Instead I ended up walking a very long way up and down hills and through random suburbs of Kiev, until I chanced upon Pecherska station instead. On the way, a couple of people had stopped me to ask something, and both had seemed very surprised that I wasn't Ukrainian. I felt that probably in a few years time, Kiev would be well on the way to being a major European tourist destination, and I was glad to be here now while foreigners were still comparatively rare.

I got the metro to Dorohozhychi. Just outside the station is Babin Yar, a park area which was the site of terrible massacres after the Nazi invasion of the USSR. Today there was a flower market on, and the whole park was filled with colourful market stands. I sat in the park for a while relaxing in the Sun, but it was beginning to cloud over, and it seemed like a change of weather was coming. I walked back to the metro, and by the time I got to Vokzalna, it had started to rain. That night there were power cuts for much of the evening, and I sat in darkness in the small hostel I was staying at, talking to the other travellers staying there.

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