The making of a Great City

This late afternoon, while Lori took a nap, I went walking around the city one more time. The temperature was in the upper 50s and the air was very dry. We’re still sleeping at weird hours and last night I had a bad dream, which hasn’t happened in like forever. The details were fuzzy as with many dreams, but the story goes something like this….Lori was cheating on me while we’re trying to adopt. What are the chances of that happening? I woke up pretty shaken and had to go out for a walk afterwards!

So what are the attributes that elevate a regular city into becoming a Great city? Here are the main points I jotted in my head as I walked around and observed:

  • Comfortable air temperatures to encourage walking (the 7 days a year we get in Houston don’t count!)
  • Separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic
  • An attractive plaza with a significant monument, statues & water features where groups of people can gather organically
  • Durable, imposing, detailed and somber architecture that conveys a sense of grandeur and scale
  • There’s a magical ratio between the building heights and the street’s width (I’m talking about Kreschatyk). This road is wide but feels “right”
  • Multiple walking options for pedestrians, lined with trees and places to sit and enjoy seeing other people walking
  • Several kiosks and vending machines to get coffee, snacks, ice-cream, beer, etc. and people selling flowers
  • Street performers: break dancers, live music, caricature artists, etc.
  • The occasional drunk guy that tries to join in the fun while everyone else makes fun of him
  • Topographical changes so you’re not always walking on a flat plane. This adds a lot of interest and helps you see other parts of the city in the background, making you feel “contained” within the landscape
  • Roads that meander and intersect at angles other than perpendicular to each other
  • Lots of shops, restaurants and coffee houses at street level, open round the clock or late at night
  • An efficient public transportation system, especially an underground train
  • Underground shopping, which is great for cold cities to keep business bustling on dreary winter days
  • Drivers that drag race whenever they can down the main street!
  • A variety of expensive, “chic” districts, and others more down to Earth
  • Beautiful people that are not afraid to show some skin (you know what I’m talking about!)

These are all attributes of Kiev, but words don’t do it justice. We’ll leave the city behind in a few hours to hopefully return in a few weeks to conclude our trip. I doubt I’ll be able to take a walk by myself next time ;) Here are some more pictures of our Sunday discoveries (click to play full screen slideshow).

5 clicked here to comment!:

adopting2fromUkraine said...

Dave, look in your Bradt guide. I believe it tells who that statue by the river is. I've forgotten his name for the moment, but if I remember right, the statue is to commemorate a time when the whole city of Kiev was baptized in the Dnipro River. You'll have to tell us where to look to find it.


Ruben said...

Dave & Lori, looks like y'all (texas style) are getting along just well. everything is aok at the homestead. the blog is great.

Anonymous said...

David and Lori,
Hope all is well and hurry up and adjust your sleeping schedules!!!
Pictures are awesome! How's the food?

The McEacherns said...

Just catching up in Blogland. So excited to hear that you're going to see 4 and 1/2 year old twins! I'd love to get a referral like that when we go! (except for both girls!)Blessings as your journey continues!

Dave Baldacchino said...

Hi all! Thanks for commenting :)

June, I found it...it's the statue of Prince Vladimir and you have the rest of the story correct! You can find it by going past the upper funicular station to the right. You'll see it between the trees, down below from the upper part of the park.

Ruben, thanks for taking care of us :) We hope to keep everyone updated. It's looking like the trip will take longer than the 7 week projection as court took almost 2 more weeks than anticipated. Lori might return home by mid-June and I'll finish up the trip (Isabella will be ok but taking care of Isaac is a HANDFUL!).

Anonymous, our sleeping schedule is finally doing better. The kids are wearing us out and sometimes we have to take a nap in the afternoon too!

Hi McEacherns, thanks a lot :) There are so many babies and toddlers in this orphanage. We honestly don't know why they wait for so long to make them available for international adoption.