Kharkov is one of my favorite places in the world. Gorky Park near central Kharkov is one of my favorite places in that city! I was really pleased that I got to go see the "new" Gorky Park on my trip to Ukraine. In 2012, Ukraine and Poland hosted the European Championship, which is a big soccer/football tournament. Kharkov got some redesigns during that time and I was finally getting to see them! One of the changes was a whole new ferris wheel! I didn't ride it, but I could see it was much bigger (and more red!) than the previous one.
This is me with my best friend in the whole world, Violet! In this photo, taken in 2007, we are riding the old ferris wheel in Gorky Park. It went high above the city!
One of the cool features of the "new" park are all the statues all over the park! I liked the animal ones best. Here I am with a tortoise outside the zoo shop. The zoo shop has supplies for pets- but it also has a wide range of animals you can visit, such as hamsters, bunnies, parrots, tamarins, and a SKUNK!
A short walk from the zoo shop, there is a little lake! It has ducks and people sit around it, relaxing. Normally, I'd sit there for ages, but today I had somewhere special in mind to visit!
One of the other animal statues is this bear, who has caught a fish! That fish is almost as big as I am!
Here I am with a statue of some herons! I didn't see any wild herons in Ukraine, but I have seen them at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge back at home in NYC.
Right near the entrance to my favorite attraction is this fountain! Once again, it was a very hot day in Kharkov and being near fountains made it feel cooler.
Finally! It was time for my favorite thing in Kharkov- the cable cars! These go from Gorky Park out to the Botanical Gardens and back. These have been redone too- they're much more colorful than the old cable cars!
This is me in 2007 riding on the cable cars! Don't I look a lot younger?
I had gone to Gorky Park pretty late in the day, so it was really nice to ride the cable cars back to Gorky Park as the sun was sinking lower and lower. I love the way the light looks especially golden at this time of day! As we were riding over a little marsh, Mama told me how, when she was a kid, she used to look for turtles as the cable cars passed over.
Eventually, my cable car made it back to Gorky Park. I would be leaving Kharkov very soon, which made me feel really sad. Do you ever get homesick for a place while you're still there? That's how I was feeling. I'm glad that I got to visit Gorky Park on my trip. Looking at these photos, even only a few weeks later, makes me want to go back!
The mascot of Gorky Park is this friendly squirrel- see it behind me? I can't wait to visit the squirrel's friendly park once again!
This photo is of me on the balcony of my family's apartment, where I always stay. Do you see the blue and gold flag of Ukraine? It looks like the blue sky and golden fields. I had a wonderful time in Ukraine and can't wait to go back to explore more and spend time with my family.
Do you have anywhere you return to again and again, yet never get tired of visiting?
After I spent a wonderful week in London, it was time to visit one of my family's favorite places in the entire world- Ukraine! My mama lived there when she was a girl, so we go back as often as we can to visit our family there. It was very, very hot in Ukraine, so we spent most of the time inside drinking tea and talking. However, on one tolerable afternoon, I went out with my family for a walk in the center of the city.
The city where my family lives is called Kharkov in Russian and Kharkiv in Ukrainian. It's the second biggest city in Ukraine after its capitol, Kiev (or Kyiv in Ukrainian). It has about 2 million people, which is pretty big! This is me posing at a big fountain in the Taras Shevchenko Gardens in the center of the city. It's a big, big park where I have taken photos before. There are so many trees there!
Can you see the statue down at the end of the path? It's a monument to Taras Shevchenko, whom the park is named for. He was a Ukrainian poet and author.
This is me in 2011 at the monument. I didn't take any pictures with it this trip, but I wanted you to see a little piece of the monument anyway. That's me rubbing the Cossack's toe!
See the map in the bottom of this photo? This picture is of me at the monument to the 50th North parallel! This spot marks where Kharkov is on the map of the world. The words (that are upside down) on the bottom of the picture say "Kharkov" in Russian. I really like this monument because I love maps!
Next to the Shevchenko Gardens, you can find the Ballet and Opera theatre- and across from that is a beautiful fountain called the Mirror Stream! Lots of couples like to go there for photos when they get married. There were too many people to get a good photo, but here I am in front of the structure. See the flag on top? That's the flag of Ukraine!
Here I am behind the mirror stream by the fountains that lead back to the Church of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers. Can you see the beautiful golden roof?
This is me with the Church of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers just behind me. Can you see the bells? This church is new since the last time I visited Ukraine.
I went inside the church to say a quiet prayer for peace. Right now there is a war in parts of Ukraine. I hope it can be resolved peacefully and without further losses to this beautiful country.
After I visited the church, my family and I walked down past the Historical Museum to a really pretty fountain! It's in Pokrovskii Garden Square, near the Holy Virgin Monastery. Even though it was very hot out, it still felt cooler to be near the beautiful fountain with falling water.
The last place I stopped before heading back to my family's apartment was the park that overlooks Annunciation Cathedral! It's striped, like a tiger!
I love walking around Kharkov. It's really cool to see how the city changes over the years. I first visited in 2006 and there have been many new things added over time.
Hi everyone! I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long. I went on a fantastic adventure to Europe! In this photo, I've just arrived in London and am riding the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. I went with my parents to visit family. My aunt, uncle, and cousin live in London. You might remember me posting about my aunt and uncle's wedding a few years ago if you're a longtime reader!
On my last trip to London, I didn't do as much sightseeing because my family was celebrating my aunt and uncle's wedding! This time, I was determined to do more. My first stop was at the Sylvanian Families shop in Highbury! I took a photo in the exact same place as I did in December 2013. Do you think I'm taller than in this photo?
I think I am! You can read about my last visit to the Sylvanian Families shop at this link. I bought some new toys, which I'll share in another entry because I haven't opened them yet!
Freya Chocolate is a really cool bunny toy who lives at the shop. During my last visit, she was wearing a Christmas dress! My family had really nice weather while we were in London, but it did rain so I was wearing wellies.
The Sylvanian Families shop has lots of cute displays. You can't really play with them, but they did give me lots of inspiration for playing at home! The store keepers are very nice. I made sure to pick out gifts for friends and a new Sylvanian family for myself.
After I finished my shopping, my auntie walked with me to the Underground, which is London's subway system. She had something special to show me- something I really wanted to see on my last trip but didn't get a chance. We got off at the Covent Garden stop. After quick stop at Aspinal of London, we arrived at our destination! Do you see that metal bridge in connecting the two buildings in the background of this photo? That's the Bridge of Aspiration that connects the Royal Ballet's Upper School to the Royal Opera House! It twists high above Floral Street. I was so excited to see it!
After I admired the Bridge of Aspiration, we walked around a corner to find the Royal Opera House's shop. I bought a few trinkets there and then continued to the ROH itself! See the building behind me? It's so big that it wouldn't fit in the photo! I was happy to not only see the Royal Opera House flag flying, but also a Pride flag! My family was there during Pride month, so we saw Pride flags all over the city.
This is me with the Royal Opera House's red flag flying behind me. Unfortunately, we had just missed ballet season- but that just means we'll have to come back!
The doors to the Opera House are big and glass. I have been to performances at Lincoln Center in New York City (where I live) and in Kharkov, Ukraine. Someday, I'll walk through these doors and see a performance of the Royal Ballet!
After we had explored the area around the Opera House a bit more, my aunt walked us down to the Strand. In New York City, the Strand is a big, used bookstore. In London, it's a street! My aunt took us to Somerset House, which has a huge courtyard with dancing fountains. Can you see them behind me? I had been wishing I hadn't worn my rain boots, but now I was thrilled!
When I was done playing in the fountains, I was really, really tired. It had been a long day! We decided to walk across Waterloo Bridge and catch the Underground (or "tube") back to my aunt and uncle's house.
Look at the view west from Waterloo Bridge! Wow! Do you recognize anything? The ferris wheel is called the London Eye and it is so, so big! Behind it are the Houses of Parliament with the Elizabeth Tower rising above it. The big clock on the Elizabeth Tower is called Big Ben! The last time I was in London, I didn't see the River Thames at all, so it was very exciting to see it now.
My Mama took this last snap of me in front of the London Eye- can you make it out faintly on the left side of the photo? It turned out to be the last photo of me in London on our trip! My family got so busy that we didn't take out the camera again.
After a week in London, it was off to our next stop! I'm pretty most of you have guessed already where that was!
Have you ever been to a big city like London? Which city did you go to and what did you see?