Anna was my constant guide throughout my excursions in Kiev as we arrived at our most exotic destination, the Mezhyhirya Palace. This was the stately home of the Ukrainian President and the hunt of the rich. It is a huge structure at the centre surrounded by huge lakes with gardens and walkway littered with yellow and orange autumn leaves. Statues and sculptures adorn the gardens of the palace. The most prominent attractions are the white marble sculptures of Zeus, the God of War and Aphrodite which are in great proximity to each other. Fountains, wooden bridges and wooden resting benches stare at the magnificent place giving a breather and rest to the tourists who are on their walk around the palace compound. Ducks and swans glide over the lakes as the water ripples away from its surface.
I walked through this piece of heaven which had a floating restaurant on a wooden ship in the middle of the lake. The air is chilly and it also tends to drizzle from time to time. But I was mesmerized by the lake as autumn leaves fly and float down the trees falling on the walkways. Visitors stroll down wearing shock swollen jackets over wind shatters. The leaves fall relentlessly and soon enough, we had snow. Yes, thin flakes of snow dancing down from the sky. I, for one, was busy filming all this with my GoPro as Anna narrated the history and background of the palace. It had a rich, opulent and pompous look about it. This was aristocracy at its naked best. There was a snack bar and coffee joint at the corner. Amongst it was also the toilets. One could have much on the floating restaurant inside the wooden boat on the lake. At a modest price of 200 hryvnias, one could also hire a buggy ride around the huge palace compound.
The wooden architecture and the exquisite stonework on the sculptures and statues which were all around the opulent palace were the highlight of my day and, of course, not to miss Anna’s running commentary. I was satisfied with the efforts of the day as I chewed on a ham and cheese sandwich and offered Anna my pack of Lays potato chips. It was an entire afternoon that I and Anna spent wandering around the palace. We stopped over for a while to capture the sight of a live Ukrainian wedding which was also being filmed. This time, they had a drone camera to video shoot the wedding. I too got a few shots of the young couple kissing and hugging each other. On the other side, you had Ukrainian aristocracy mingling and making merry around the parks of the palace all dressed as if they were going to watch the London Derby. I had my eye on the watch as I had to catch the 6 pm train from Kiev to the town of Lviv. This was going to be my first train journey across Eastern Europe – a six-hour odyssey on a Ukrainian train. Wow, I just can’t wait to narrate this experience!