Souvenirs from Ukraine

Ukraine is a land of surprises and hidden mysteries, and I hope to bring at least bits and pieces of this amazing, ginormous mosaic back home. Hence, here’s my plan for shopping for souvenirs:

1. Ushanka

The legen---dary ushanka!

The legen—dary ushanka!

This is the choice of hat for many elderly Ukrainians, but I’m still getting one.

2. Postcards from each city

3. Matryoshka

Matryoshka

Matryoshka

Photo and information from http://ukraine.pacsys.com/souvenirs.htm

Surely, you have seen these cute, wooden, stackable dolls before, and here in Ukraine, every souvenir shop has them. There is always a huge range of designs, colours and sizes.

There is a difference between Ukrainian and Russian matryoshka. Both are stackable, but dolls in each set of the Russian version are identical, while the dolls in each set of the Ukrainian version represent a family, probably with the father, mother, son, daughter, pet dog, chicken in the farm in descending sizes.

4. Traditional Ukrainian costume

Ukrainian men's hutsul

Ukrainian men’s hutsul

It would be awesome to own one of these, but it’s not that cheap. Because of the intricate handmade embroidery, it costs about 1000 to 2000 UAH (from my observations from the souvenir shops; 125 to 250 USD). Perhaps I’ll have to give this traditional costume a miss…

5. Flag of Ukraine

The distinctive blue and yellow flag of Ukraine

The distinctive blue and yellow flag of Ukraine

6. Chocolates

I can’t live without chocolates, especially when in Ukraine, when there are whole shelves in supermarkets dedicated to local Ukrainian chocolates, chocolate biscuits and eclairs etc., and when it’s relatively cheap compared to Singapore, and even Australia, which is a large dairy and chocolate producer and where chocolates are already cheap.

It didn’t take me long to find out that one big producer of chocolates is Roshen.

Just one of the many types of Roshen chocolates! I think there are more varieties than Cadbury of Australia and UK.

Just one of the many types of Roshen chocolates! I think there are more varieties than Cadbury of Australia and UK.

We absolutely love this kind of chocolate truffle candies

We absolutely love this kind of chocolate truffle candies

7. Ukrainian-English English-Ukrainian dictionary

It was not easy to find such a dictionary in Singapore, even though I’m sure Collins or Oxford publishing produces it. But I hope to find one in a local bookshop (probably it’s much easier to find a bookshop with foreign language books in Kyiv), and I’m looking for one such book produced by a Ukrainian publisher.

8. Maps of every city

I already have a map of Ternopil. Maps of Kyiv should be easier to obtain.

9. Metro tokens of Kyiv Metro

The Kyiv metro map

The Kyiv metro map

Standard Kyiv metro tokens

Standard Kyiv metro tokens

A special token, probably commemorating an event in 1960? Image from http://planestrainsmarshrutkas.blogspot.com/2011/01/back-to-scene-of-crime.html

A special token, probably commemorating an event in 1960?

This image above is from http://planestrainsmarshrutkas.blogspot.com/2011/01/back-to-scene-of-crime.html , which is a blog about a traveller who toured Lviv and Kyiv, that I chanced upon.

Kyiv’s underground metro is one of the most splendid beauties of the Ukraine. Each station is a masterpiece, a deep underground palace, and a haven for architecture and transport system enthusiasts like me. Of course you can’t own a piece of it, but you can own the iconic blue, plastic coin tokens you need to purchase to enter the system. When in Kyiv for a few days, I’ve observed the tokens. Most of them are of a standard design, but some of them are commemorative tokens for certain sporting events.

And they’re probably the cheapest and most easily available souvenirs in Kyiv – just 2 UAH (0.25 USD) each – that’s also how much it costs to ride on the metro once.

In addition, bus and tram tickets are worth keeping too!

Tram ticket for Kyiv's trams

Tram ticket for Kyiv’s trams

__________________________

Here is my list of souvenirs I hope to buy before I leave Ukraine, or the respective cities! If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment here or on Facebook.

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