Out of all the countries where I lived and traveled—and I’ve been to some amazing countries—Ukraine is definitely in top ten of my favorite countries, maybe even in the top three.
Here’s why I love this country so much:
It’s cheap. Like, pretty cheap. If you’re coming from a Western country, you’ll be either shocked at how cheap everything is, or you’ll feel that you were severely overcharged and played when you lived in the West.
Either way, you’ll discover that, yes, you can actually live very comfortably without spending an arm and a leg.
A lot of people don’t consider Eastern Europeans as super friendly, but I think they are—you just need to be patient. While they may not act friendly from get-go, they warm up quickly once they get to know you and what you’re all about.
I believe this point doesn’t need any introduction. Ukrainian women are considered world over as some of the most beautiful women on the planet. I don’t remember the last time I was somewhere where seemingly every single woman in the city was so beautiful and attractive.
You can park on the sidewalk
So, this is more of a tongue-in-cheek point, but, yes, you can park on the sidewalk if you really wanted. Many people do exactly that. That’s a level of freedom you just don’t get in the West.
Three course lunches (business lunches)
This must be one of my favorite things about living in Eastern Europe. It’s the fact that I have an awesome meal for around $3-4. My favorite lunch place serves amazing 3-course meal for less than $4. It’s no surprise that I’ve been going there pretty regularly.
Good base for Europe, Asia and Middle East
Ukraine sits on the Eastern side of Europe and provides a great location for travel to Europe (2 hours to Amsterdam), 3 hours to Israel, and a decent flight time to Asia.
So, if you’re tired of Eastern Europe (and its winter) and need to escape, you have an easy of getting out and changing your scenery.
The stoic culture
Another thing I like about Eastern Europeans is the fact that they generally don’t really care about stupid and mindless things that many Westerners concern themselves with. For example, I don’t have many Ukrainian friends that care about things like politics or Senate elections or what the mayor is doing.
That’s pretty much the opposite in a city like NYC where everyone has an opinion on everything and anything. Ukrainians, on the other hand, only concern themselves with their own personal issues, like enjoying life and putting food on the table.
If you ask me, this is something I truly enjoy about this part of the world. The simple things, I guess.
The rich history
You cannot walk even a block before stumbling on some random statue or monument to some guy (or gal) that did something many years or even centuries ago.
In this way, Eastern Europe is like an open-air museum with rich history. Just walking around a Ukrainian city and you immediately feel that you’re transported back in time to Soviet Union, and even before that, before the Russian revolution that resulted in Soviet Union.
Nowadays, you have the clash with the old and the new: there’s an array of new, modern buildings are sprouting all over the country, partly thanks to the infusion of the new money into the system.
Still, all you have to do is walk a bit in the center or just outside to see the old Ukraine.
I know I mentioned the “business lunches” above and how affordable having a set meal is, but I never really talked about food in general.
Ukrainian food is awesome and super healthy. There are all kinds of Borsch, lots of great meat dishes and healthy salads.
While I wish it was a bit more spicy, I really can’t fault it because the portions are always huge, and I always leave the restaurant in an awesome mood.
This applies to Kiev and Kharkov, two cities with a metro system. The metro is clean, it’s fast and it works great. It’s definitely better than the metro in NYC, which is notorious for delays and plain not working most of the time.
Moreover, the stations are gorgeous with beautiful details and architecture. It’s definitely one of the most underrated parts of Ukraine.