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Leaning too far one way could bring the weight of the other side crashing down on top of it.But enough of the cliché geopolitical ranting; let me try another way of explaining this place.My intention was to spend a few days in the city, and then go on a long trip back to Rome, through Eastern Europe, via trains and buses.During those two weeks, I never left a two-mile radius in the old city.

Kyiv is a fulcrum, delicately balancing the political weights of the West and Russia on its periphery.

Either way, it adds color to the human experience, and while Ukrainians might appear cold with their faces, their eyes show a full range of emotions, usually with high levels of intrigue and interest. There are two things in abundance here, and usually within 200-yards in any direction: pharmacies, and café’s with copious varieties of cake.

I’m not sure if there is a correlation between the two. Near my apartment, there is a luxurious Thai massage studio adjacent to a decrepit building with vegetation growing out of its decay—vehicles drive underneath the building on a functioning road.

I felt Kyiv in the massive art installations in old buildings all over the city.

I felt it in the sounds of a violin echoing off the concrete walls in the underground passageways…. The other day, I walked by an opened manhole, looked down into the earth, and saw literally centuries of city: pavement, dirt, cobblestones a few inches under the dirt, rocks a few inches under the cobblestones.

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