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Day 52: Thinking Cool Thoughts, A Winter Photo Tour from Ukraine


Day 52: Post Monday Exercise

Day 52: Post Monday Exercise

You can’t always get what you want, and when you have it, the grass is always greener. This is me, after a light Monday morning exercise here in Sydney, which of course made me sweaty and thinking cooler thoughts. I thought about when I used to go for daily walks in Ukraine around our little island suburb, Rusanovka. It was winter when I was there, so going for a walk was a big feat and involved a little bit of preparation. Never would I leave the apartment without throwing on a good three plus layers, a hat, scarf, gloves and maybe even a pair of tights for good measure.

I became the layering queen, taking up a style of fashion I liked to call “hobo chic”. In other words, it was a collection of mismatched odds and ends that kept my bones from freezing. I often looked like this:
brooke cold

When I was all bundled up, I popped my earbuds in and spent the next 45 minutes or so wandering around the frozen sidewalks, trying not to break my shit on a patch of ice as I blasted Metric from my blackberry. Life moved differently to music. Even though I may have been plotting my exit from this winter Hell, I actually enjoyed my 45 minutes a day in my own personal world.

Iconic Architecture & Automobiles

I am quite happy now that I forced myself to take the big camera out for one of my daily walks because I really think I captured a bit of the vibe that goes with living in a former Soviet country. Stark landscapes, frozen pathways and giant blocks for architecture may not be “sexy” as my pal Ross once called it, but the scenery really grew on me during my 2008 to early 2009 travels.


pigeons attack

pimp my ride and garage

pimp my ride

Lovers of Winter

We always talked about the weather in my English lessons because it is an easy subject that most anyone can comment on. Those crazy Ukrainians always amazed me with their positive outlook, even in the dead cold. Some of them were just plain excited to be able to go out in the snow to play!


boys on ice

people of the ice

ice river

Graffiti in Contrast

When life felt so gray and bleak (no sunshine and snow near gray cement buildings), graffiti took on a new light for me. The bright colors were always in such contrast to the surroundings that I felt like I HAD to photograph it.

i heart graffiti

i heart graffiti 3

i heart graffit 2

garage door


This was a bit of my life that I often say now was bittersweet. I hate winter, but then again, the moments above could only be truly appreciated having it been during that time.


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12 Responses to Day 52: Thinking Cool Thoughts, A Winter Photo Tour from Ukraine

  1. Bethany February 22, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    Great post Brooke! In fact, you’ve inspired me. It just snowed last night, my toes are freezing cold in the house but I think I’m going to head out for a walk down to the frozen beach. 🙂

    • Brooke February 22, 2011 at 7:09 am #

      Aw, thanks 🙂 Are you going to take us all on a photo tour?

  2. Aníbal February 23, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    Hi Brooke, great post! I’m writing from Uruguay; I’m currently reading travelers’ blogs in order to ready myself up to take the plunge into world travelling 😀 That’s how I came across yours.

    And since I’m from Uruguay, I must tell you, I’ve never been to Russia; in fact, I’ve never seen snow in my life! As you might know, my country is rather similar to Oz in terms of temperature, but because we have no mountains, there is no chance whatsoever to have any snow at all 🙁

    (Podría escribirte en español, pero prefiero facilitarte el entendimiento de lo que escribo :P)

    If by any chance you don’t know Uruguay, would you like to come someday? It’d be awesome to have you around! Here, lemme show you a clip from my country. It’s in Spanish, so train your brain a bit 🙂

    I hope you liked it! Glad to meet you 🙂


    • Brooke February 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      Hi Anibal – thanks for stopping by and commenting! I tried to watch that video, but it did not work for me. I have not been to Uruguay, but I would love to go someday 😀

      • Aníbal February 25, 2011 at 1:21 am #

        Such a pity!

        I’ll leave you this one then! Hope you can watch it this time 😀


  3. DanielW February 24, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Hey Brooke,

    Wanna compare Ukrainian Marshrutka photos? I took this – a classic example of luxury travel in Eastern Ukrainski, complete with curtains and a few seats still intact too. I am going back next month for a 2 week stay, looking forward to the borsch but dreading the icy roads. I have a 6.5 hour overnight coach journey from Boryspil. Wish me luck, you know how those roads are…

    • Brooke February 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      Hi Daniel — I actually have not taken any photos of the marshrutki ! Something I regret. Oh Boryspil is one of the most unfriendly airports. Good luck with your ride and eat some borsch for me!

  4. Brendan van Son February 25, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Very cool (oops, I hate when stupid puns come out) post. I loved winter as a kid, but as a Canadian I quickly tired of it… I love the photos, and even though I don´t have even the slightest urge right now to go out in the cold, shooting some winter photography to me sounds like fun. It´s just too bad winter can´t be warm. Imagine skiing and snowball fighting with warm snow!

    • Brooke February 26, 2011 at 10:42 am #

      Hey Brendan, thanks for commenting on and tweeting this post 🙂 Winter as a kid was pretty awesome, but the older I got, the less fun it became. *sigh* I hope you get out to take some winter photos — just have some hot cocoa ready to go for when you get back! 😀

  5. Juan March 4, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    I spent some time in the Ukraine [though in the summer time] and I must say that I found the positive outlook of the Ukrainians just amazing. Some of the time I was in a small town close to Chernobyl and it seemed as if people didn’t really give that much thought to living that close to a giant nuclear disaster. Here in the US I’m sure people would try and move away as quickly as possible for as long as possible. Though, I’m sure in the mind of a Ukrainian it all makes sense. To them it seemed as if there had been wars famine and death throughout there land for 1000s of years so events like Chernobyl were sad but one supposed to just get over them and keep on living.

    Now that is just my 2 cents 🙂

  6. Alisa August 9, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    Hello, Brooke!

    I’ve found your blog with the posts about Ukraine)
    I live in Ukraine, Kiev) and work near Rusanovka! It’s very funny (in good way) to read your impressions ))))

    Thank you!!)
    But why you don’t post photos from Kiev historical center with its beauty and sharm – why only dirty streent and marshrutkas?)))


  1. Fruit is the Last Thing I Want as a Beer Snack (a Ukraine memory) - May 3, 2011

    […] This is most likely not news to you if you’ve caught one or two of my Ukraine blog posts, but it was cold when I was there. I thought that getting to Ukraine in the winter would be a challenge, but one that really lets me see what Ukraine is like. In that sense, it was a success. I saw the real Ukraine when women still trounce around in knee-high leather boots and 2 inch heels when the sidewalks are covered in snow. I saw the real Ukraine where markets pop up on the side of the street in temperatures at or near freezing. I saw the Ukraine where locals jump for joy at the chance to take part in winter games like sledding or ice fishing. […]

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