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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


On the Sofa with...

A Guy in Gear

Darren Alff is the man behind Bicycle Touring Pro a website which tells you everything you need to know about how to travel with just yourself, your bike, and a couple of inner tubes. On the road for much of his life, the American started bike touring at 17. Now, having cycled through 30+ countries, hes gone more than 75,000 miles on just his trusty two wheels. On (around) 14 October, the 29-year-old cruises into Kyiv, and advance of that, we spoke with him about spokes and more

On 19 April this year, Darren left his home in Park City, Utah, USA. He has been in Europe ever since, cycling through Iceland, England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Turkey. By the end of the year Darren will have also cycled through Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Poland, and of course, Ukraine.

Where else are you planning to stop in Ukraine?
Ive created a plan for myself in Ukraine that consists largely of having no plan at all. I dont know a whole lot about the country or which areas I should see/experience first, so Im just going to cycle into Ukraine and let the wind blow me in whichever direction it pleases. I plan to be in Ukraine for about a month. 

What do you know/think about Ukraine? Will this be your first time here?
This will be my first time in Ukraine and I am really looking forward to it. By the end of the year I will have spent more than 8 months in Europe and cycled through more than a dozen different countries, but Ukraine is the one country I have been looking forward to the most. I think the reason is because I know so little about it. In fact, a lot of people have told me that I shouldnt go to Ukraine. That it isnt safe, that theres nothing to do there, etc. But then I ask them, Have you ever been to Ukraine yourself? And of course the answer is no.

What are the main reasons you are doing what you are doing?
When I was 17-years-old, I graduated from high school and wanted to do something big and exciting before going off to college and starting my professional career. It was at this time that I decided I was going to ride my bicycle from Oregon to Mexico down the California coastline a distance of approximately 1,700 kilometres. At the time, I figured that if I could complete that trip by bike, it would be something I would look back on for the rest of my life and regard as one of the best experiences I ever had. 
As it turns out, that was true! I completed the bike ride down the California coastline in 30 days and started my first year of university two days after finishing the ride. I had never thought Id do another bicycle tour after that one, but when the next summer came around, I went on another big bike trip across the United States. And each year after that, for the remainder of my time in university, I spent my summer breaks riding my bicycle across massive portions of North America. 
Then, when I got out of college and started working, I just kept riding during every available break. These post-university bike tours, however, took me overseas to different countries and different continents... this is where I really started to learn a lot. 

What would you say about bike touring to those thinking of doing it?
Well, I love bicycle touring because its such a great way to learn. I was always good at school, but I didnt realise until I finished my formal education that the best, fastest and most fun way to learn something new is to simply get out there in the world, do what you love to do, ask questions, go to places you are interested in learning about... and to really get your hands dirty. So thats another major aspect of bike travel that keeps me coming back to it time and time again. I just love learning about new places, people, ideas, approaches to life/business, etc. Ive gone to so many amazing places and met so many interesting people. Ive been able to live a life few people even dream of. 

For now, Darren is dreaming of being in Ukraine and would be grateful for any tips and recommendations on what he should do here. Please dont hesitate to contact him through his website, www.bicycletouringpro.com

Graham Phillips

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Comments (1)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
wanderer64 | 16.10.2012 17:41

Keep it up Darren.

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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