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Poland

What goes on at the Copacabana ?

Copa is one the most famous areas to stop and visit in Rio. The two and half mile stretch of white sand  is the main feature, also famous for the hotel named after it , a famous song by Barry Manilow and the Stones even played here for free.

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Poland

A Mooch in the Rio Favels

A must do when in Rio is to visit the Rochina Favela, which is the second largest of its kind in Latin America.Please don't be a hero and visit this destination on your own.There are plenty of reputable companies who will take you for around £30 per person, but will pick you up from your hotel and drop you back , and all their guides are from the Favela's so they know which are the right alleys to go down. If you are adamant to go on your own , according to the locals single woman and couples are safe , but single men or groups of men are a threat , and certain individuals might think you are a policeman .If you do go on your own and you are a single man, be prepared to lift your top up to show you have no wire, but really this is not something recommended.Also be aware of private tour guides who might offer you trips to meet individuals with guns, this might sound cool to some of you but please think of the full consequences.

The Rochina Favela is home to over 180,000 people ,which is the largest in Brazil. All the buildings are made from concrete blocks and some go up to four storeys high.

As you can see from the pictures they are very cramped and built on top of each other .Compared to other slums this community has the benefit of electricity water and sanatasation.

Walking through the Favelas is something you have never experienced before , and it will make you grateful for what you have at home , and you will never complain that there is nothing on the TV at home.

Just be prepared for the initial hike , as the incline to the entrance with the heat humidity can test you.

The Favelas is a very safe enviroment day especially with your designated guide . You will the people very friendly and welcoming as the Brazilians are positive and good spirited people.

I mentioned earlier that the utilities are good here but obviously as its run by the drug dealers there is no council tax but there also can be days without hot water and electricity.

The Brazilians who live in the Favelas are very happy , and appreciate the basics of life of happiness family , the sun, the sea and food on the table.

if you ever have the chance to visit this place you will find the people friendly and passionate, especially the guides who are generally from the Favella’s. The only time to not to visit would be after dark or in heavy rain as the floods can be catastrophic.

Electricity is great in the Favelas but occasionaly its gets turned off, although it looks dis jointed and a bit messy , and probably does not pass EU or UK health and safety , the wires a quite a big feature of this urbanisation.

Putting to prosepective in black and white

Photos are encouraged and welcomed in the Favelas , however your guide will take you down alleys where photos are not permitted for obvious reasons.

If you come to Rio you must visit the Favelas and enjoy this most unique urbanisation.

This might not be your usual Uber DRiver .!!!!

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Ukraine

Celebrating 30 years of Freedom

Given the events of the recent Russian invasion, this trip in 2021 has deepened my many memories of the people and places I met and visited in Ukraine.
I hope that peace and freedom return and remain as I documented them here.

Being able to experience this anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union, was a truly joyful and emotional experience, with rumours of over 60 million hryvnia spent on the celebrations.

The streets were packed with people flying the colours of Ukraine, embracing their special day. Regiments from current and old divisions proudly marched through the streets with pride and honour.

The sky was continuously full of jets and helicopters flying over the city to join in with the party. Hard to believe how things have changed.

Watching Andrea Bocelli live from my hotel balcony was unbelievable, and I was lucky enough to capture Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, as sung by Pavarotti at the Italy Word Cup in 1990.

Bare with watching the video, as it improves as the song develops.

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Ukraine

Creative & Quirky Kyiv

Let's not forget the Artistic and creative side of this city. We have focused on history and beauty but this city has a real flair for art.

I would like to start by showing you the Murals of Kyiv, where there are over 160 over the city and are sponsored by different art groups.

The Ukrainian Banksy!

The first picture mural is from the following artist by Seth Globepainter and Ukrainian artist Kislow.

Below: Girl with the sunflowers, Mural in Kiev Author – Mata Ruda (Costa Rica) Address: 1/2 Taras Shevchenko pereylok.

Less than a minute’s walk from the Chernobyl Museum you’ll find this mural by Brazilian artist, Nunca. The concept of the work was to blend Brazilian and Ukrainian cultures in a single character.
Location: 6a Spasskaya Street

Like all cities these days graffiti is embraced and controled in areas to give it more of an artistic feel rather than vandalism.

Start at the the top of Dnipro, and walk into the city admiring the views and the stretched wall of art work from different local artists .

Even the pigeons admire the street art!

Around the city, there are various images of Ukraine celebrating freedom from the Soviet Union/Russia .. no surprise!

There are many art galleries in Kyiv but none as abstract as Pinchuk Art Centre.

Even the cafes have their own art work on display – internally and externally 

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Ukraine

Parks of Kyiv

Kyiv is also known as the Green City and boasts over 127 parks within its region.

The parks offer normal recreational activities – but in this city within the park grounds, is a palace, stadium, bridges, nightclub, outdoor concert venue, coffee shops, and amazing views of the Dinopra as well as interesting art.

The Arch of Freedom is a very impressive structure, which has a symbol of meaning that is very poigniant today – but out of respect, I do not wish to discuss it.

In the summer its great place just to relax and watch the sun go down.

You could spend hours just watching the tranquility of the Dnipro

If you are lucky enough, or arrive early enough, you can have the bridge to yourself.

Kyiv Funicular is a cable car that splits the main park vertically; it's a nice experience if you have maxed out your steps for the day.

The true hill is called Volodymyrska Hill and it connects the upper town to the district of Podil and more of the usual great views of the river.

Head towards Andriyivskyy Descent through the park and you will come across an unusual mile-long street of art dealers selling modern and classic art of Ukraine as well as some from further afield.

Which then leads to you to the beautiful  St Andrews's Church.

Visit the Unique Statue of the Peeing Colours of Kyiv.Simply a colourful sculpture of four boys who could not hold it.

Spend hours on a summer day strolling the park roads , suited to all ages and generations.

Chess is a huge pastime for the locals and often you will see games going on in the park, the locals will try and call you over for a game.

I promise you you will not win.

As well as all the exciting things that are available in the Parks of Kyiv lets not forget the recreational and relaxing side to it.

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Ukraine

Cultural Kyiv

The capital of Ukraine offers a diversity of historical buildings and churches, split by the river Dnipro with beautiful parks and the wonderful people who are testament to this city. In the post, we are going to look at some classic sites and unique features.

There are over 800 churches in Kyiv and you will not find one more beautiful and unique than St Nicholas's church which lies on the Dnipro (photo above).

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery dates back to July 1108, is famous for its Gold domes and electric blue paintwork

Even if religious artifacts are not your bag it's well worth a view of this fantastic monastery.

See images of the Monastery below:

People gather from all over the world to visit this fantastic place.

As mentioned before there are 800 churches in the city which you could spend weeks exploring.

The Golden Gate in Kyiv is a must-do in the city, although what looks slightly like a church at the top is actually a fortification.

The Golden Gate of Kyiv was the main gate in the 11th-century fortifications of Kyiv, the capital of Kievan Rus. It was named in imitation of the Golden Gate of Constantinople. The structure was dismantled in the Middle Ages, leaving few vestiges of its existence.

In August 2021 the Ecumenical Patriarch, for the Orthodox Church visited the city of Kyiv.

People gathered all around Ukraine to be be part of this beautiful religious procession.

From my hotel room you see out how the roads were packed with people for this great event , passing the most impressive Mariinskyi Palace

Mariinsky Palace is the official residence where president of Ukraine resides.

As you can see its guarded with pride and honour.

Visiting the Second World War museum in Kyiv is essential for all tourists. As you can see below the entrance has a  bit of a Star Wars feel to it.

Equally impressive where you take your snap from. You will embark on a journey dedicated to Ukraine in World War 2. The big dome, which looks like an Olympic torch, is known as the Eternal Flame Monument.

The impressive Motherland Statue is made out of stainless steel and stands 62 metres tall. This impressive sculpture simply symbolizes the people's effort and memories in the War. This is not the easiest statue to take a photo of due to the sun reflecting off the steel. Move around until you find the best angle.

As you travel though the museum you will see tanks , planes  and statues remembering the War and its history behind it.

Maidan Square or Independence Square as it is sometimes known is the most famous and central square in Kyiv – famous for its political rallies or non political protests . At the weekend and in the summer its the epicentre for tourists and locals to gather .

The House with Chimaeras – Horodecki House, is a unique Art Nouveau building constructed by a Polish architect (Wladyslaw Horodecki – 1902). Look out for the frogs!!!!

Exploring the streets of Kyiv you will find a blend of impressive architecture and unique buildings.

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