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When the Nazis pulled out of Kiev, as they had done with Peter's Palace in St Petersburg, they stripped the Ukranian Tzarist Palace of anything of value and blew it up. By 1990 the Ukranians had rebuilt the palace but did not have the funding to restore the enterior. Perhaps, someday they will make the palace into a museum.

The Monastary of the Caves also known as the Kiev-Percherskaya Monastary was another interesting tourist attraction. In the 5th and 6th centuries, people lived in the caves we were to visit. Then in 1051 they left and the monastary was built adjacent to the property. Crypts were dug into the sides of the caves where the bodies of priets were then buried and because of the environmental conditions those bodies became mumified. We walked down a long covered path into the caves, were sold candles so we could see and then went through the unlit caves to see the mumies but the mumies were covered so we couldn't see them. Then we walked up another long path and came out at -- what else? -- the monastary gift shop. Surprise!

Later we had some free time and some of us took the subway to the down-town area, toured that part of the city, took pictures and interacted with friendly locals. These two days had really been a nice experience. Kiev is a modem European city and the rumors we had heard about the food were totally wrong. Every meal we had was quite delicious and we were glad this city had been on our tour.

The next morning we were up at 5:30 a.m., bags out in the hall at 6:00 a.m. and on our way to the airport at 6:30 a.m. We had breakfast at the airport. Then we were off to Georgia, Uzbekistan, Siberia and, lastly, St. Petersburg.