New Year’s in Kiev *Mystery Trip

31 Dec

Mystery Trip — a recount continues!!!  Over the next several days I will be posting the final 3 blog posts, which follow up Sammi and The Mystery Trippers experience throughout Ukraine…and beyond.  All of these are guest blog posts written by Patrick 🙂


A guest blog by Patrick

We woke up late following our epic evening out in Odessa, and somehow managed to pack and get on our way before noon. Ira and Marta took us straight to a Ukrainian breakfast buffet, where we gawked over the amazing colors and tried our best not to break the delicate cups dessert was served in. We weren’t successful.


A kaleidoscopic display of Ukrainian food. Note: some foods do not taste as good as their colors make them out to be.


Full with purple food and slightly more alive, we hopped into our luxurious vehicle and hit the pothole-filled road. It was a long, dark drive back to Kiev, and all of the credit goes to Sammi and Colleen for safely driving us the whole way. We narrowly avoided a major accident and somehow managed to navigate the craters in our lane without destroying the car. Phew. We also survived our second smorgasbord of the day, after Sammi got excited by the ‘crazy’ chips at a gas station and immediately purchased at least 13 different varieties.

We arrived back in Kiev to find a delicious home-cooked meal waiting for us at the dinner table (thanks Jona!). Cheese pie, local mushrooms, salad, and mystery mashed potatoes (no one guessed celery!) were exactly what we needed, and we laughed hysterically as we recounted our adventures in Odessa to Jona.


Mmmmmmmmmm. Celery mashed potatoes.


We played a Gustav Klimt memory game and built Ira’s new sofa before retiring for a well-deserved night of a rest. We awoke the next morning to the promise of more surprises; what could the final day of 2017 possibly have in store? It turns out, a lot!

We all headed out to the store to buy supplies for our New Year’s celebration, and on the way Ira suggested we pop into a Soviet-style cafe just to see the decor. It was decorated in 80’s Soviet style and was a true walk through history. We ordered some tea and were surprised when the waiters offered us some free champagne for New Year’s!



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Reading old magazines in a Soviet-style cafe.


The real surprise came a few minutes later. As we were toasting the New Year and getting ready to take our first sip of champagne, Helen ‘Surprise’ Wildy walked through the door!!!!



We were so excited to have Helen join us, and were incredulous that Sammi pulled off such a huge surprise! What a perfect way to start out our New Year’s celebrations! We headed to the grocery store to stock up on food and drinks, then returned to the flat to prepare for our daytime activity: we were headed to a floating Russian spa!

We readied ourselves in our ‘something to get wet in’ and headed to the frozen river. Our floating spa was an incredible log cabin complete with an intensely hot sauna, bucket bath shower, and super chill lounge room. Ira showed us the procession: jump into the ice-cold river (literally breaking a thin sheet of ice on the way), run into the sauna, get slapped with branches of oak leaves, then rinse with an ice cold bucket bath. Just another normal New Year’s festivity! We had a refreshing and relaxing time alternating between hot and cold, giving each other New Year’s resolutions, and smearing ourselves with coffee-infused honey. Unless you are Sammi, in which case you just smeared yourself with coffee.


The water was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G!



We returned from the sauna and had a restful afternoon in preparation for the evening’s festivities. Everyone got dressed up and we ended 2017 in style. Another delicious home-cooked meal with some traditional Ukrainian dishes and lots of wine. We made a list of the things we wanted to let go of from 2017, and burned them in a letting go ceremony. Then, we spent the final 30 minutes of 2017 sharing celebrations – we all took turns talking about the things were were proud of from the year. It was a wonderful way to end the year, and after many toasts and lots of laughter we rung in 2018 with champagne and fireworks through the windows in Ira’s newly finished room.



Black is the new black.

Happy 2018!


With 2017 successfully behind us, we underwent yet another wardrobe change and headed out to an old converted theater for the most hipster party any of us had been to. Well, except for Marta, who is so just cool. With the exception of the impossibly long coat check line where they ran out of hangers, the party was exceptional: a mystery tent where we played cards with a whale, a back room showing reruns of Russian children’s videos, a live music room with too much drum and not enough bass, sumo wrestling, ping pong, foosball, and an intense dance floor with DJs spinning crazy beats. We had fun all night long, and returned home just in time to watch the sun come up on 2018…

Patrick: “Is it normal for women to be in the men’s bathroom putting mascara on guys?”


Party animals.


“I can’t believe that whale didn’t speak any English.”



Sumo Sammi.

One Response to “New Year’s in Kiev *Mystery Trip”

  1. deekerson April 11, 2018 at 10:03 pm #

    Outstanding. It’s not every first day of 2018 you get to see Sumo Sammi! On second thought, I guess it really is.

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