This past Monday was a holiday, a religious holiday that many of my friends here knew meant no work or school, but without details as to what the holiday might actually be. In any case, I took advantage of the long weekend and their excitement for a free day and rode the metro out to Vydubychi and boarded a Marshrutka (a large van similar to a shared taxi, but follows an exact route) to the town of Obukhiv, where a good friend of mine lives. There we gathered a small army of bikers and I borrowed a spare bike.
We biked some distance out of Obukhiv, I think more or less around 10km, past several villages until coming to a lake. We ate our packed dinners here, a few of the bikers swam in the cool water, and I sat and painted the shore with my travel watercolors.
We then biked further over dirt roads, rocky roads, roads composed of broken ceramics and old bricks. At a small wooded path on a winding uphill road, we suddenly stopped and began to drag our bikes up a much steeper hill. This sharp wooded path then emerged into a field with panoramic views of the surrounding villages and Kyiv in the far off distance (first five photos).
We trudged trough the overgrown footpath with our bikes until we could finally manage to ride and eventually came to a massive plateau. This vast space, which could have been a natural fortification for the region in the past, was now utilized for agriculture (what we thought might have been 1000s of rows of soy plants, photo seven). The edge of one side of the field was lined with a narrow forest. While biking this section at dusk, I saw wild boars for the first time in nature. Towards the end of the cultivated fields rested a few blocks seemingly reserved for wild flowers (photo six) and across the muddy path a few beekeeping boxes outlined the border of the forest. We then cycled down the plateau, through the villages and back up a long incline home to Obukhiv as the sun was setting.