The ups and downs of Kyiv

Hitting the bottom doesn’t always mean a bad thing

Anton Kutselyk


I hop on a green scooter, take a turn from the yard to the main road and scoot all the way down Klovsky Uzviz. My jacket is unzipped, out of habit. The cold wind is resisting my descent with a friendly hostility — my eyes meet that resistance with drops of joyful tears. I get to the bottom of the hill. I stop by a traffic light. Chilly. I zip my jacket all the way up.

It’s the 14th of November, and I realize that warm days are gone — winter is coming. The winds are getting cold. The airs are getting heavy. The clothes are getting layered.

Tony, it’s time to wrap your neck in an enormously-sized scarf with an intriguing pattern.

Are you excited?

Yes, I am.

I’m a hot-weather guy — summer’s scorching heat is my ideal habitat. This time, I feel strangely prepared for the coming of cold days. Why not when hey start off so beautifully? Bath me in this crisp coldness, please.

I continue my scooting adventure. My destination is Urban Space 500— a community coffee shop that hides in a cosy corner of Kyiv’s old town, on Borysa Hrinchenka street. The scooter’s tiny black wheels carry me over to Khreshchatyk. Its wide pavements welcome me with an early morning’s emptiness.

The freedom of movement here is unprecedented.

Without strays of humans, I can clearly see the chilling beauty of this cold day.

Someone opens their mouth and an amorphous cloud of carbon dioxide gets out into public space. Part of them is now part of us. Bright sunlight mixes with cool air — the contrast makes the light feel lighter and look brighter than it does in summer. Serhiy scoots by my side. With a green hat on, he looks like a Christmas tree — green, straight and beautiful.

My hands turn red from the cold. I turn left to cross the road and ascend up to the coffee shop.

That’s what we do in Kyiv every day. We ascend and we descend — multiple times per day — before we reach the place…



Anton Kutselyk

I live in Kyiv and write about war, peace, books and coffee.