WordCamp Kyiv 2016 was the first official WordCamp in Ukraine and it was a success: engaging the audience, good organization, food and interesting talks — at least the ones that were in English (since I don’t understand Ukranian :)).
I really liked the schedule format, 30 minutes for talk and 10 minutes for questions. At first, I was worried if there would be enough questions to fill the allocated time, but I was pleasantly surprised by the engagement of attendees. Questions, feedback and hallway discussions during breaks are one of the most fulfilling things when doing talks since it enables me to see if I got my message across and encouraged people to think about the topic.
This was my first time visiting Ukraine. Emanuel was also giving a talk on WordCamp Kyiv so we decided to go together. Zagreb doesn’t have direct flights to Kyiv, so we decided to drive to Budapest and fly from there. We booked an Airbnb apartment in the city centre which proved as a good decision — we could easily take the metro to the conference venue or just walk around the city. Since we were staying for the whole week, it was more convenient for us to stay in the city centre and the venue was only several metro stations away.
Kyiv is a beautiful city with a population of 3.5 million (officially there are “only” 2.9 million). There are a lot of things to see, the local cuisine is really good (I would recommend you try the red Borsch) and you can move around the city either via metro, bus, trolleybus or by using taxis (which are also very affordable). The whole city is covered with 3G and the prepaid internet is cheap.
WordCamp organizers even prepared a guided 3-hour tour for speakers. We got the chance to visit Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Mother Motherland, Andriyivskyy Descent and many other places while listening to the professional guide share their knowledge and interesting bits about sites.
One of the things that were on my mind for over a decade was visiting Pripyat, an abandoned city which was evacuated and deserted after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986. All–day tour to visit Chernobyl are organized on a daily basis from Kyiv and cost around $100. Since we were in Kyiv for a week, this was on my priority list.
I can wholeheartedly recommend it and if you decide to go — don’t forget that you need to book it in advance (around 10 days) because your passport needs to be validated by the government. I will write a more detailed article on this topic at a later date — I want some time for impressions to sink in completely.
Overall, I was pretty happy with my trip to Kyiv, visiting a good conference, meeting new people, discussing fresh ideas and having fun at the same time. I hope to will visit Kyiv again.