Navigating your way around with just a little Russian

Travel in the former Soviet Union can be a challenge but it is getting easier due to increased tourism and the use of English as an International language on street signs and in transportation services such as trains, buses, etc.

So, can a little Russian help you along the way? Absolutely and to do that you’ll need to know something about the Cyrillic alphabet, found here. Using that knowledge can help you with the basic stuff like street directions, and finding things like a restaurant, hotel, bar and other services.

Speaking of bars, we’re going to visit the “Banka fan bar” in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv (Kiev). Here we don’t call the city “key-evh” with two syllables as in the West. Instead we speak Kyiv (Kiev) like the locals, a one syllable word that sounds like “keeve” which is just like ‘peeve” or ‘sleeve’ but with the letter k at the start.

tourist directions

So if we wanted to inquire about the Banka fan bar in Kyiv where they serve drinks in uniquely styled jars, here is how we’d ask:

bar banka in Kyiv

For directions we’d ask “gdye” ( Где) which means “where” is something. A local would tell us that the Fan Bar is at ул. Елены Телиги 13 and our new skills at deciphering Cyrillic would tell us that we’re looking for #13 Ye-l-e-n-a  T-e-l-i-g-i street. In Eastern Europe you pinpoint locations by the nearest subway station which in this case is м.Дорогожичи, or “Metro D-o-r-o-g-o-zh-i-ch-i.

Simple, right?