My dear friend is assigned to the US Consulate in Kiev (or Kyiv, as it is spelled there), so we combined a planned trip to Germany with a visit there. Kiev is 2.5 hours by air from Frankfurt. Day 1: We flew from Seattle to Frankfurt, had a 5 hour layover there, and then flew to Kiev on Ukrainian Airlines. The flight was interesting...the plane was full; there were lots of disputes over who could claim the overhead compartments, and finally the pilot started to taxi down the runway while people were still standing in the aisles. Everybody got seated before takeoff, however, and the rest of the flight was uneventful, and even included a good sandwich. We arrived at Borispol Airport and were met by our friend and her driver at baggage claim. We had about a 30 minute drive to downtown; at this point I had been awake for 30 hours and could barely register what I was seeing. The initial impression was of many grim Soviet style apartment blocks...this impression would change dramatically later.