Lunch in Kiev, dinner in Riga, supper in Hemel Hemsptead. If that isn’t a perfect day, then a perfect day doesn’t exist.
Far off the beaten track, it’s one of those destinations few in Britain have been lucky enough to reach. But if you put in the effort, Hemel Hempstead is worth it.
But let’s deal with Kiev. It’s the most difficult city I’ve been to in terms of getting around and communicating. But once you’ve found a map, got your bearings and conquered the metro the fear disappears and the beauty of this place unveils itself.
Kiev has more churches than the Vatican, more street boozing than Manchester on UEFA Cup Final night, more beautiful women than a Paris fashion show.
The churches are part of its Christian history, the boozing on Independence Square at night is what they do and the beautiful girls are just a happy coincidence.
And with no direct flights to Kiev from Britain, you feel like you’re visiting an unspoilt wonderland that the west has been unable to bastardise through stag do’s and budget flights.
It’s like seeing communism firsthand without the communism actually being there any more. Get yourself to Kiev (but don’t tell anybody in case they ruin it).
NOTE: My trip to Kiev was for my book Outsiders. I interviewed and photographed Sean Carr and Mick Lake from the band Death Valley Screamers, two guys from Leeds who now live in Kiev, the city where they relaunched their band with life-changing success.
I flew from Stansted via Riga. I spent two hours in Riga on my way back. The Latvian girls just aren’t as pretty.