The Kiev metro system is a fabulous mix of Soviet glory and Ukrainian patriotism.
The system consists of about four lines, which are distinguished by start/end names, much like BART in the Bay Area. Of course, all the station names are in Ukrainian cyrillic writing, so a little difficult to distinguish station names and directions. Better than that, certain metro stations are connected underground, with each metro line belonging to a different station, but connected by tunnels. Distinguishing which way tunnel/escalator is out, and which ones takes you to the adjoining station/lines is difficult. And even with a fluent Ukrainian translator (ie, my mother), one can spend a good ten minutes walking from tunnel to escalator to tunnel, and finding one has just gone in a giant circle through multiple stations. The winning moment during our Kruschatyk station escapade was getting to the top of an escalator and finding oneself faced with three identical white-tiled tunnels leading in different directions with no signs whatsoever, and masses of people going in and out of each of them.
But once one figures out the system, it's quite fun. For 50 kopeks, you can go all over the city, getting views over the Dnipro river and samplings of all the different stations. One station has fancy chandeliers all down it, while another is a hommage to Lenin, with dark brown marble columns and bronze statuary down the middle of the two underground platforms, enscribed with famous quotes. In contrast, the metro cars are painted sky blue and yellow (Ukrainian colours - for the sky and the wheat).
The best part of the metro is the people. Last night was a May day celebration of Kiev, consisting of a giant street party. When it rained, one notable group of older middle-aged people retreated to the metro to continue their party. They were all dressed up in their embroidered blouses, and a man was playing the accordion. They stood in a circle and danced in the traditional folk style. I'm sure much vodka was being drunk...
Earlier in the day, the two rival football teams apparently played each other - unlike the calm and peaceful protestors the day before, the sports fans were rowdier than the noisiest Bay Area fans - chants, jeers and drum-banging from rival fans echoed through all the metro stations throughout the day!
Tomorrow is our last day in Kiev before returning to L'viv in the evening. All the best,
(Sorry for no photos - I keep getting an error message in cyrillic/Ukrainian, so I can't figure out how to fix it!)