Shooting guns at the range – yes, you can shoot guns in Ukraine!

So… who’s up for some shooting? Yes, in a country that still favors a man to be a masculine man especially in the continent of Ukraine – it’s very possible to shoot guns and still be considered to be cool, awesome, and manly. And guess who got to do all this??? Me! I did! I guess all that traveling in Latin America has brushed into me that macho Latino culture. It definitely helps as the men in Eastern Europe respect manliness.

ak47 Kalashnikov, is a gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifl

I’ve shot an AK47 before so I wasn’t in amazement.

Apparently, most people who travel far and wide to Ukraine don’t usually do this kind of trip out to the range so I guess I was one of the very few (it reminded me of going to St. Louis for some target practice or even doing the full gun package in Las Vegas). Not to mention I was also one of the fewer people who have shot guns before considering that I also hunt and target shoot. So, being that foreigner who had gun experience made me a bit of a smaller scale celebrity at the gun range because I also spoke some Russian while I was there. The people were just not used to a Russian-speaking foreigner who traveled far and farther and has shot guns before.

Tip: If you don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian well, best is to hire a guide/driver who can take you there and help translate. I remember going there and I couldn’t really understand all of the Russian they were speaking so it was a great day for shooting when you have a translator. Sometimes it’s better to know the local language as I’ve learned going fishing in Nicaragua.

ak47 assault guns collection for shooting sample package

“Make my weapons! Make my weapons!” It’s like that Static-X song, “Bled for Days.”

handgun pistol 9mm 40 s&w .45 caliber gun range military

Firing a handgun. It was some kind of Ukrainian firearm. I still prefer the .45 cal 1911.

ak47 indoors having fun blast

I was firing this AK47 at a close range target. Release the zombies! Headshot, headshot!

Sniper Rifle for 7.62×51 NATO

I was firing this SKV, 7.62x54R rifle, with a scope. I think it was an older model but I liked it.

MP5 FNL semi auto rifle

I don’t remember what rifle this was, but it was a MP5, FNL-type rifle. Reminded me of a Steyr-AUG.

When you get to the range, the people ask if you want to shoot more than the package that they offer. Of course, I want to shoot some more! I’m going to have a blast, literally with one! Any day to put bullets down-range is a great day for the itchy index finger!

Tip: Bring your passport with you. For some reason, they take your passport when you go shoot, probably as a security measure. And bring extra money too because they might have a gun that you really want to shoot! Wear warm clothes because the weather in Ukraine can be damn-ass really chilly!

gun rack at range semi auto guns

Next up was the open range. I only shot the M4 and AK47 variants, not the Mauser.

range box sandbags target honing perfecting shot 7.62 5.56 mm

The rangemaster watched over me as I fired because he thought I was a complete noobie. He quickly learned that I knew my guns and could handle them as I was hitting target after target.

spotter accuracy firing rounds targets paper metal cold weather east europe kiev

So once the rangemaster saw that I could indeed shoot, he had a spotter see how accurate I was. Now, I’m no sniper-shooter but it’s good enough to hunt!

m4 5.56 sniper scout target killer assassin pose

The weather actually warmed up so I started to get hot because I was wearing all these layers. And then of course, it got cold again when the wind came crashing in. I had to take the beanie off so I wouldn’t heat up and fog up the scope.

 

I also went shotgun shooting. Even though I didn’t have my own regular shotguns that I’m used to shooting, I could adjust. Upon arrival, I observed that the trap range was just like being back home at the local gun range. Of course, there was also skeet so I might as well have a crazy finger-pulling day destroying those clay pigeons!

gun range trap skeet clay pigeons shooting target practice cold weather

I wasn’t used to this kind of shotgun but I was still able to shoot some clays down.

lock loaded gun long shoot #8 shot ducks geese pigeons discs

Locked and loaded. I’m ready after taking a quick look and feel of the handle of the game.

success shoot shot over under escopeta gunner big gun

“PULL!” and the clay disc turns into dust!

target shotgun flying discs in the air ranger 80 yards

One time, I had a streak of 10 clays down and I yelled “PULL… PULL!” And I look at the rangemaster who has the trigger just looking at me. I guess he didn’t know that I could shoot that well.

tear drop disc from the sky falling pigeon orange red

I was firing at this one clay that was basically a goose drop or tear drop.

Definitely, worth going to the gun range. In Ukraine. It’s a completely different experience than going to see churches, statues, and other memorial thingamajigs. Live and breathe it instead of going into retard-tourist mode. Hit that shift-stick into maximum gear! Gun it up!

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Kiev, Ukraine – yes, it’s cold so bring a hat and a thick coat!

You always wonder how can people live in such cold, frigid weather wastelands… why don’t they just move elsewhere? Well, it isn’t that easy to do especially if you’ve grown up there your whole life and gotten used to arctic and sub-zero temperatures. In fact, you get used to the murderous gale force winds, falling ice and snow, and the need to bundle up in 5-6 layers of clothing in order to repel the cold. I don’t even think I had to do that when going deer hunting in New York or even for hunting mule deer in the mountains/hills of Colorado!

kiev street calle capital ukrainian ucrania

Forget what you hear about Ukraine. It’s not a third world country. They have flush-able toilets, electricity, heating, cars, internet, smartphones, etc. If you look in the distance, there is a sign for Uber!

I have to say going to Ukraine was one of the coldest I’ve ever been in life. I just couldn’t believe that it can get that chilly cold in life to where you have to wear multiple layers, gloves, hat or beanie OR you have to hibernate. Even the nights can be damn cold. Gotta have a heater on just to sleep well! Now I know why so many Slavic peoples (from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc.) go to Costa del Sol. To get some sun, a tan, vitamin D from the solar rays, and an escape from the persecution of the ax-murderer called arctic blast weather. Even going to Mexico or Costa Rica would be considered heaven.

On the flip side, I can imagine how nice and warm Ukraine must be during the summer. Just walking around without a damn care in the world. Yeah, that must be nice to be out there after being burned by the cold. I know because I went through lubes of lip balm because otherwise my lips would be cracking worse than the dried out river bed in the desert.

Tip: Bring a lot of warm clothing if you’re going to be in Ukraine because it gets freezing cold! I went biking with a local who was going to show me some of the better sights to Kiev but we did it at night. Haha. Yeah…. I had to wear anything and everything to stay warm. You might also want to eat more calories if you’re going to be outside for a period of time because your body will need the fuel to stay internally warm. It’s like loading up firewood for a fireplace – why walk outside every time to keep the fire going when you can pre-stage everything?

kiev biking faire du velo bicicleta montar Rad fahren at night nuit abend soir kiev city

Night rider. That’s me. Crazy enough to bike ride in 0 degree Celsius weather.

Still, Kiev is quite interesting when not considering the weather. Well, maybe, I should consider the weather because the Ukrainians have built a lot of great pieces of architecture that still stand all over the city. They built these amazing statues, churches, temples, bridges, buildings, etc. despite the cold and without the convenience and comfort of the modern world!

plaza ukraine capital hauptstadt platz

This is the Bohdan Khmelnytsky Monument with St. Sophia’s Cathedral in the background. The place where I was at, Sofiyivska Square, had a lot of people in it during the weekend.

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery blue church gold top

When I was biking, I stopped by this famed blue building called St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. You might see this on tour guide books, but it’s more impressive with all the lights at night… if you are willing to have the courage to fight the cold, chill, and wind.

night time Independence Square

I know the picture is a bit blurred but being there in person was a nice sight. Especially with the lights. This was from Independence Square. “They built this city on Rock and Roll!” Oops, probably not since Rock and Roll didn’t exist back then….

St. Nicolas Wondermaker on The Water Church on the river dneper

I was walking around and then I saw this…. a lighthouse or a church? It reminded me of Belem Tower in Lisbon. It’s actually called St. Nicolas Wondermaker on The Water Church. Interesting long name.

Tip: Try to learn some Russian before you come to the country because a lot of people (old and young) cannot speak English well. It kind of reminded me of being in a Latin American country where it’s all and only Spanish. It was like that fishing in Nicaragua where there aren’t any many tourists and if they were tourists, they’re also generally Spanish-speaking. Not many Englsh-speakers out there and there is no need for them to do so either.

ukraine food comida de ucrania essen aus l'ailments ukraine restaurant ukrainians

So I went to this one restaurant and man, they had great food. Ukrainian dumplings with sauce! However, unlike in other European countries when I went to order, the people don’t speak English. It’s all Russian or Ukrainian. I could speak enough Russian to where it was passable so they understood me. One old lady couldn’t understand me at all to where I switched to Spanish, then French, then German, before she said, “Speak Russian.” Okay, then! We have an agreement in judgment of a language. By the way, I really liked the food there as well!

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Copenhagen, Denmark – the expensive Nordic city… and country in general

They got money to burn! They got roads made of gold! And fantastic globs of meat and other wondrous foods to feast upon! Go to Denmark! Go to Copenhagen! They have gold linings that fill their pockets which are full of gold and wrists covered with Rolexes.

pier marina danes danish boats ships water agua barcos ferry

Not much to see here except the boats going in and out. Copenhagen is actually on an island, not on the mainland. The capital city and its downtown area just seems to be surrounded by water.

Yeah right, that was not the case for me out there when I visited Copenhagen, a damn pricey Danish city…. probably one of the cities and countries where I had to make funny faces of flinching every time I saw the price of something because I had to turn the mathematics gears in my clunker brain in order to do the currency conversion. And every time, there was an explosion of diarrhea surprise in finding out how damn expensive Copenhagen is! For an insane moment of inaccuracy, I really thought that the locals there were all mighty-fine rich. Well, not really… I guess they’re just used to such high prices and live with it.

copenhagen plaza city hall square rathaus

My first introduction to the city: the City Hall Square, after getting off the plane and taking the train into the city. Okay, so far, so good… until the prices just murder me and my poor wallet.

castle garden copenhagen downtown castillo

A nice view of this castle when walking in the city’s gardens. I didn’t want to go inside knowing that they’d want to buy my arm off or something.

danish castle palace royal royalty queen king prince princess

This is called Amalienborg. It’s also where the royal palace is. I think the royal family lives there unless they hide in the shadows to get away from peering eyes of the paparazzi.

Danish palace of royalty plaza platz

If you walk around, you’ll see Danish soldiers walking around as sentries. Kind of like the British guards in England, they are doing the same type of duty.

st albans church danish dane church

This is St. Alban’s Church, near the Star Fortress and the Little Mermaid. I’d have to say that both the fortress and little mermaid were just not that great. The little mermaid is just some bronze statue that wacky tourists just go there take a picture and then leave 10 seconds later. It really is worthless. I didn’t even take a picture at all cuz it sucked.

Tip: Try not to spend too much time in this city. Out of all the cities and countries that I’ve been to, Copenhagen and Denmark in general, was the priciest of them all – sucking all of my money into their coffers. Even a can of coke (330 mL) can knock you down 6 euros or close to 8 US dollars!

So what’s the verdict? Go back or no? It’s more of a maybe – it’s just a damn expensive place to be at. I did see from the outside that the Tivoli Gardens, which is an amusement park, was there but I decided not to go. When I went to Copenhagen, it was during the late winter and it was still cold! I don’t think riding a roller coaster was going to be that fun at all and I’m not even sure if they were operational. The park was open but I think the entrance fees were cheaper and it was more of a walk around park for spectators and photo grabbers.

Maybe this place might be better in the summer when the weather would be far warmer. But I highly doubt that the prices won’t go down. Like the temperatures in the summer time, the price tags also go up in cost.

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Lisbon, Portugal

So what kind of an idiot stays in his hometown until death in these modern times? And what kind of an idiot spends all of his money on stupid foolish stuff throughout his life that he dies as a modern day slave to being a beggar? It seems that the winds of persuasion have set sail throughout the world to convince them to have the energy to make trips to foreign lands at least once before they perish away. Some even make the pilgrimage to the after-world as they made that calculated decision to emigrate to these far-away lands for greener pastures.  The Portuguese were intent on making their mark on the world’s history as Lisbon happened to be one of those new life-launchpads after 1492, when Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. So many people traveled to the ports of Lisbon to make that eventual crossing into the unknown to mark their place in the world.

So I guess it’s time to execute the reverse landing onto that life-launchpad called Lisbon, another place that I’ve always wanted to go to even though it was just right there when I was in Costa del Sol. I was going to make my travel book marked off. Another place to see where the Brazilians gained a big part of their language, culture, societal norms, etc. from.

Jerónimos Monastery tumulo de luis de camoes portugal tourism turismo lisbon lisboa

Known as the Túmulo de Luís de Camões, it’s part of the famous Jerónimos Monastery. It’s quite amazing if you look closely at the details of this building.

Monument of the Discoveries discovery tower building white blanco edificio monumento lisboa

This is called Padrão dos Descobrimentos also known as the Monument of the Discoveries. It was built in honor of Prince Henry the Navigator even though the good prince wasn’t really a sailor.

Ferdinand Magellan monument of the discovery side view carvings

The side of the monument – I actually thought that this monument was built in honor of the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan who was the leader and organizer of the first circumnavigation of the earth even though Magellan died before completing the entire journey due to being chopped by island natives since he pissed them off.

Prince Henry the Navigator discovery monument 1930s lisbon tourist pier marina

The monument in the distance. This was part of the walking marina area where you can see another tower…

belem torre lisbon lisboa white tower

Walking from the Monument of the Discoveries will yield a tourist this sight of Belem Tower. It’s one of the more popular sights due to being a tower in the middle of the water.

belem tower on the water in en el agua encima

You can walk around the tower to see the other side which had far less tourists to mess up your grand attempt at getting the perfect photo opportunity. You can go into the tower, for a price. I don’t think you’ll see much though.

Tip: Speaking some Spanish can help as some of the older Portuguese are not that great at English. The younger generation can definitely speak English, but sometimes you just never know. Portuguese is not Spanish, but there are similar words which can make certain conversations easier.

big buffet food seafood mariscos plato comida portuguesa portugues portuguese food grub shrimps crab cangrejo camarones snails

The seafood should obviously be excellent in a seaport town like Lisbon. I had a gorging of the seafood prizes offered up in a restaurant. I must have spent 2 hours of stuffing myself since it took time cracking shells and breaking heads (shrimps) and tearing/peeling skin to get the fleshy meat.

Was Lisbon worth going? I think so – the food definitely made it worthwhile! But also I went there during the winter so having a change from cold, bitter storms harboring ice and snow to having sun and some clouds, calm winds, and an overall peace of mind of enjoying good weather was nice to have. Kind of like finding a 100 dollar bill or 100 euro bill in your pocket out of nowhere.

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Split’s Blue Cave

So I went on a speedboat that took blasting out of the gates of Split and off to the Blue Cave.

Well, that was interesting one…. the Blue Cave…

Blue Cave Croatia tourist site underwater cueva agua azul tour turismo

The boat driver actually told us that we have to duck our heads when we go in. It’s just a damn small hole that was made bigger by dynamite. I didn’t think we would fit but we did.

Beginning of blue cave

Well, there it is. Inside the Blue Cave. I didn’t think much of it.

blue cave rays of light rayas de azul

So how the boat driver explained it is that the sun’s rays go through underwater and reflect which creates this surreal blue color inside the cave. What used to be an amazing scuba diving spot is now made into this boating mass tourism blob.

Actually, I thought it was kind of a let-down as I was expecting a lot from it. And maybe it was because there was no scuba diving allowed that made it a bummer. Or the fact that there was just lines and lines of tourist flash mobs lining up to get on these smaller boats that would take us into this mystical Blue Cave. I don’t know. It was alright but nothing that amazing. I think it was just too hyped up if you ask me. It should be called the Big Blue Letdown.

I did get to see some other neat sites. The speed boat stopped by this one beach called Srebrna or Silver Beach. But again, it was just crowded with tourists looking to catch some rays even though I think they got enough Vitamin D for their skins.

silver beach hvar croatia beach Vis island isla croatian hidden secret

The entrance to Srebrna or Silver Beach. You can see tourists in the distance. They put up a rope so you have to swim from the boat to shore if you want to get to it.

underwater silver beach water agua bajo baja dentro de la playa olas pais croatia

Make sure you borrow some goggles or a mask so you can see underwater. The water is very clear like the previous day’s scuba diving.

pebble beach rocas de playa

And here’s what it looks like from the other direction. Notice that I did not take a picture of the other tourists in there because there were a lot. To me, the sheer volume of them just ruins the whole thing. Instead, imagine being there by yourself and no civilization around. Just you, an umbrella, some good books, cold drinks in an ice chest full of ice, food, and peace and quiet – nothing but the waves.

And the last stop was Hvar. The town is quite popular with tourists or I should say, the cruise boat passenger tourism mob that comes in with boat after boat to fill the streets of foreigners. Gave me the impression that it was like Cozumel all over again but this was more of a European flavor to it.

hvar croatia church iglesia plaza

This just sticks out right there. This place was like a combination of Greek and Italian architecture. It also gave me the impression of being in a desert climate, but with an oceanside attached to it.

hvar marina pier barcos boats tourism turismo

It’s a nice area…. if you walk around, there are many places to lounge around and soak up the sun’s rays like a dog.

Overall, it was a nice day to see something new but still, I should have just gone fishing out in Croatia and see what kind of fish I could have caught. It would be a first time in the Adriatic Sea… but I missed my chance because of some over-hyped location. Oh well, that’s life.

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