Thursday, June 1st, 2017 18:50
strangelover: (Україна)
[personal profile] strangelover
I'd loved Ukraine so much that I couldn't wait to go again, so I booked a week away, this time splitting my time between Lviv and Kyiv.


My flight was in the early afternoon and I arrived at KBP even earlier than expected and was through customs in a flash. I bought a SIM in the arrivals terminal, at ₴170 for 8GB & endless calls (both local and international) for a month, it was almost double the price it would have been in the store, but it was approximately the same as the fiver it would have cost me for roaming that day, so the convenience outweighed the cost. After that, I hopped on the Skybus and headed in to the city. The bus conveniently stopped at the main train terminal, where I was catching my train to Lviv later. But I was starving, so wandered off nearby to get a late lunch and did the second thing my Ukrainian ex had told me not to do in Kyiv (the first being not to get a SIM at the airport), by having sushi. I still had a couple hours to kill, so took my time, before making it back to the train station and waiting for it to arrive. I'd picked the first class sleeper carriage, which was small but cosy. I made up my bed and tried to get some sleep, as we sweated and trundled our way across the country.

Капли́ця Боїмів

Let me just stress, I'm not an early morning person, but we pulled into Lviv before 06:00. It was warm, but raining, I tried to freshen up in the bathroom, before finding a marshrutka that took me to the centre, where I found an incredibly empty Rynok Square, with nothing but a few old ladies sweeping the streets. At 07:00 a cute little cafe opened up, called Something Interesting, they played nice jazz records and the coffee was hot and strong, so I curled up and relaxed for a few hours. By 10:00 I was needing to stretch my legs and try to wake up a little, so walked around the square for a while, before grabbing some breakfast (soured cream pancakes!) and some tea, before heading over to check in to my apartment at Z-One. I was really impressed with it, huge, clean and well situated. I showered, then waited for the rain to ease before heading back out to explore Lviv. First stop was the Boim Chapel, a stunning monument in the Old Town. Then to Masoch-cafe, as writer (and kinkster!) Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was born in Lviv, it was a cute little bar, waitresses armed with floggers that they weren't afraid to use and suggestive art work and menu, though I was alone and this was definitely a place that would benefit from having good company. After that, I went to Staryi Royal for what was an incredible meal, before having an admittedly early nightcap at a bar, and then back to the apartment for some much needed sleep.

Львівська опера

I slept like a rock and thanks to the rainy weather, was happy to have a relaxed morning in the apartment, trying to figure out what to do with myself. I finally headed out for a coffee, then walked around Ivan Franko Park, some open air markets and then some lunch at a cheap local cafe (about one euro for my meal of beetroot salad, varenyky and juice), then on to Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture, which is a coffee lovers dream. I headed back to the apartment to freshen up before walking up to the opera house, where I was seeing Madame Butterfly that evening. The building is beautiful, and you get a free tour of the interior before being led to your seat. I'd picked the top tier, which was still only about ten euros, and the view was fantastic, and I really enjoyed the performance. Once that was over I returned to the bar I'd been at the night before, Libraria Speakeasy, which is tucked away, but well worth seeking out - for the great live jazz, as well as the fantastic cocktails on offer. Then, persuaded by the people I'd met in the bar, due to my cherry printed dress, I ambled over the the Drunken Cherry on Rynok Square, that serves one thing - cherry liqueur. It's quite a hot spot, and people were milling around on the street, as it's too small to fit many people inside, and had a nightcap.

Львівська майстерня шоколаду

I woke to sunshine, so got ready and headed out for a walk, before stopping at The House of Scientists, to wander around in there. It's a beautiful place, incredibly decked out with a grand set of stairs and huge fireplaces. Then I continued my walk around the city, making the most of the good weather. It seems in Lviv they like both their coffee and their alcohol strong, so I grabbed one of the former, as (for me) it was a little too early to indulge in the latter, even on holiday. Next up was lunch, an experience sadly marred by confusion and bad service, so I made way way over to Lviv Handmade Chocolate factory and cafe, and took in the amazing view from the rooftop before trying their chocolate tea. I made a pit stop at Drunken Cherry to get some liqueur to bring home, before grabbing a beer at Pravda Beer Theatre to just relax, people watch and enjoy the sunshine for a while. Then it was time for dinner, I went to Baczewski, ate some salad and varenyky, drank some cherry brandy and then considered the Strudel Haus next door for dessert, but I was far too full. Instead, I wandered around the square watching the street performers, there was some great stuff - some kids in a brass band, two electric violinists, some jazz musicians, a rock band and some very flexible breakdancers (though one looked so much like my ex it kind of freaked me out), before a final cocktail and back to the apartment to pack, ready to leave in the morning.

Залізничний вокзал «Львів-Головний»

Up early, I grabbed a coffee and then checked out of the apartment, taking a taxi to the station. I was booked first class on the intercity express train, a six hour journey to Kyiv. Upon arriving at my birth, the door was locked and I was asked if it was possible to move seats. I was hesitant, but agreed, only to discover my cabin-mates were a family who had speakers for music that was so loud I could still hear it over my noise-cancelling headphones, sprawled out leaving me little room. I gave up and insisted I take my original seat, settled in, enjoying the beautiful scenery we zipped past - many people tilling their fields, and miles of greenery and blue skies with giant fluffy clouds. I wished we could stop so I could take some decent photographs of it, but instead I made do with enjoying watching it from my seat, as I watched the documentary Winter On Fire about the Euromaiden Revolution, as we made our way to Kyiv...

Full set of photos here on Flickr (or you can look at just the pictures of Lviv).

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