When David arrived in Warsaw, he rapidly asked for East… As if crossing Europe from West to East was not enough, he was wandering about Belarus, Ukraine and Romania, etc. He was curious about these countries that are un(mis)known in Western countries. At the beginning, he was a bit surprised that his enthousiasm was not shared by his polish friends. But he understood quite fast that polish history is not old and still fresh. For polish, going to East, it is like going to the past, to the communism, to the sovietism. Things change and evolve but no matter, people want to look at West….
East, a boarder still real
Around Warsaw, distances are not short and transports are not always fast. David had to wait almost a year to see his wish realized…
The opportunity showed up for Easter with a weekend to Lviv, Ukrainian city at the boarder with South-East Poland, close to the Carpates mountains. In bus, no more than 6h, a line going by night, well, a beautiful program in perspective!
Once we left Warsaw, we got a surprise that we did not expect at all. Ukraine is not a part of European Union and even less Schengen area. You have to cross the border and that is not easy. We had to wait 2 hours in each side… So from the 6 hours expcted at the beginning, we got 10h way to reach Lviv… As we don’t want to leave any suspence, the way back was even worst due to traffic prevention… When you think that is the same time to fly to Reunion Island...
A city with scars from the past
We spent 3 days in Lviv, a perfect length to visit the city and the close surroundings. Lviv is a charming city especially with a quite a large old town. The architecture is harmonious and well conservered. There are nice musuems, nice churches and cathedrals. We are won over.
From our cute flat rented on B&B, we went to visit the main touristic points of the city: the Armenian church, the Opera, the University, the Cathedral of Holy Communion, thz City hall… In April, the temperatures are fresh but it did not disturb us from a nice walk in the little streets, between cafés and restaurants…
The Lviv Opera is a historical monument from the end of the 19th century. We went for the “corsair”. A ticket costs 3€ in Orchestra place for a beautiful performance.
Coincidence or just an ode to art?
What really impressed us in our wanders are the artists in the streets. Mainly musicians, we got dumbstruck from such talent. Whatever violin, guitar, band or unidentified instruments, it is just wonderful… We still don’t know whether Ukraine is an amazing musician fabric or it was just a coincidence...
This short stay in Ukraine also gave us the opportunity to visit a skansen, an open-air museum. Concept quite famous in this part of Europe (Poland included), Skansen is a parc with different buildings (churches, houses, workshops, etc) showing the history of the region through architecture, culture, people, etc… With a blue sky, it is a really nice walk, very instructive about Ukraine and traditions.
Finally, I couldn’t conclude this article about Lviv without saying a word about Food. First of all, prices in Ukraine are still low (even from Polish perspective) which means that going for restaurant can easily lead to you to spend only 7 or 8 euros for 2 people with drinks and food. The served quantity is often huge and tasty. We loved it (especially for the tasty).
Lviv and creativity: an inspiring cocktail for dreamers like us
Secondly, Lviv is plentiful of beautiful and nice places. For all our stay, we've been in such great and inspiring cafés. From the one where coffee is made from warm black sand, the other one about cherry vodkas onlys (in the style of Lisbon cherry bar), another one showing postal cards from old Ukraine... The way how the places are set, the atmosphere, are just great. We fell very good and very inspired for our place in the future.
We finally appreciated our visit in the different local markets spread everywhere in the city. Most of time, old women are selling their own product, homemade, grown in their garden. The products look great, tasty and naturel. We even brought back cottage cheese and cold meat in Warsaw. But it was also great to discuss with and share a piece of their like. These women often speak polish as this ukrainian region has been moving in the time between Poland and Ukraine.