Lviv, day 6
My last full day in Lviv started with me getting two hours of sleep. But I was going to make the most of it no matter what! I left Kate’s to start my day with the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at Baczewski. You walk in anytime starting at 08:00 and pay for your meal voucher with the hostess (₴9). Breakfast service ends at 11:00, so allocate enough time to enjoy yourself!
After you walk down the hallway and pass the wooden spiral staircase, you’ll come upon the greenhouse area where breakfast is served. Immediately on your right after you open the glass door to the greenhouse is a display of glass bottles. I believe they used to hold the Baczewski family’s vodka.
You can order coffee and eggs with cheese or bacon from the waiters standing near the entrance. In the buffet line, there’s a cook ready to pan-fry your choice of pancakes. I liked the chicken and mushrooms one so much that I went back for a second. The rest of the selection was made up of salad and fixings, pastries, cold cuts of meat and cheese, desserts, fresh fruit, hot tea, two kinds of juice, champagne, and vodka. A live pianist played familiar covers while three canaries and one parakeet sang along when they fancied. I spent two hours enjoying the atmosphere and day-drinking.
As I was begrudgingly leaving the restaurant, I noticed that the next-door Apple reseller had taken advantage of the construction happening next to it and painted a humorous tribute to Newton and Jobs.
I spent a few hours at a bookstore with a second floor reading room catching up on my blog. I’m sure they were sick of me by the time I left. It wasn’t the absolute perfect place since there weren’t many power outlets around, but it was quiet and relatively ergonomic.
Oleh, whom I met up with on Friday, found me at the bookstore just after 15:00, and we went to Lviv Handmade Chocolate’s secondary location nearby. It was not crowded at all, unlike the one smack dab in city center. One of the staff was even sitting in the front window quietly copying a picture of a building onto a slab of chocolate.
He bought a few chocolate bars for me to take to his friend in Istanbul. (I had to rein in his enthusiasm for buying more than I could carry in my poor little 25L backpack.) Afterwards, we sat down to enjoy some hot chocolate (₴40) and drinking chocolate (₴43). I thought they did an excellent job of spicing the hot chocolate.
He’d contacted Ann, who would be facilitating the English speaking club meeting at 18:00. She was free and happy to meet up with me before the event. Oleh left us around 16:00 to go to work. (He’s leaving for Odessa in the evening!) Ann and her friend Roxy visiting from Kiev received me and walked me to the nearest Puzata Hata. They weren’t actually hungry for savory food: they just wanted dessert. I, however, knew that this would probably be dinnertime for me, so I tried some dishes that I didn’t get to in Kiev (only ₴62). As an aside, Ann finally solved the mystery that had been plaguing me since Kiev about the weird savory cake. Of all things, it is a cabbage cake!
Ann and Roxy spent most of the time talking to each other in Ukrainian. Their friend Yura (George) came to join us in the middle. I occasionally interjected and asked about them. Ann is a second-year law student who wants to specialize in corporate law, Roxy is majoring in French and German, and Yura is studying applied mathematics. They found it amusing to hear the handful of Ukrainian phrases I’d learned. Yura left after chatting with them for a while, and the three of us departed soon after to wander around Ivan Franko Park.
Ann spent most of our walk sharing her extensive knowledge of Ukrainian history, including Galicia and how Ukraine was split up into two countries, Grand Ukraine (east) and Small Ukraine (west). It seems kind of like the east-west divide of Germany. The Cossacks originally helped the Polish fight off the Turkish/Tartars but realized they could be their own country. Eventually, they signed an agreement with Russia to help keep the Polish out and to keep Ukraine a separate country. But the original agreement was eventually lost, and the Russian empire annexed Ukraine to obtain new territory.
She is also very proud of Ivan Franko, known as the genius of Ukraine. He knew 16 languages, was a poet and scientist, worked as a journalist in Poland and talked about Ukraine abroad, and grew up in a small village as the son of a smith. He acted as a bridge between the two Ukraines when they were divided, and his wife was from Kiev, so their marriage was like a symbol of reunification.
Dennis from Hawaii, Michael from Poland, and I were the foreign guests at the speaking club. Ann, Khrystyna, Andrey, Serhiy, Maria, and Olha were the locals. The last two are friends, but Maria is really shy. Serhiy didn’t speak up much either despite the fact that he visited California earlier this year. Dennis is (probably) retired since he spends his springs and falls on a boat off the Greek coast, then drives around Europe in his Saab that he bought in Poland during the summer and rents out his boat. In winters, he goes back to Hawaii. He’s turned out to be really good at making sweeping generalizations based on gender and race. He has residency in Nevada to avoid paying Hawaiian state taxes. He was also long-winded and enjoyed hearing his own voice.
The topic was fashion, and Anya did a good job facilitating. She even brought questions and small group activities to do. I was paired with Maria and assigned the topic of the pros and cons of online shopping, but since I discovered that she doesn’t do any online shopping, I tried to change the topic to something more familiar to her. Her mom has been making clothes for her entire family for at least ten years, but Maria still goes to shopping centers to get certain things about once every two months. I thought this would be a great chance for her to compare and contrast homemade clothing versus purchased clothing, but it was very difficult for her to grasp the concept of the assignment. Even when I tried to prompt her during the presentation, she decided to cut it short and skip any discussion of her visits to shopping centers. Oh, well. I tried to help!
Afterwards, I went to meet with Kate and Roman in front of the Taras Shevchenko statue. Then we walked to Kavalerka to join Oleh, Katrin, Maryna, and Stan. It was nice to see everyone together on my last night in Ukraine. Roman told me that the name of the cafe/bar is a play on the Lviv slang word for bachelor pad. All they did was color “kava” differently from the rest of the word since it means “coffee”.
Roman called a taxi and shared it with me and Kate so that we could get home after 22:00 when the buses quit running as frequently. We arrived around 23:30 and said bye to Roman. He’s planning to visit San Francisco for a couple of days in the winter time, but I’ll still be traveling, then in APAC. He’ll try to get in touch with his friends in Czech Republic to see if they can meet up with me.