Trip to Lviv

Early in the morning, I caught the sunrise from Alesia’s window. It was a nice farewell from Kiev. Larisa brought a bunch of fresh basil yesterday, but Alesia doesn’t like the flavor. I cooked scrambled eggs with it, and she enjoyed that. I hope she gets the opportunity to use the basil cooked instead of fresh!

Last morning in Kiev

For lunch, I went to Puzata Hata per Andrey’s recommendation. There’s a location directly across from the Pivdenny Railway Station, in front of which the Sky Bus stop is. The buffet line was a bit of a madhouse with some people cutting in front of others who were clearly there before them. None of the staff spoke English, and none of the dishes had English labels. But one woman in line helped translate what was in the three varenyky options: potato, meat, and cherry. I don’t even know exactly what I got, but it all cost less than US$4 and was more than what I could eat. I took my leftovers to go for the plane ride.

Too much food for very little money

The bus to the airport took about an hour, including a 15-minute stop somewhere relatively close to the airport to pick up more passengers. (It seemed like an odd place to do that.) When I arrived at the airport, I couldn’t find where my check-in counter was, but I realized pretty quickly that domestic check-in counters were downstairs.

Even with my initial confusion, from stepping foot into the airport to sitting down in the shared waiting area in front of my gate, it took less than 20 minutes. Our flight was delayed by 30 minutes, but Roman and Eugene came to pick me up from the Lviv airport anyway. It was completely overhauled since the last time I was here in 2008, thanks to Euro 2012. The first advertisement I saw before stepping out of the secure area was for SoftServe, which was where we headed.

Hitting it hard

Eugene went back to work soon after we parked, and Roman took me to a nearby coffeeshop and roaster owned by one of his friends. It’s a cool spot with some large tables for groups and power outlets for people to hang out and work. Roman treated me to a Guatemalan coffee brewed with a Chemex (₴37). The barista confirmed whether I knew what I was ordering since coffee brewed this way usually doesn’t taste as strong, but I like it that way in the afternoon.

Afternoon coffee

Not very far on our way into city center, we immediately ran into whale graffiti.

A whale of a tale

We stopped by Les Kurbas Theatre to see what their show schedule is, but they don’t start the new season until 14 August. It’s too bad since I was curious about seeing “King Lear” in Ukrainian.

British Council in Ukraine

At Dzyga, we admired their current art exhibit “Veterans”, which featured 20+ portraits of (and accompanying quotes from) different war survivors from all over the world, including Austin, TX.

In their bar, we sat down for some apricot cider (₴30 for 0.5L) and pastirma (₴45), and we talked about the start-up scene in Lviv, how challenging it is to get into, and how rare it is for the original founders to continue working on them once they get funding or are acquired. I also asked about how Lviv was impacted by the most recent revolution, and thankfully, it wasn’t as badly hit as Kiev. There was one night (now called the Night of Anger) when the citizens of Lviv sacked police stations all over the city. In the five days that followed, civilian patrols guarded the city, and there was hardly any crime. Even taxi drivers used their radios to report suspicious activity.

Yummy apricot cider Never had this before: too salty

Roman called a taxi over the phone to take us to Kate’s place. She wouldn’t be home till after 22:00, so she left a set of keys at a nearby kiosk for me to pick up. Once we were able to unlock the front door, I said good night to Roman since he had to get home to his wife, and I hung out in the living room and chilled with Christopher the Ferret until she got home. When Kate got back, she gave me a grand tour of her cozy apartment and set up the comfy sofa bed for me. Thanks, Kate!

Adorable, dramatic ferret Christopher Comfy sofa bed in the living room

Written on August 3, 2016