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Day One

19 November, 2016

We survived our first day on our own in Lviv!

We got into Lviv yesterday afternoon - after one of the most gruelling trips I’ve ever taken.

We got to Logan around 11 AM, had a “quick” layover in Washington DC, flew to Munich, and then finally made it to Lviv - at 2:30PM the following day. Seriously. It was absolutely terrible. Thankfully, there were no issues with the luggage or anything. That would have totally broken my spirit and made me cry.

As it was, I was already having panic attacks about not being fluent in the language.

Our tour guide, Богдан, was totally awesome. He picked us up in a van with a “Fuck You Putin” bumper sticker. My first five minutes in Ukraine, and I’m being greeted by my most favourite word… Brilliant! (I can’t even describe how terrible the drivers are here. There were several times when I felt very lucky that I survived.)

We checked into the hotel and rested for a bit. The room is absolutely beautiful. It has a kitchenette, an amazing shower, and a view of an Irish Pub. I’m still giggling about the pub.

Then, Богдан took us on a really quick walking tour of Lviv. I attempted to speak Ukrainian with him and was told I wasn’t as terrible as I thought I was. (WOO!) We stopped at a place to get a burger, and um, that wasn’t a burger. Whatever it was, it was tasty, though.

Today, we went on the Wonder Train tour. They had an English recording and a Ukrainian recording - I tried to listen to both, with mixed results. Then, we wandered around the city with a private tour guide. She was very knowledgeable, but she kept wanting to “introduce us to peculiar things”, and I totally wanted to quote the Princess Bride: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. She did show us a Jewish restaurant where there aren’t any prices on the menu. You have to negotiate the price of your meal and if you say you don’t have any money, they’ll ask you to do things, like literally sing for your dinner. I can’t wait to have an entirely free day to wander around and spend more time at the various sites…

After that tour, we were on our own. I’m not going to lie - I was a little afraid to not have Богдан with us. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to read the signs or talk to people.

We went to lunch at the Vienna Coffeehouse. Дуже смачно! I was able to talk to the server and order my food. I had the chicken with apples in a cream sauce. Holy cow! I didn’t think it was going to taste as good as it did. We walked around a bit looking for a cafe I’d been told to eat at and didn’t find it. However, we did stop at Lviv Handmade Chocolate (so that I could taste test the souvenirs I’m bringing back to my coworkers) and then we went to Світ Кави for a coffee. I successfully understood how much the chocolate was and was able to order my coffee to go and tell the barista that I didn’t want sugar. It seems stupid, but…

With all the problems I’ve had memorising vocabulary, this is huge for me. 

And - the best place Богдан took us - the Lviv Coffee Manufacture! We had what I’ve been calling blowtorch coffee.

No. Seriously. Watch this:

Blow.Torch. Coffee.

 

Filed under: Culture, Food, Language, Travel, Ukraine

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