Published: July 17th 2011April 29th 2011
Unfortunately the bus from Warsaw to Lviv in Ukraine wasn't nearly as pimped out as my previous ride to Riga. A good night's sleep was already a rarity on this trip, and it remained just as elusive for me and James on this overnight journey with its numerous passport checks. It could have been worse though, as demonstrated by one poor bastard who was slowly unpacking a small lorry-load of carrots at 2am for inspection.
Upon arrival at the Lviv bus terminal it was immediately apparent that we were, well, somewhere else. Somewhere different. I felt the slight electricity of culture shock, my senses awakening as alert levels switched over to Defcon 3
. I would liken this sensation to being alive
While a magnificent looking building in itself, the terminal surroundings were somewhat chaotic, and we were greeted by the grimy faces of begging children as we exited the bus. We were just here for the day, so had to organise luggage storage and train tickets to Kiev that night. No shower for us today, but it didn't really matter - I'd already lost my soap dish in the shower back in Riga anyway. (If you're still keeping score,
Our breakfast menu...
So you can see what we had to contend with! Yes, there are occasional pictures, but they didn't really help...
that's Jet Lag: 3, Clayton: 0) Although it was only 6:30am the terminal was already awash with people, and we tried our best to ignore a whole family of rather arrogant gypsy beggars whilst attempting to make sense of the nonsensical information signs. It would have been really handy at this point to know that "Train to Kiev" in Russian is actually "Поезд в Киев".
With our sleeper train tickets successfully purchased and luggage hopefully not on its way to Siberia, we headed off to see what this town was made of. As it turns out it certainly wasn't lacking its own kind of charm. I particularly loved all the old cars, which only enhanced the illusion that we'd stepped back in time. We stopped for a much needed breakfast and laughed at our inability to discern anything from the Russian/Ukranian menu. Eventually we opted for the "point randomly at things" tactic, albeit with a bit of assistance from some nearby travellers who thankfully provided clues as to where the bacon and eggs were hiding.
It's time for an Eastern European girls update, and I can happily conclude that the female variety of Ukranians indeed live up to
all the hype. Our cameras were in overdrive as everything suddenly became photo worthy, and we quickly accosted a small gaggle of them for a group photo too - I'll let the pictures do the talking here anyway!
We spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the sights, like the cathedrals and castle, and walking to the highest point for some scenic views. All very vibrant and interesting places, probably more so because it seemed like a bit of a student town with the university nearby. People watching was awesome here, and not just for reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph. Most worthy of note was a beggar scooping up all the coins from a fountain with a scoopy device (tm), and also a lady pushing a pig in a pram(!!). Yes, there are photos of this! As happening as it all was, we actually ran out of things to do and ended up taking a much needed nap on the grass in front of the university.
Then it was back to the train station and onwards to Kiev, home of the chicken dish with the same name. Or at least we hoped it was. Mmmmm chicken
There are more photos below