The Lion Sleeps Tonight

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October 21st 2019
Published: November 11th 2019
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After our previous visit to the Masochist Bar, we spent part of Sunday evening in yet another one of Lviv's more unusual bars. There is no sign for Kryjivka. An unmarked passage leads from the Rynok or Main Square towards a bland looking door. Rap on the door and entry is by password only. A hatch opens and a grand fatherly figure in military gear demands the password. Glory to the Ukraine or Slava Ukraine sees the door opened and you are allowed entry. There is a further test. Russians are not welcome in this hotbed of nationalism. A nationality other than Russian entitled you to a small shot of vodka, before you are pointed down the stairs into the belly of the bar. The bar makes out that it is all cutting edge and secret, but most visitors seem to find their way to it at some point - even if they are just inside for a wander. You will normally see the queue snaking back out to the Square somewhere opposite the main Town Hall entrance. The bar is a cavernous maze of tunnels, which lead of in different directions towards various rooms. The lights are dim and the decorations are old military equipment. Banks of communications radios line the walls, the coats on the cloakroom areas are all combat jackets and rifles are propped up by the wall. Watch out for the shell casings that litter the floor. There is rumoured to be a firing range somewhere in the complex of rooms where you can take pot shots at Putin and his chums, but it remained elusive to us. The place was humming with people and is clearly one of the better business decisions in the whole city. The temperatures were a bit on the high side, so I suspect it could be a bit overpowering in the summer months. Food was available in the form of traditional Ukrainian fayre and musicians wander round with their accordions playing local music. We stayed for a beer. The bill arrived in an empty canon shell. I would say it is a must on your visit, even for a swift half.

The military theme had continued from Sunday morning. Lonsky Prison or as it is officially called, “The National Museum-Memorial of Victims of the Occupation Regimes”. The building complex was built in 1889, primarily used as the main
Lychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, Lviv

Polish Memorial
Police base for the then ruling Austro-Hungarians. The prison has become more associated with being the centre of political detention the Polish, Soviet and Nazi regimes. The museum was only open Tuesday to Friday and again on Sunday. It is best to check times, as they also close for lunch. When Polish territories were carved up by the Russians and the Germans in 1939, the Soviet NKVD used it as a centre for their suppression of Ukrainian nationalism. As the German forces moved on Lviv in 1941, the Soviets eliminated their prisoners with mass executions where 1000s were shot. The bodies were dumped in the adjacent prison yard. The exhibits are moving and well worth a visit. Admission free. The new German masters soon made capital of the Russian actions to try and bring the local population on side.

Lviv National Art Gallery lurks away in an old Palace below the Citadel area. The contents may or may not be fine, but they were off limits today. I only wanted to take of a photo of the Palace, but alas I was thwarted by a cheese and wine show. I guess that was a bit unlucky, as they are not going to be an everyday occurrence in these parts. One person's bad luck brings fortune to others. We finally let the Other Half loose in a cake heaven. We stumbled quite by chance on the Kawiarnia Mikolasha cafe, which is basically an old pharmacy converted into a coffee house and cake emporium. The counter display was impressive, so it was just a question of too many choices. The old pharmacy fittings were much in evidence and it had the feeling of old Vienna. If you are looking for a coffee and cake away from the Main Square, this should be top of your list. It wasn't expensive either.

We walked on back into the centre, where the Other Half had been keen to check out the Coffee Manufacture Mining Museum. It is a pretty unassuming building, that belies the huge expanse of space contained within and in the underground tunnels below. I was surprised to be in something akin to the No Russians Allowed bar described earlier, but this time it was all things coffee and not weaponry. The tunnels beneath go on for ages, but I remain puzzled why you would want to sit in the bowels of the building when there is a lovely courtyard upstairs towards the rear. Each to their own, I guess. We wandered around unmolested without any pressure to purchase and exited through the large shop. It was such a nice day, The Man in Middle and I decided that an alcoholic refreshment was in order, so we headed to the top of the old town where huge outside bars were the order of the day. The Memorial to the old Jewish synagogue flattened by the Germans in 1942 was opposite. We were treated to a bizarre exhibition by one of the few street dwellers we saw during our time in Lviv. He carefully selected a glass bottle found and sat meticulously rubbing the surface on the ground. Once satisfied with the end product, he poured a clear liquid from a plastic bottle into the glass one was drank the contents. He poured the final dregs into his ear, so we made the assumption that the liquid contained something a bit stronger than water. It was all too much for our man and he went for a lie down. We paid our bill and when our change didn't reappear on the assumption it was a tip, I went off in hot pursuit of the cash.

You might have noticed in amongst the photos for this trip, a few of wedding couples. The old town is full of couples wandering around with their wedding entourage, photographer in tow. It would be less surprising, if they all headed to the same church or monument as a backdrop. However, the choice of location in the old town seems random. I have a couple in a cafe having a cup of tea, another in a church courtyard and a bride throwing the train of her dress outside the entrance to an office block. The only other similar location with such a copious number of happy couples was in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.

Sunday lunch comprised of pierogi or as they call them in Ukraine, varenyky. I am particularly fond of these pasta parcels, which come with alsorts of fillings. In truth, we were at a complete loss with the cyrillic menu as we were in a locals restaurant just outside the city centre. We could see the picture on the sign outside suggesting that it solely served the said item, so we
Lychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, Lviv

Polish Memorial
had a stab in the dark. Each ordered a different dish, on the basis that we would get something tasty in the batch. It turned out that they all came with sour cream all were nice. The wheat beer was a bargain too, so it was a good choice all round. We set off into the suburbs for the 2nd football match of the trip.

The Skif Stadium was located near the end terminus of Tram 2 to the east of the city centre. It is the oldest of the major stadiums in the city and was developed in 1897 for the sports society of the Polish School. It was allegedly one of the best in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We were here to see Ukranian Division 2 football, so based on the events of yesterday following the crowds might not be an option. As it happened there plenty of people about, presumably tempted out for an afternoon in the sun by the competitive entry price - free. The resident club were Rukh Vynnyky, who seemed to have relocated to the city from their suburban home in a bid to gain support for a promotion charges to join the Premier
Lychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, Lviv

Ukrainian Memorial
League. I spied their sleek looking black and yellow team bus reversing into one end of the Skif, so we wandered in behind it. The ground was sunk into a hillside with a car park at one end and a huge grass bank at the other. The spectator accommodation was down either side. The main stand was half seats and half office block. A renovation project for Euro 2012 had added new changing facilities, media rooms and offices, most of which now seemed unused. The shallow side of seats in the shade was overlooked by some posh villas probably occupied in the day by the local top dogs in the Communist party. The Rukh team were chatting to people outside the changing rooms and a small souvenir stand was being set up at the back of the Main Stand. Pin badges were a no, but Rukh do a very nice line in small fridge magnets in both home and away colours. As I said, entry was free. However obviously clued up up that foreign visitors like a match ticket or other proof of just being there, an entry ticket was handed over to add to the fridge magnet haul. The Man in the Middle will no doubt see it flashed up on his Facebook in 5 years time to remind him of the good times of yesteryear. We ventured back to the main road in search of refreshments. As at Karpaty yesterday, bars were in short supply. A small supermarket with a mini cafeteria and outdoor seating area provided alternative. The Other Half had a coffee and we raided the fridge. I had come prepared today. The bottle opener was employed to allow us to choose the cheaper local beer and not the Russian brands with the twist off tops. We sat in the sun with our drinks. Fortunately, we had almost finished by the time we were advised by the shop manager that alcohol was not allowed to be consumed in the outdoor seating area. There was probably a sign in cyrillic, but it obviously passed over our heads. We moved into the ground, where a beer stall had now been established. Service was best described as slow. There were 2 servers and just 1 pump. The locals waited patiently, as though they had seen it all before. An opportunity to make money was drifting by, as kick off
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Tram ticket clipper machine
loomed. We secured our beers and went to find a seat in the shade.

The football in Division 2 proved no more attractive than the big "derby" the previous day. The competition in this league is too close to call with just a couple of points separating the top 8 sides. The prospect was then that we had two very evenly matched teams, both of which seemed unadventurous and unwilling to take a risk. The minutes dragged on. Half time came and went. The Other Half gave the half finished toilets a big thumbs up, but realistically there was no chance of the facilities not being an improvement on those at Karpaty (where the nostrils were in for a tricky few minutes). The Skif facilities were still a work in progress and judging by the empty vodka bottles in the gents, the builders had clearly had other priorities on Friday afternoon other than completing the job. We look at the history of the ground, the quirkiness of the stands or floodlights and the like. The Other Half however is monitoring the conveniences in a bid to shame all other clubs into bringing them to Legia Warsaw standards. Karpaty - take note! Hajduk Split can breathe easier, now that Karpaty have moved into last place. We relocated to the Main Stand, although seemed to upset some locals by sitting in seats that they perceived were under their ownership. We relocated again and suffered the same fate. It was all very odd, as they did not even move into the said seats once we had vacated. We approached 90 minutes with still no goals or the likelihood of one. When all was lost, the home team made a decisive move and slammed home a left foot shot from 20 yards. 1-0. Rukh ended victorious. The opposition could contemplate their lack of ambition on the 370 mile trip home. Ukraine is a big place!

There aren’t many cities that claim one of their top tourist attractions is a cemetery. Buenos Aires perhaps? The Lychakiv Cemetery near the end of the Tram 1 line is officially State History and Culture Museum-Preserve Lychakiv Cemetery. It was laid out as long ago as 1787. It was used by all faiths. The cemetery is split into various sections with some areas mainly occupied by the upper classes of society and near the back away from the road lies the military section. Here, members of the Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and even those with connections to the SS Galicia Division are laid to rest with separate memorials. Up to 1975 when listed status was afforded, a great many graves and memorials were lost or damaged. However, reconstruction started in earnest thereafter and now it is truly impressive array. The pick is probably the Polish Eaglets section – the graves of the young Polish soldiers from between the World Wars. At one point, the Russians were using this bit as truck depot.

After our cemetery excursion, we let the Other Half indulge in more cake. The Lviv Handmade Chocolate Cafe in the old town looks like no more than a small cafe and shop from street level. However, don't be fooled. The building is a bit of a tardis...... it keeps going up. More steps to climb. The top opens on to a terrace with a view of the roof tops every bit as good as the House of Legends. If you think about it, you are working off the calories before you order the cake. After a brief stop in town to add to the fridge magnet collection, we climbed back through the Ivan Franko Park to the Dnister Hotel. The leaf blowing g operatives were once again stuck into their impossible task. The Dnister Hotel sits at the top of the park. It looks like a former hotel from the Communist times, that has had a good makeover and seemed popular with tour groups and the conference market. The top floor holds a secret. The panoramic bar has a seriously good view of the city and for a top notch hotel prices are very reasonable. At 35 Hyrvina for a pint, it was nearly half the price of the more tourist locations in the old town. We occupied a booth and gazed out with our refreshments. If you venture to the toilet, probably the best view of St George's Cathedral is available. The service was first rate too and non-judgmental - there are many 5 star places that would have turned their noses up at us, but the Hotel Dnister seemed glad of the business. We were so comfortable in our new abode, we returned later for a night time view of Lviv and some food. Once again, the prices were competitive and the Man in the Middle got quite into pressing the device on the table to attract the waiter. It must have been good. The Other Half even consented to more walking, even though her stepometer suggested she had covered 31.5 miles since we landed. The Lviv experience over, we caught the 29 bus back to the airport in the morning.

Appendix 1

Ukraine Persha Liga

Rukh Vynnyky 1 Inhulets 0

Date: Sunday 20th October 2019 @ 1630 Hours

Venue: Stadium Skiff, Lviv, Ukraine

Attendance: 3,400

Scorer: Klymvhuk (Rukh) 91 Mins

Rukh: Mysek, Nemchanonov,Zastavnyi, Duts, Nykytyuk, Manushka, Boychuk, Kaliuzhnyi, Kopyna, Klymchuk, Nyarko

Inhulets: Shust, Kovalev, Kucherenko, Balan, Fateev, Pavlov, Elia, Klymenko, Zaporozhets, Mishurenko, Sitchinava

Additional photos below
Photos: 96, Displayed: 32


Lychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, Lviv
Lychakiv Cemetery, Lviv

Polish Memorial
St George's Cathedral, LvivSt George's Cathedral, Lviv
St George's Cathedral, Lviv

The view from the loo - Dnister Hotel
Lychakiv Cemetery, LvivLychakiv Cemetery, Lviv
Lychakiv Cemetery, Lviv

Polish Memorial
Rukh Vynnyky 1 FK  Inhulets 0Rukh Vynnyky 1 FK  Inhulets 0
Rukh Vynnyky 1 FK Inhulets 0

SKIF Stadium, Lviv

18th November 2019

Great album, awesome cemereries!

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