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Published: October 23rd 2019
A compulsory element of any trip is a journey by train. This morning we are travelling from Kyiv to Lviv. It’s an early start to get into town for a 6 am departure.
The train is way nicer than in the UK; it’s extremely clean and modern with tv screens and a trolley service with excellent sandwiches (chicken, cheese, pickled cucumber and dill mayonnaise – a winning combination).
The journey to Lviv takes 5 hours. There’s some initial jostling over the blind; the person in front thinks it should be closed. She’s wrong. Half the fun of a train ride is watching the world go by, so it’s not a battle I’m going to lose. I win (obviously) and get to enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the city before we plunge into the forest.
5 hours later we arrive in Lviv. It’s very different from Kiev with its modern buildings and skyscrapers. In Lviv the old buildings and cobbled streets give a sense that it’s been plucked from a previous century and dumped in 2019. Once part of Poland until it was gifted to Stalin by Hitler, Lviv has an eclectic border town feel.
From the station
you have to run a gauntlet of hawkers and beggars as you pick your way carefully across broken cobbles towards the city.
We head first for Lvivarniya; a centuries old brewery, now owned by Carlsberg. Downstairs is a museum and upstairs is a tasting room, where for about £1 you get 4 generous measures to sample. After 2 rounds of beer on little sleep and no lunch, we stagger our way to our hotel.
Something Hotel No 10 neglects to mention is that it’s on the 4th floor (101 stairs) and there’s no lift. We climb to reception, check in and descend again in search of food.
It’s a lovely sunny afternoon so we settle ourself in the outside seating of a Polish restaurant and order our meal.
Lviv is packed with buskers and literally the worse singer ever, armed with a microphone and accompanied by some woman randomly whacking a drum to no apparent rhythm, starts to crucify the complete works of the Beatles right next to our table. It’s briefly amusing trying to identify the song but the amusement soon wears off and I just want it to stop. In addition, the restaurant staff
are constantly coming outside to smoke by our table.
I try to move inside but a fierce waitress says it’s not possible until we’ve finished eating what we already ordered as it will confuse the kitchen. There is a long debate. My main points; 1) the chef knows where I’m sitting, he’s already smoked 2 cigarettes over my head and 2) why would we want to sit in a restaurant when we’d finished eating all our food? Her main point; rules are rules. We are still arguing when our waiter appears with our starters. It’s a mountain of wooden platters and earthen pots. I can see his hands starting to shake and the old man’s soup spilling so I give up and return outside.
My cheese platter comes with 16 pieces of cheese and two crackers. I eat two cheese and crackers then sit wondering whether I can face another encounter over the two crackers per plate rule. I am given two pieces of bread – one with chilli and one with ginger and grape. The food is delicious. It’s a shame the service leaves a bad taste.
For main course I have a ‘burger’. This is
a lamb patty with lettuce, tomato and pickles sandwiched between two… potato pancakes. It comes in a bell jar and as the waiter removes the jar, he swings it round a few times waft the burger aroma, almost taking my eye out in the process.
We finish eating. The busker is singing ‘knocking on heaven’s door’. He doesn’t know the lyrics so just sings the same 4 words over and over and over. I’ve had enough and flee the restaurant leaving the old man to deal with the noise and the bill.
Tot: 2.34s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 8; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0429s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb