After another long day wondering around Kiev I got the night train (ten hours for $10)to Lviv. I was in a four birth compartment with three others, A young female who had just finished her eighth exam at a university in Kiev. She has been studying both economics and law. She was on her way home to Lviv with her boyfriend, the second occupant of the compartment. Lastly there was Taras, he is a graduate working for Proctor and Gamble as a salesman. He was also on his way home on expenses of course.
One of the areas he covers is Chornobyl. Working for P & G I am sure you can make your own joke up !!!. The reason I know all this information is that we all spent the best part of four hours chatting (all in English) about each other, Ukraine, Great Britain, travelling (that would be me then) and the world and everything else. At one point Taras and the female (I did not get her name … yes I know) were having a chat between themselves in English not Ukrainian, with me and her boyfriend just listening, very odd indeed.
They all want to come to London because they think it is fantastic and there is lots of money to be had, which may explain a thing or two. Once I I told them the prices of an underground ticket (they pay 6p the same for buses and trolleybuses), a packet of cigarettes, a beer, a bottle of vodka (very important that one) and a litre of petrol, they were having second thoughts.
Taras pointed me in the right direction once we got to Lviv station (arriving exactly on time at 06:07). The luck continues. What are the chances of meeting three Ukrainians who all speak perfect English and want to chat, happen to be going to Lviv and on this train ???.
Lviv itself is very different from Kiev, for a start most people speak Ukrainian and not Russian. I know it sounds very odd but that is just the way the eastern and western sides of the country work. Lviv has a central European feel to it, similar in some respects to Krakow in Poland, after all the border is not far away. It is quite small for such an important city, but it does make getting around a lot easier. Lviv has lots of fifteenth and sixteenth century buildings for me to take photos of. It was not flattened, during WWII unlike Kiev that was.
There are quite a few internet cafes in Lviv, it is just a case of finding them. Most are just separate rooms on different floors in large anonymous, unsigned, indistinguishable buildings or towerblocks. There is nothing like a challenge.
As for food, I can heartily recommend the veal with prunes and rice with Bulgarian peppers. Oh yes, and the Borsch.
It time to go now. Several beers and a cigar await as well as more food
Until I stumble upon the next cafe.