I am now in Chernivtsi after an overnight train from Lviv. I left on time at 21:40 and arrived smack on time this morning at 08:50.
Lviv was superb, the three degrees and fine drizzle all day on Tuesday made way for clear blue sky yesterday. It is surprising what a difference it makes. It is a very pleasant and relaxed city. Lots of 16th century buildings around the main square and some reasonable museums.
One surprise so far has been the food. It of a very high standard, everybody wants to make their Borscht the best, so they try that little bit harder. The meat and fish (pan fried Sturgeon steaks) are just superb. As for the beer 17% and very tasty. They also drink lots of tea with no milk, just a slice of lemon.
Lviv is very, very proud of it’s independence. They only speak Ukrainian here and look down on anybody speaking Russian. Their resistance movement fought both the Germans and the red army at the same time. The Ukraine independence movement was started here and it is the home of nationalism. The western part of Ukraine want to be closer to Europe and the east wants to be closer to Russia. It may split in the future like Czechoslovakia.
I met up again with Taras (from the Kiev to Lviv train journey) yesterday afternoon and evening. We covered a number of the sites I had not seen but spent a lot of time chatting about life in our respective countries and the similarities and differences. I gave him even more “real information” on London, Crap public transport, expensive, dirty, dangerous etc. He was very surprised.
He also told me that when he went to the hotel I was stopping at to leave me a message on where we should meet up. The hotel receptionist told him about me in the following Ukrainian terms ” He’s what … on his own … in Ukraine … with no support … he must be ****ing mad”. Enough said.
Needless to say I got the mandatory call from the Underworld as soon as I got in my hotel room on Tuesday evening. “Hello Martin, you want ladies in room”. A quick “NO” put them right and they never bothered me again. I suspect the same will happen tonight in the hotel. It is unnerving when it first happens but quite funny after that because you know it will happen it is just a case of when. Well at least you know sombody is keeping an eye on you…..even if it is the underworld