PC538 Lviv 20-7/9/09
Summary
- I spent 2 weeks in Lviv recovering from illness and trying to work out what to do. I think I will have to go back to UK soon and have some proper medical tests. Then if I want to leave I can go somewhere warm before it gets too cold. I was afraid to leave Lviv as where to go next that is not expensive. Eventually I worked out that Krakow is one night away and there are many not that expensive hostels and then I can work things out from there.
- It's funny as I stay here the Ukrainian money keeps dropping in value so it keeps getting cheaper.

- Lviv is the old historic town of Poland - It's OK, but when I arrived in the historic Polish town of Krakow I realised that Lviv is nothing special really.

Fri - tourist in Lviv

- Background
- lviv-online.com
- lvivtoday.com.ua
- inyourpocket.com Lviv

I did the main tourist stuff starting off with the Lonely Planet walking tour. Upto old castle viewpoint. Finished in Rynok Square and up the Town Hall Tower. Then past the university and upto top floor cafe of The Dinister Hotel. Great views ; thanks to CSer David Gallo for this tip.

- There I metup with David Gallo, but he only had a 1 hour break between classes.

- Later I was at the International Folk Music Festival stage in the main square : some Sikh bangra music and Macedonian dance.
- Met up with David and 2 Italian CSers later.

Sat - Cs Meetup
- First thing is I had to change hostel cos it's a public holiday on Monday. Independence fom Soviet day. I hate public holidays, but I hate flag waving nationalism even more.

- Walked to Science Library and Jewish hospital, but Jewish centre was closed cos it's Saturday.

- I saw from the CS Lviv group that T Moussy the French organiser of the Kyev language exchange club was organising a meetup. Unfortunately it was a bit last minute organised so we didn't get any Ukranians. I brought John from Ireland and the 2 Italian guys and Moussy brought along 6 or 7 French guys mostly volunteering on Jewish history projects.

Sun- Lychakivske Cemetery
- this was a bit boring. Yeh 2000 Polish graves etc. Went to historical building museum outside. I went to the main square where a techno folk group were playing. Good professional music, but sounds like TV ads. Later metup with Polish Radio station man and Canadian students for drinks.

Mon 24th August- Independence Day was pretty low key
- I didn't find military parades or the streets heaving with flag waving people. There were older guys wearing suits so I guess they'd been at church in the mornng. I walked around and it was like being at a music festival : Main Square : Polka dancing, but still setting up, Far North stage : something like karaoke, Statue square : cheesy rock by 8pm I was bored with walking between the stages. Went home to sleep.

- Tue - Wasted time going to check out countryside hostel

- Wed - Wasted time going to check out Citadel park & St Georges Cathedral.

- Thu to Wed - Somehow I lost a week through being ill and slow, catching up on internet work etc. As the tourist season had ended I was the only person in the hostel for about a week.
- Sat - walked to the centre of town - I swear I passed about 20 different wedding groups taking photos.
- Sun - rode trolley bus to end of the line at the bus terminal,
- Tue - went to the big beerhouse which is made up of 3 big beer cellar rooms of the old brewery

Plans

- Where to next- the thing is I guess I would still be here on Monday as I only had plans upto Lviv.
- One thing is that if my typhoid continues then I will have to cross into Poland to return to UK for proper blood tests.
- yes I still do have lingering symptoms, but the pharmacist says 7 days not 5 days is a typical antibiotic period and also the 2 tablets/day was quite low so I bought another packet and will take 3/day.

- First I read that Ciprofloroxin was the treatment, but then I read oral fluoroquinolones are the treatment, but it turns out fluoroquinolones is the class of drug and Ciprofloroxin is in fact a type of fluoroquinolone. It is possible that my "typhoid" is caused by a parasite or virus, although I aleady took 3 days of vermix against worms.

- I checked the stomach pills that the Berdjansk doctor prescribed : They are all over the Russian internet being the most popular "medicine" all they are are enzymes extracted from pigs pancreases which are supposed to help you digest fat etc.

- Sept 4th I still can't say I am better, The sickness was like reverse krptonite. Normally I have super-human strength whilst walking in the hills, but yesterday I had to rest, even though I was not out of breath or anything

Maybe my Ukraine adventure has turned into a bit of a failure
... I was travelling around Ukraine hoping to bump into some work, but maybe I was too naive. I didn't really brush up my Russian .. I didn't even take a dictionary. The thing is with the language and cultural complications like soviet mentality at the station you need to have 130% mentally. Which normally I can do.

- But I didn't realise that all the time I was losing 2-3 hours each day through being tired cos I was sick with mild typhoid so I just didn't have the concentration I needed. So I travelled around all the main places East, Odessa, not Crimea and made it to Lviv, but didn't have that lucky break that I have had in other countries.

- As a tourist ukraine doesn't really have much except for an insight into soviet/Slavic culture ..Czech has better castles etc
- OK if one is a big smoker and drinker then maybe Ukraine is a great country to live, but I'm more intellectual type.
-I know there is an element of deep thinking people in Slavic countries, but I rarely meet them.

- So now I am in Lviv for 8 days just thinking. the Typhoid does seem to have largely faded

- See Reassessment of travel notes

Ukrainian Jewish culture of the past
- when I did the walking tour of Lviv I passed 3 synagogues that the Nazis destroyed and streets and streets of buildings which had been Jewish apartments upstairs and Jewish factories/workshops in the downstairs and courtyards. David said with such industry and efficiency a lot of wealth was generated. And in almost every other town I have passed destroyed synagogues so the Jewish community must have been sizeable. Wow it's amazing it's all gone.

- What must it have been like ? When I imagine 100 years ago it must have been like a country within a country of both the Russian and Polish Empires. And then 75 years ago when the empires had split into separate countries it must have been strange cos each country would have had a couple of majority populations, then Jewish communities as well as minority villages like German or Romanian speaking. How did the different communities get on ? Was city politics racialised I wonder. Or maybe rich people from different communities stuck together ?

Thu 1st Sept- Visit Zhovkva small historic town
- I decided to go out of the city so I took the mashrutka to Zhovkva. Before it was a walled town where often the Polish king and sometimes the Csar stayed. Today it's not amazing, but it's Ok for an hour or two. It has a huge square with the old palace at one side, and a few old buildings and monasteries etc.

- The tourist office really recommended the monastery 12Km away in Krekhiv and I can understand why the Ukrainian tourists like it. Nestled at the foot of a 100m high ridge is this kind of fortress monastery. You can take good picture, but all it really is a church surrounded by a wall with a couple of towers in. And actually it was almost a complete ruin 15 years ago, but the Bazillion Order have put a lot of money into restoration so today it looks like it did before the war.

- The bus schedule was not convenient I needed 2 hours, but the next bus left 4 hours later. The monastery started in 1612 when monks carved out cells into the rock in the forest. I followed the walking path through the forest, which doesn't have big trees. After 2Km you come to a rock promotory, where the rock cells are. They are not impressive compared to Turkish or Armenian places There are only 2 places, not elaborately carved with no sculptures or rock paintings.

- The path circles back via a holy spring where people collect water.

I walked 1Km back to the main road intending to hitch back, but I didn't know which way to go. There wasn't anything interesting in the villages except people were collecting potatoes with horse and carts.

- Saw a truck marked North Wolds Farmfoods, Melbourne ... was it stolen ? I wonder if a lot of stolen UK vehicles end up in Ukraine

Greek Catholic most popular religion in West Ukraine
- I learnt a strange thing in many parts of west Ukraine, the most popular religion is not Ukranian orthodox nor Russian Orthodox, but Greek Catholic. Greek Orthodox I know, but it turns out the Greek Catholics split away 300 years ago, there are 6m of them, but 4m of that are in the area of the SW Ukraine, Poland, Slovak border.

- Saturday I went to a strange arts festival in the old Jam Factory. That area was full of old buildings that show evidence of the wealthy industrial past as they were half like castles. I presume that the Soviet government developed the new town and let this area get run down.

OK just decided Saturday that I should give up on Ukraine

- and go to Poland and then to the UK ..I still wasn't 100% better and couldn't think of anywhere else to go. I found out that in Poland hostels were not so expensive so I could go there maybe to Krakow where I could also get to the Tatra mountains quite easily ..easier than going via Slovakia and then I could get to the UK and doctors from Poland.

- I found I could take a nightbus to Krakow for 70Hr. That would be good I would save on one nights accommodation, but when I went all the way out to the bus terminal on Saturday I found that 70 was the zloty price and in Hr it was 215 which seemed too expensive. So I decided to take a bus in daytime to the border on Monday cos it I presumed travelling on Sunday would be too crowded....

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