A Local’s Tour of Lviv

Navigating the train, meeting with friends, and the best meal we've ever eaten!

September 10, 2019

The next Saturday, we had to navigate Kyiv‘s train station. We showed up and immediately felt overwhelmed as we stared at a departures and arrivals board. It was the size of the entire wall and listed solely in Cyrillic.

Here, the employees have no interest in helping you if you speak any language other than Ukranian or Russian. Seriously, they were the only rude people we encountered during our time here—they literally laughed and closed windows in our faces. Maybe they just don’t want to deal with dumb, lost tourists like ourselves, but we couldn’t even buy our tickets!

Fortunately, we researched ahead of time, and while we hoped things had changed, we also fully expected this. So, we showed up 2 hours early. With a little help from Google Translate, we managed to figure out the giant schedule board, determine which tickets we needed to buy, and after tapping a few shoulders of people who were close to our age because they were more likely to have learned English, we found someone willing to translate and get our tickets for us at the counter.

With some direction from the kind souls who helped us buy our tickets, we found our platform and caught our 6-hour train to Lviv. 

We had a fairly simple ride, sitting next to an older woman and another man who tried to speak with us. We managed a short conversation using nothing but body language!

Upon arriving, Lviv feels much more old European and less like a Soviet Block City. Our first day here, we walked up “Castle Hill” in searing heat, and the next, we explored pretty much the entire town.

Our Airbnb is in an older building, but MASSIVE! And the location is right in the heart of the small city. Only con is some noisy neighbors. 

It is much smaller than expected but has a darling cat cafe, tons of cool buildings, and some fantastic restaurants. We haven’t gone to any because we’ve found super touristy places don’t always serve the best food, but they have a huge thing for super-themed restaurants here, so maybe we will have to at some point.

On Wednesday, we met up with a couple of locals who are good friends of the CEO of the company Alan and I work for. They drove us around the city, took us to a famous church, one of the oldest parks in Europe, enjoyed coffee with us, showed us where our boss grew up, and then went to lunch with us. Honestly, they didn’t speak much English either, but loved chatting about music and politics. It was a pleasure getting to hang out with some locals.

Otherwise, we haven’t done much in Lviv other than walk in circles around town, pig out (the food is seriously soooo good and so cheap), and I think we have even found our favorite restaurant ever here! We also pet naked cats at the cat cafe.

Sorry for my lack of updates. We get off work at about 1 am on this schedule, and sometimes typing more just feels like work.

Other than that, we didn’t do too much besides enjoy the food and get some much needed rest. The apartment we’re staying in has thin walls and a delightful screaming toddler/screaming mom combo. 😂

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