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Author Topic: Lviv - The Florence of the East  (Read 4434 times)

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Offline Wiz

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Lviv - The Florence of the East
« on: June 13, 2007, 04:45:37 PM »
Lviv in west Ukraine

Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2007, 04:50:03 PM »
More photos of Lviv

Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 04:53:48 PM »
More Lviv


Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2007, 04:57:22 PM »
more Lviv

Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2007, 05:04:21 PM »
More Lviv

Offline Chris

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2007, 03:00:35 AM »
I have never been to Lviv, but it looks quite a nice city, plenty of greenery! and some nice buildings.

Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2007, 03:28:32 AM »
I have never been to Lviv, but it looks quite a nice city, plenty of greenery! and some nice buildings.

I have been there many times, I love the place and there is so much architecture that is compared to Vienna.....same architects.......unfortunately no direct flights from UK and have to go via Warsaw or Kiev..... expensive job but then when I visited it was paid by the comapany.

See more details here and no pay any notice to the company logo etc. Site is only for view, noto operational, see the gallery

http://www.airsunholidays.co.uk/lviv/index.html

Photos from Crimea, Odessa will be added later. ;)


Offline Chris

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2007, 03:44:22 AM »
Some great pictures ther Wiz on that site, the staircase in pic 9 is amazing, but what on earth is that in pic 2? :) and what is the guy at the bottom trying to do ;D

Offline ForgeMaster

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2007, 04:28:14 AM »
That is an absolutely beautiful place!  Thanks for showing us the pics, wiz.
ForgeMaster
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Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2007, 04:40:44 AM »
Some great pictures ther Wiz on that site, the staircase in pic 9 is amazing, but what on earth is that in pic 2? :) and what is the guy at the bottom trying to do ;D

To be honest nobody explained to me accurately what it symbolises this monument....which is right in the middle of the Svobody boulevard.

Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2007, 05:12:41 AM »
That is an absolutely beautiful place!  Thanks for showing us the pics, wiz.

Yes Forge Master and I fell in love with the place......... not only the beautiful young women......LOL

I have abouit 400 photos of the whole area but they are high resolutions and large files......and I am not spending time to reduce their size.

Here are some notes I kept about Lviv:

INTRODUCTION

My love affair with Ukraine started sometime in the second part of year 2003, when a woman, called Galina, who lives in Lviv (the capital of west Ukraine) got in touch with me by e-mail. She was obviously looking to make friends in the west and discovered my profile on MSN. 

Galina is a programmer and works as IT support for LVIVOBLENERGO Power Distributing Company, which provides electricity in the whole west of Ukraine. Galina is married to a University professor at Lviv University and she speaks very good English.

We continued our contact over the months and finally we met at St. Petersburg on the 13 February 2004, where she had gone to meet a friend of hers (Ludmila) and have a two weeks holiday.   

I have travelled, nearly, in every country of Europe and always wanted to visit Russia but it never happened before. This time I found a very cheap ticket with Lufthansa so I got a same day Visa from the Russian Consulate in London and on Friday the 13th February I flew there for a 5-day trip. 

Galina and I did get on very well and she was an excellent translator and a guide to the city. We visited most of the interesting places and palaces and with her assistance I discovered the real life behind the ex-iron curtain. 

After my return to England we continued e-mailing to each other and talking on MSN messenger. Galina told me a lot of things about her city, Lviv, which made me, interested so I made a few searches on the Internet.

Finally I decided to visit Lviv on the 8 May 2004, which I did, but in the mean time Galina and I had an argument, because she promised to find me a cheap apartment to stay when I was there but 7 days before my arrival she had done nothing about it. After this episode we did not meet again, when I was in Lviv and I lost contact with her. 

Having booked my flight I was now faced with the dilemma of cancelling my trip or having to look around and make my own accommodation arrangements. I placed a post on BRAMA (Ukrainian information board on the internet) in the travel section and Clyna (Carolyn) who lives in Harrogate, in the North of UK, but is of Ukrainian decent and has family in and around Lviv, answered with a lot of good suggestions. She introduced me to her friend Irene who accepted to act as my guide and interpreter, whilst visiting Lviv. At the same time, Clyna gave me details of the local travel agency she uses every time she visits Lviv and I booked a very nice apartment through them for $20 per night. 

During my first visit to Lviv Irene guided me around and I fell in love with the place. On my return to England I decided to start a small tour operation there but I have encountered expensive airfares, so very little is been done during the year 2004.

I have created a web site (www.airsunholidays.co.uk) and there you can read all the necessary information about Lviv. Also, by reading the pages in my web site you will find out why I fell in love with Lviv.  At the World Travel Market, which took place in London at the beginning of November 2004, I met representatives from Ukrainian Airlines, who offered me their special fares to Kiev. For this reason I decided to go back to Ukraine and organise some hotels in Kiev to facilitate the new fares and provide an alternative solution for my packages to Lviv.

During my second trip there I had a fascinating time and I was fortunate to experience, with my own eyes, history in the making, I arrived at the highest point of the Orange revolution and felt the excitement and zest for democracy of the Ukrainian people.

I went back to Lviv on the 5th January 2005 to see their Christmas on the 7th January. I had been told that they have big celebrations and I had a great time. I have made a few friends and more acquaintances.

On the 31 March 2005, the new Ukrainian Government, announced that they temporary suspend the requirement of having a Visa to visit the country, so I decided to take advantage of the new situation and visit Ukraine, especially the regions of Crimea and Odessa with the view of expanding my small holiday program to these regions.

On the  1st of May 2005, the day the No visa requirement came into effect, I flew out to Ukraine for a 14 days visit.  My flight on Ukrainian International Airlines from Gatwick to Kiev was excellent in every aspect and the onward flight to Simferopol in Crimea was not bad at all.

I visited Sevastopol, Yalta then went by train to Odessa and of course I could not resist the temptation and flew back to Lviv via Kiev.

I spent three and half nice relaxing days there, met my friend Andrei and his family, visit their village and also new restaurants, like the Greek named Taverna and also Don Quixote, had nice food with very cheap prices

Why I love Lviv?  

I love Lviv because it reminds me of my hometown, Ioannina in Greece, when I was young.

It is not over-commercialised like a lot of western cities and has a calming and relaxing atmosphere, which I adore. It is full of excellent architecture, despite its rundown condition at the moment. Hopefully one day the Ukrainians will manage to renovate and preserve this open living museum with such a wealth of history, art and architecture. I can spend several days there doing very little, yet still not get bored.

I am sure that I will be making more trips, in the future, to Ukraine and Lviv. I find Ukraine very interesting and Lviv very enchanting.

 
MY TRIP TO LVIV  8 MAY - 1 MAY 2004

Flew to Lviv via Warsaw on an early morning flight on LOT (Polish airlines). Comfortable flights on both legs, especially on Warsaw to Lviv where they substituted the prop ATR72 with a Jet Embraer, which has excellent, leg room and comfort. Disappointed with the service as staff doesn’t speak English and if, as some do is hard to get their attention. Also the food was terrible in all my flights. They have to improve  their standards a lot especially with the expensive prices they charge, now that they have joined the EU.

A light rain welcome us at Lviv airport, and a schene from the film " Apokalypsis ".
All around the small airfield very old planes (probably from the Soviet Era) are scatered in a state of decay. As I noticed on my departure it serves also as a military base too.

The terminal is a small gream and forboding building, with few small windows and about 50 metres tiled passage lies between the terminal and the place were the passengers disseembarge the old buss. The front of the terminal is of course grandeur styled building, as most of the buildings in Lviv. A middle aged but smartly dressed lady, Ala,  advise me to stay on the bus. When all pax disembarked they drove to the end of the building where I followed her through a small new door and enter a nice small waiting room. The room is equipped with comfortable sofas, tables, bottled of water and glasses plus a TV on the corner. In this civilised area tried to fill my immigration card but I was having trouble because the text size is very small. I can' read the text and my guide Irene, which I just met, she is also wearing glasses and can’t read the card......Finally I manage to do it and give the card to Ala. After a funny and hilarious time of around 30 minutes, Ala, managed to locate my case. Clearing customs was a simple formality with no problems and we are on our way to the center of the town.

It is only a short 10 ninutes drive to the apartment that I have booked to stay, at SVODOBY Prospect (Avenue). Now I am glad to have booked the VIP service which is expensive ($32) but takes all the immigration hasle away.

Nice 1 bedroom flat with very high ceilings, double bed, large sofa, TV, large kitchen with a table and chairs next to a large window. Bathroom very large and ho*snip*er 24 hours. I am happy. Visit the office pay the bill and Irene and I go out for a drink and dinner. Visiting Amadeus Reastaurant, have to wait for a table to be free.

We walk down and get the first feeling of Prospect Svobody, where at the weekends newly weds come to take the official pictures. What it strikes me, and my guide Irene makes joking remarks, is that the couples do not look happy and joyful. Walking to the end of the Svobody Prospect, where is the Opera House, we mingle with the locals who come here to have a stroll, watch some men playing chess on the benges circled by a small crowd watching attentively the games. In either side of the pedestrian there are trees full of flowers and very well kept, which makes the scenic idyllic. Traffic is not allowed to run around the square during the weekends, which makes it more pleasurable to walk up and down the square. After about one hour we decided to go back to “Amadeus restaurant” where finally we are given a table in the corner. It seems quieter now.

The “Amadeus” is a small nice little restauran, bistro type, with good decor and atmospere. Prices on the expensive side and above all the other reastaurants of the same standard and quality, as I found out later. After that we go for a coffee to another place called Viennesse Café and continue chating till late. Arranged to meet Irene next morning and off to sleep at around 11 pm.
 

Second Day. Sunday 9 May

I had a difficult time to sleep last night and I wake up at 8 am.....I had a coffee in the flat and then time to look for Breakfast as I am starving. As I walk up and down the Svobody Prospect (avenue) I discover this little small cafe, I would call it “Maria’s”, off the main square and on a small one called, Pidkova Square, right opposite the Church of the Jesuits and the club Yellow Submarine. On my later trips I noticed that the club has closed down.

Try to order a Nescafe and I become lucky, as later I discovered this cafe is the only one where I can have my favorite drink. Price is 1 Chryvnia (11 p). After enjoying my coffee try to ask Maria, the woman behind the bar, if she is cooking hot breakfast but I am getting nowhere until a chap speaking some English tell me that they don’t offer it there. Disappointed I go next door to a very good looking Cafe/ restaurant called Viennese where I have breakfast, but prices obviously are more expensive here. I paid 10 UHA for 2 eggs and ham, toast and a coffee.

Irene arrives and after her finishing her tea we go shopping to a supermarket and then back to the flat because it started raining.

Later when the rain stopped we go walking from Copernicus Street towards the Library, see the Main Post office and then after passing a University building we go to the Science House. We bribe the keeper on the door with 10 Chryvnia ( £ 1.10 for both) and he let us walk through this magnificent building. The staircase, which follows a round wall, is a magnificent peace of sculpture. The rooms are very elegantly decorated and pity that this monument is not open to the public but just for private functions.

Having a coffee in the Caprice Cafe later I meet a woman called Inna, who speaks Greek. Having spent 2 years in the Greek island of Zante she is delighted meeting me and very helpful.

Walk our way back to Svobody Avenue and by then I had enough walking for my first day so I suggest to get on a Tram and go from one side of Lviv to the other. These old trams from the Soviet Era look like they are more than 50 years old but they are still going and what is surprising is that they are driven by women only. Irene explains to me that women here are cheap labour. Well it seems to do the job and it goes eastwards up hill, passing through the Market Square where is the town hall, and then the Church of Assumption and the Town Arsenal. As we travel to the outer parts of town it is obvious that the architecture is changing and more plain building can been seen either side of the road. At the end of the Cobble Street the tram is turning around and the main road continues with asphalt. A nice green park at the last stop and back towards the town center. After that we go to the other side (west) and the same thing happens, less decorative houses and all of them in a state of disrepair.

Arriving back to the main Svobody Avenue there is an open concert for your signers.....and we have fun listening the youngsters giving their best performance.

While watching the youngsters we meet the mother of the murdered reporter Georgiy Gongadze, a crusading young journalist whose headless body was found lying in a ditch on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. She is a very attractive and dignified lady. She allows me to photograph her.


NOTE: I have lost my notes, which I kept for this trip, and I must one day spent sometime and write about the excellent time I had around Lviv and its environs.

Offline Cestmoi

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2007, 11:01:30 AM »
the budget way to travel to Lviv from UK is taking a Ryanair flight from London to Rzsesow (the city just before Przemysl, close to border with Ukraine) and from there take an international train which goes to Lviv and further to Kyiv.
It's about 3 hours by train to the border, and then about 1.5-2 more hours from border to Lviv on Ukrainian territory.

Even faster way is just get to the border, cross it, and then go at ukrainian territory with local transportation... but i would not advise doing this to people who don't speak local language and/or are not adventurous enough... though good insight into local life  :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Ryanair flight can be about 40-50USD with airport tariffs, train around 30USD or a bit more...
also it's faster than flying directly to Kyiv and taking a train from there, as from Kyiv trainride to Lviv is 9-11h.

it's also possible to go with Ryanair to Krakow, or first to Wroclaw, than by train from Wroclaw to Krakow, and then further East to Lviv.

Offline Wiz

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2007, 09:14:27 PM »
Hello

I have checked every possible way and I have had one of my people trying the Ryanair possibility..... too much husle.

Unfortunately the only airline who could make Lviv an easy destination to reach is Ukrainian airlines, who they could stop to Lviv on the way to Gatwick with their daily flight , as they do going tp Frankfurt...BUT.....

For mor flight details visist: www.airsunholidays.co.uk.....NO is not a commercial site anymore... but the information is still there.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Lviv - The Florence of the East
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2007, 11:37:43 AM »
Nice photos, history, and link!