First Impressions of L’viv

Before I came to L’viv someone, who will remain anonymous, said this “I don’t understand why anyone would ever want to live or visit L’viv. It’s very expensive and there’s nothing to do.” Now this particular person had the right to say such a quote because he or she lived in L’viv most of his or her life. Now me being me, I remembered what he said, but really didn’t take it to heart. I’ve always preferred to have my opinion, and to form an opinion you need your own experiences.

My first seven experiences (first seven days here) have been nothing short of fun. I can’t help myself but laugh at some of the things that happen here, while at the same time be in awe at the beautiful architecture of the buildings (minus the soviet era). I can’t believe how old some of these buildings are. I’ve been told that most of the buildings in L’viv have been here for well over 100 years, some over 200 years. That to me is amazing and worth a trip here to see.

The other day Bohdan (he works with Lohika) and his girlfriend took me to the top of the clock tower in downtown L’viv. Now this building had to have been 100 years old because it looked like something straight out of the movies. The stairs to the top of the tower were endless. Twisting around and around this 10 foot by 10 foot square tube that peaked at approximately 85 meters (security guard claimed that number), which is a little over 275 feet, which is a 20 to 25 story tower. The stairs going up were wooden and held together by a wood frame, which was connected to stone exterior walls. Notice, no steel here. The age of the stairs was easily identified by the fact that they were leaning towards the center of tube. Perhaps this was designed so that you can see how high you were.

Once we reached the top of the tower, the view was awesome. It is by far the tallest building in L’viv, unless you count the buildings sitting on top of the hills. I could see everything and get a real good understanding of where things were. This was a great place and I wish I had my camera with me at the time to take pictures. I will try to go again with Bohdan as it requires a bribe to the security guards to actually walk up this tower at night.

After the tower adventure we walked through some of the old town where the roads were made of stone (well all roads in L’viv are made of stone), but in this particular area you could get a sense of the age of this city. The roads were no wider than 1.5 car widths, and that made for an old town feel with the buildings very close together and not too many cars. This was a great little journey and I’d like to go back and take some pictures, but I cannot guarantee this because I really don’t know where I was.

Our journey ended in a Jazz club about 0.5 miles from the hotel. The club was great. Lots of tables, and a wide selection of beer and wine if you were Ukrainian. The English menu listed one beer and no wine (funny how that works). After listening to some jazz and having a few beers we all headed back to our homes and called it a night.

I think this one night, as minimally described above, really made me think that the quote of L’viv not being a great place to visit was 100% false. It may not be the greatest place on earth to visit because it can get cold, but I think it’s worth stopping by.

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Another part of that quote was that L’viv is expensive, which is true and false at the same time. To get a feel for the prices here, go stay at a five star hotel, eat at five star restaurant and go shopping at some shops on the way (nothing too ridiculous). Now take that cost that you just spent and divide by 5 ($500 hotel + $200 dinner + $100 shopping = $800/5 = $160). The end result of $160 in the example is the price you would pay in L’viv. How did I come up with such a great formula? Simple, the prices here are not much different than prices in the US. For example, a small jar of peanuts in my hotel is 10 Herivna and the nightly stay here is about 600 Herivna. Now you would probably pay $10 in the US for a similar jar in your 5 star hotel and easily pay $500-600 for a fancy room at the Westin. But the key thing to remember is the exchange rate. $1 is equal to 5 Herivna, so you’re always getting an 80% discount. Isn’t that awesome? Thought so.

2 comments ↓

#1 bobvanzant on 01.23.08 at 7:11 pm

Looking forward to seeing some pictures. Your writing is excellent. Enjoying the BLOG, see you soon.

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#2 bigbadbob0 on 01.25.08 at 6:42 pm

I really think that L’viv is a magical place. The people, at least the friends I have, are awesome. It’s just a great city without a huge tourist population. So I agree with you, it’s a great place to visit and if you can stay for a few weeks (or a few months) do it. And don’t pass up an opportunity to drink a liter of vodka with a friend 🙂

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