Friday, 28 February 2014

Secret Bar Scene of L'viv

Now that I've gone through most of the touristy, cultural things to do in L'viv I bet you're waiting to hear about the night life.

As you should be!

It's... so... much... fun!!!!!!

Okay, okay, okay, okay.. Where do I start...

How does a secret Soviet-times bar, in a dark alley, with a guard sound?
Okay, let's start our night there.

This place, despite being a secret bar, is pretty well known.
It's called Kryjivka.

It's not so well known that it feels mainstream.
But it's well known enough that if you asked a young person where to find it there's a 50% chance they would know and point you in the right direction.

It's at the end of a dark alley.
You knock on the big wooden door and a guard pulls a metal latch back.
"Password/пароль?" he asks.
"Slava Ukraini/слава Українi" you respond.
"Slava heroyam/слава героям" he says back.
And the door swings open to reveal...
A small room with 3 walls filled with books.

You're offered a shot of mead/Mедовуха.
And only after you take it does he throw open one of the "bookshelves" to reveal a staircase to the bunker.

The atmosphere of this place is really cozy.
Loud, hustle bustle-like.
Guys walking around with old hand-held sirens.
Bands playing.

Really great for casual drinks with friends any night of the week.
Order more mead.
Order a "zakyska" ("snack" - in Ukraine we eat a bit of something after a shot instead of chasing it with more liquid).

Then while you wait for food and drink to arrive go play dress up.
Read about the historical artifacts on the walls.
And when you see delicious items have appeared on your table go and enjoy yourself.

There's a bb gun range and some old motorcycles and cars out back which I would suggest checking out as well.

This article mentions details about the masochistic bar, Jewish bar and Freemason bar you should visit as well if you have the time.

It focuses on the outrage about the bars, but still a good article. As a side note, I agree with the guy who started them up: controversial gimmicks do get people talking and interested in things they otherwise would have ignored.

КРИЇВКА    |    Website    |     Address: Rynok sqr 14    |     Phone: +38(050)4306354

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

L'viv Chocolate Factory

I'm in love with L'viv, just in case you haven't picked up on that yet.

Want to know one of the best things about L'viv?

A few years ago we used to have some of the best chocolate in Europe.
Then corporations came in and cut on expenses so now chocolate coming out of the factories is just okay.

BUT, we do have chocolate factories in the city you can visit.

Watch it being made through the windows.
And then go inside.

And then from there go to the second floor.
And then the third.
And then sit at the cafe on the fourth.

Just sit or stand there and immerse yourself in it.
In the scent, the warmth, your mouth watering...

In every shape, color, and size.
With every kind of topping and filling.
It's considered expensive by Ukrainian standards (about US$.50 per piece) but it's delicious.

They even have a box of karma sutra chocolates in very detailed positions.

L'viv Chocolate Factory    |     Website    |    Address: 3 Serbska Street    |    Phone: (050) 372 98 97

Sunday, 23 February 2014

History and Religion

The churches and cathedrals in Ukraine are some of the oldest in Europe.
Some have original painted walls dating back hundreds of centuries.
Some even have church bells that date back as far as the 14th century.

Religion is such an integral part of Ukrainian culture and history.
It's beautiful, really.
The customs, traditions, colors, holidays...
Most have some traces stemming from within religion.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Opera Theater

The Opera Theater is one of my favorite places in all of L'viv.

The architecture of this building is incredible.
Everyone who has seen an opera or ballet here says it's incredible.
It's one of the best places to people watch from.
And there's a fantastic bazaar just around the corner.

But the people watching... that's the thing I love best about this place.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

L'viv Coffee House

Cafes have popped up all over the place in L'viv.
This one, as much as I think it is touristy, is actually quite good.

It's pretty big.
Great coffee menu.
Has a souvenir shop.
An underground museum-like dungeon.
Creative outdoor/indoor/underground seating areas.
And not too busy either!

You walk in and first thing you see is coffee beans roasting right in front of you.
There are bags of coffee beans from all over the world piled high everywhere.
And you can buy little paper bags of freshly roasted coffee beans right over the counter.

The menu is extensive.
Everything from black to alcoholic coffees, hot chocolates and teas, cakes and deserts...
This place is pricey by Ukrainian standards, but it's also one of the most upper scale coffee shops.

There are three seating areas available.
One is upstairs (where we sat) and has a coffee/book shop feel.
The other is the picture above, in what I believe is an old train station.
And the third is underground in the coffee "mines"

Plenty of hidden tables, nooks and crannies to sit down here.
You can take a walk through even if you decide not to sit here.
Highly recommended.
You get an old school, Soviet style, battery powered lit up hard hat.
It's probably the only light you'll have.

There's an extensive gift shop here too.
Good if you're a coffee fanatic.
"L'viv" souvenirs though are more expensive than other places in the city.

Tip: It's near City Hall. If you see City Hall, you'll see this place. Tours offer to take you here. But really, why would you pay someone to take you 10 feet up the road?

Coffee Manufacture     |     Address: Rynok Square, 10, Lviv     |     Phone: 067 670 61 06

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Maidan in L'viv

In my last post I said that the protests were peaceful.
They were uniting and fun too!
People gathering over cups of tea about being proud to be Ukrainian.
Concerts. Chanting.
Good old fashion bonding in the streets.

I'll post some fun recommendations of things to do in L'viv tomorrow!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

I Am a Ukrainian

The situation in Ukraine is heartbreaking.
Thousands of people in the streets, in suz-zero temperatures, protesting for freedom from dictatorship and political blackmail.

Every news outlet will spin this differently.
But the truth will come out.

Peaceful protests in the streets for over 2 months when the President decided to back out of a EU deal day of.

Then President Yanukovych passed a bill making anti-government protests illegal and commanded the police to beat anyone and everyone in the street.

Since then the people have been fighting back, fighting for their lives and their freedom.
For a better future, if not for them then for their children.

Pass this message along.
Contact your representative.
And tell them you want to show your support for a free Ukraine.

Don't think someone else will do it.
Be that person to make a difference.

Exploring L'viv

I cannot believe I haven't done any posts on Ukraine yet.
And I cannot believe nobody has mentioned it to me yet!

Good thing I realized, hey?

I love this city.
I love the cobblestone streets.
I love the cafes.
I love the fashion.
I love the food.
I love the weather.
I love the feelings it evokes.
I love the people.
I love the transport.
I love the squirrels.
I love every. single. thing. about L'viv.

It's a perfect city. 
A city I call my home.