Tuesday, May 4, 2010

post and pictures 4 may

Just spent a lovely holiday weekend exploring in and near Lviv with family and friends. What, you didn’t have a holiday? Here it was Labor Day, and since the holiday fell on the weekend, Monday and Tuesday are both days off, too. :)

On Saturday morning, my friends Vika and Jonathan and I took a bus down to Lviv and met with my cousins Yurko and Olya. Yurko graduated last year from Lviv Polytechnical University, and Olya is in her fourth year at the Academy of the Arts in Lviv, so they both know their way around quite well. After a tasty lunch, we saw Ivano Franko National University and the Lviv Art Gallery, passed through a rich and bright cultural souvenir market [where I couldn’t help asking a woman in an Ohio State sweatshirt if she had gone there… yes, she said she had, and… I spoke English?!], climbed an unexpectedly high clock tower for a city view, and stopped for a drink at a café where a well-known jazz piano player was entertaining himself and others with any song—or part of a song—that came into this mind. Next, it was a secondhand book market, with books in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, English, German…Yum. Then, up a hill to a park, then up some flights of stairs, then up to another path and more stairs, and we were at the High Castle. Well, it used to be a castle, and now it’s just a really high lookout on the city. We also passed by a puppet theater, stopped into the pharmacy museum, and carefully made our selections from a handmade chocolate shop… Yum, again! Then, back to Komarno for a short family visit and some sleep.

On Sunday, Yurko and Olya’s mom, Khrystyna, played the tourguide role, and we visited the church where her husband, Father Ihor, was having a service, passed a bicycle race through the center, and then headed to a huge forest/ park that serves as a museum of folk architecture. Buildings from different Ukrainian time periods and places have been transported and rebuilt here, including many churches and houses complete with wells, storage buildings, etc. Lots of tourists were taking lots of pictures here [in all of Lviv, really!], as well as couples taking wedding pictures and people dressed in traditional clothing posing in traditional scenes. This park also included a small farm of domestic animals, a pysanky exhibit, and an exhibit of modern paintings and wood carvings. Back near the center of the city, via trambaye [tram], we passed by the arsenal museum [to be saved for next time!] and went into Saint Andrew’s, a huge and ornately decorated church, which was apparently used in the filming of The Three Musketeers. Finally, a tasty lunch/ dinner at Potato House—Greek salad and baked potatoes with cheese and mushrooms on top—and then to the bus station, where I met up with friends and headed back to Lutsk in the middle of the only actual thunderstorm I’ve experienced in Ukraine. Many puddles and some really wet shoes later, a successful journey completed! The only problem—how to choose which pictures to post?!

- Also, I went to my first European football game, and our team won, so that’s a good start.
- Replanted some spider plants into re-styled plastic bottle pots, in keeping with the recent celebration of Earth Day.
- Our grant project was awarded funding, so we’ll be able to hold the summer leadership trainings and September retreat for local university-age youth. If all goes well, the application process will be done within a month, and students will begin to work on the creation of their own community projects.
- Mushroom gravy/ sauce on vareneky [pierogies] is delicious, as is apple soda.
- If you want to get a modern Ukrainian song stuck in your head, try “Я Так Хочу” (Ya Tak Hochou) by Океан Ельзи (Okean Elzy). They’re from Lviv, sing in Ukrainian [as opposed to Russian, see] and I’ve just read that the lead singer has a degree in theoretical physics.
- It’s really sunny today!


picture captions:

- PCVs after presenting at the TESOL conference in Rivne, a little over an hour from Lutsk
- spring trees, with Easter white knees
- how gardens grow: greener
- out to dinner for the best vareneky contest/ celebration with friends on the opening of their new school
- said school, much Ikea’d
- English Club preps for Earth Day
- blue and green, heavy on the green
- small amusement park in the surprisingly large park downtown
- an artist lives here—could you tell?
- soccer/ football: Volyn 4, other team 0

in Lviv-
- Ivan Franko, plus Vika, Jonathan, Yurko, and Olya
- Ivan Franko’s university, plus Vika
- Taras Shevchenko does the wave near the center
- Lviv opera theater
- climbed up… all steps, no elevator, and with close-shouldered twists near the top
- part of the straight-down view from the top
- pretty cutelike
- one of many ornately lovely churches
- secondhand books, worth many second looks
- several stages upward to the High Castle…
- which turns out to no longer include a Castle… just High
- [oldest] pharmacy museum
- with relatives in Komarno- Ihor, Khrystyna, Eugenia
- part of a pysanky exhibit in the huge park that’s a museum of folk architecture
- one of many buildings in this park/ museum
- with Khrystyna, who was my family guide for the day :)
- church from the 18th century
- old schoolhouse
- inside old houses,
- with traditional such
- inside the schoolhouse: school on one side, teacher living space on the other
- somewhat-unexpected windmill
- back in the city, ceiling and organ of Saint Andrew’s, a giant and beautiful church apparently used in the filming of The Three Musketeers
- statue [really?!]
- green-in/ green-out