Thursday, April 12, 2007

Our Ukrainian Home

We had been warned that hotels in Lviv were pricey and, well, bad. Bhadri researched mid-range hotels and found the general price to be around 500 hrivny (100 dollars), which is outrageous for Eastern Europe. With that price you’d expect luxury coming out your ears. But the reality was that despite the high price these hotels were still dirty, uncomfortable, and not necessarily close to the city center. Also, Lviv has problems with it’s water system—hot water is delegated to different parts of the city at different times, so most of the day you will be without.
Thankfully, we had a very pleasant stay in Lviv. Bhad found a website advertising apartments for short-term rent and followed up. In case you’re ever going to Lviv and need accommodation, check their website out: They were really nice and have loads of apartments. For a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, it was 250 hrivny, and it included a king sized bed, a bathtub, satellite tv, and a full kitchen! Plus, it had it’s own water system which meant there was hot water all day. It was incredible.
The day we arrived, exhausted from an all-night train journey and culture-shocked, we had quite a time finding the place. After about 3 hours of texting the company, not texting back because our phone wouldn’t work, hunting down their signless office, and finally trekking back to the apartment to friendly Oksana and her baby girl warmly inviting us inside. The owner, Oksana, was the nicest woman and keen to chat with us a bit in English before heading out for the day. I made buddies with her 2-yr old girl, Sulamika, before she handed us the keys and took leave.
We crashed on the massive plushness of the bed and sighed. What a day. Really, what a two days. We’d been awake now for about 48 hours, with a few winks on the train between customs officials and conductors visits. It was good to feel settled.
After a luxurious bath and a few Reeses Easter eggs (provided by my dear Mom) we’d rationed, we set out into town to buy foodstuffs for dinner. This was possibly the second hardest thing we’d done all day, next to finding our apartment. There were no food stores. How is this possible? Poland has a food store, stand, or shop every 25 meters. We searched for about 45 minutes in the city center before finding an inside market, where we bought eggs, vodka, coffee, and creamer—the essentials. We took our goods home and, after a cup of coffee (100% instant, as it boasted on it’s label), whipped up a tasty dinner. Note: the eggs in the photo are real. They were florescent yellow, I kid you not.
Our stay in this apartment was delightful. We made some delicious home-cooked meals, took some soothing baths, slept more soundly than we have in months, and got to watch hours of BBC news and international soccer.

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