Just LVIV It!
This morning at breakfast I sat with Barbara, one of my frequent passengers.
We chatted about the amazing 5 star boutique hotel we are staying in which is located in the centre of Lviv, Ukraine. Its such a charming place – attention to detail is obviously important to the management team. There are fresh flowers everywhere including in both our bedroom and bathroom. There are plush, oversize towels to use. Toiletries have been well thought of – I’ve never stayed in a hotel before that includes black shoe polish in the amenity package. Of course delicious chocolates arrive with the evening turn-down service. The Do Not Disturb/Clean Room notifications are little pillows with the Lion Symbol of the city on them – one shows the lion sleeping – the other shows the lion with a broom. There is a charming garden courtyard in the middle of hotel. The 3 chandelier breakfast rooms are intimate and elegant.
The 3 hotels we have stayed in during this Mystery Journey have all been superb and completely different from one another but they all had windows you can open – a nice plus.
Barbara noted that the servers in all the restaurants have been male. She also noticed that its only ladies that have been cleaning the hotel rooms. We will never forget the very young server that looked after us during our banquet lunch yesterday. He worked so hard to please us.
Barbara has traveled with me many, many, many times and feels this is the most cultural tour she has been on. We will all go home knowing so much about life in the Ukraine and what it is like being a local because we have met so many locals and they have been so overly friendly and kind. I’ve never arranged an itinerary until now that has included so much entertainment – we have enjoyed the music of many unique and entertaining bands – these are always private events just for us!
Our hosts told us about 2 Ukrainian films that are worth watching – Bitter Harvest and Winter on Fire.
The city of Lviv has a population of 1 million – a mix of Ukrainian, Armenian and Jews.
We spent much of the day touring around this wonderful city.
We passed many impressive city landmarks during our morning “train” tour.
The city’s Opera House is the most famous in Ukraine and can also be found on the Ukrainian 20 dollar bill. It took just 3 years for workers to build this masterpiece.
This is a very green city with parks everywhere and many Chestnut trees.
After our train excursion we were met by a local guide who walked us around the city core.
There were many other special things planned during this mystery tour day.
Lviv is known for its coffee culture. We put on hard hats and entered an underground cave that was used to hide Ukrainian troops from the KGB. When we took our seats, those that ordered coffee were amazed with the fire spectacle that occurred in front of them. I have never experienced anything quite like it before.
We visited 2 very impressive chocolate shops.
A stop was made at a restaurant whose theme is based on the history of kerosene lamps so kerosene lamps are tastefully located throughout its multi-story building. Our hosts ordered liquid filled test tubes for us – we had to guess the yummy flavours.
For a restaurant to survive in this town it has to be exceptional because there is so much competition. During lunch we dined in one of the most unique ones. There was no sign on the outside of the building to indicate there was a restaurant there. We walked up a flight of old apartment looking stairs wondering where we were going and then we were directed into an older mans apartment. After chatting with us he then let us enter a hidden entrance to a private and very upscale restaurant that is themed after the secretive masons. We had so much fun checking out the space. The bathroom that is surrounded by cash was a hit with my passengers.
The Lviv Easter Market is still in full swing so after lunch a group of us roamed through it and bought souvenirs.
Tonight’s dinner function was so exceptional. It’s unusual to find beef on a menu in Ukraine so everyone was thrilled to be served an excellent BBQ steak.
The “Lemko Bluegrass Band” performed a special private performance for us. Who would think that Ukraine’s citizens would embrace bluegrass music. This 4 piece band is terrific and are based in the Carpathian Mountains. We clapped, sang along and the dance floor was hoppin. They are going to be touring in Ottawa and Alberta this Summer. It would be cool if my brother could bring them to our dinner theatre for a performance.
What a terrific day – what a terrific city!
I have a few wonderful surprises in store for my passengers tomorrow. I’ve asked them to get dressed up for the evening event…. the mystery continues.
Its just after midnight so I must call it a day….