Friday 21 April 2023

Life in Lviv is very normal


When I arrived Lviv station had many soldiers and I felt I was a character in a film.

I often do but this time an historical film.

The kind girl who worked for Unicef and who showed me where to draw out money from a machine was astonished that I was here on holiday. 'But this is no place for a holiday!' 

I felt abashed, like a child who had strayed into an adult drama that was not suitable for him. A phantom maybe. A ghoul.

But after my cab deposited me at the George Lviv seemed very normal. 

Some statues were wrapped up to protect them from bombs, some stained glass windows were occluded by protective covers, there were sandbags outside the tourist information office. 

But the city centre otherwise was different from on my visit on 2014 mainly because it had lost its tourist innocence.  Many many more bars, restaurants, shops.

A Ukrainian told me that since 2014 the people of Lviv had become much more open minded. 

I was sad to hear it. I am open minded myself, but I think it's a very overrated virtue in countries. 

Ukraine, the daughter of British Ukrainians told me, was a place she lived going to (on holiday) because people think like human beings there.  

I wonder if they still do. 

Not if the American administration gets its way.

Balzac, Casanova, the Emperor Francis Joseph, Brahms, Ravel and Yuri Gagarin stayed at the George Hotel in Lviv  I expect well known Nazis too but the hotel doesn't mention this. They do mention the Communist Sartre. 

Exactly the kind of shabby grande dame of a hotel that I  most love, like the Imperial in Jerusalem, the Baron in Aleppo or the Continental in Tangier. 

I just decided to stay a other night. My room is in the front, is huge, has three beds and two wrought iron balconies that I decided to trust overlooking the Prospect (the equivalent of the Ring in Vienna or Korut in Budapest). 


  1. Your urbanity reaches new heights!

    A Political Refugee From The Global Village
    An Englishman in love with Bucharest's blowsy charms

    Lviv is wonderful and very normal, but is becoming inevitably a tourist destination
    The fools
    Travel diary

    41 followers 9 articles per week

    Feedly doesn't erase your posts.

  3. Replies
    1. I tried to figure out the reason you deleted 'The fools' post. I still have it on Feedly. I kind of like it. By the way, you have 41 followers on that platform. I wonder why they don't comment on your blog.

    2. It's back. I wanted to draw attention to this one.

  4. I guess they are modern statues? Or did the Soviets keep some Polish and Austrian ones?

  5. What is your hotel of choice in Crimea? [random question]

    1. Unfortunately I was never there. I always wanted to go before Putin went there. And that's now 11 years ago!

    2. No idea if it is possible, now that I am thinking; let alone what difference these years made.