Thursday, November 22, 2012

train to ukraine

There was only a night train from Krakow to Lviv in Ukraine (not 'the Ukraine' anymore please to note!) which is a pity as I love train journeys for a chance to see scenery.  

Facetiously (I feel) called a sleeper, it was as hot as Hades inside and with two passport checks half an hour apart in the middle and arriving at 5am Poland time and not 6am because of the time difference, I had bugger all chance of any sleep.  

On arrival, at about 2degC. in complete darkness I set off for the half hour walk to the hostel. I had no Ukranian money on me and the station had no money change open. Besides, all taxi drivers are thievin' bastards and I wouldn't in my wildest dreams attempt to get a bus. Often, if it less than 3 or 4 kms I much prefer to walk.  

The hostel let me in early and even gave me an unmade up room to wait in until my room was ready. I crashed for 5 hours!   The weather is still completely overcast, there is a fog that hangs around - much like as in Krakow. And it is a lot colder.

Lviv seems to be a blend of European style and Soviet Brutalism! Ukranian is the main spoken language.  

My hostel is on one of the exclusive shopping streets of Lviv around the corner from the main avenue.

I realise I will end up having four days here due to an early morning arrival and the fact that my train leaving Lviv doesn't depart until almost 9pm.   Oh my lordy lordy what to do with all that time?  

First impression is that there is a lot of public sculpture. But it is almost always 'in memoria' of some figure of history (arts/politics/sciences). Nothing whimsical or purely aesthetic in nature.  

Architecturally there seems to be a blend of Western Classical/Romanticism with a Soviet hard edge to it. Also, economically, the city shows signs of fiscal neglect.  

This was made very apparent when I visited the Museum of Fine Arts. A depressing slightly grungy building with woeful presentation, lit by fluoresecent light where about 30% were not working. I was the only visitor, and each floor I visited would be immediately preceded by a gallery attendant who would switch on the lights when I entered and turn them off again after I left.  

Gloria Jeans cafe on the corner of my street is apparently Lviv's apotheosis of style and class.

monument in town centre

view towards lviv opera house

architectural detail

big guy (no idea!)


wires 'n' spires


bloke on a horse (with snake)

bas relief

lviv university

uni mural

statue of lviv native - Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (or whipping post?!)


architectural detail

street sculpture - local physicist

boim chapel - mannerist marvel

ivan franko - local guy makes good

museum of fine arts

touch of the richard larters?

typical example of art in the gallery

blue road? nice one!

1 comment:

Mike said...

The only thing I knew about Lviv was that it's the birthplace of one of my favourite writers, Stanislaw Lem. Lemberg is the German name for Lviv. It was part of Poland when he was born, which partly explains why so many famous Poles were born there.

The serpent-killer on the horse is St George. The book-holder is C16th Ivan Federov,a founder of printing and publishing in the Ukraine.