Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 49 - National Women's Day - Lviv, Ukraine

Coming out of the train station in Lviv, you could already tell it would be a fabulous day. The sun was shining, and the temperature was above freezing, and I could only see small patches of old melting snow on some of the grass. It was the perfect sort of day for the Ukranian Celebration of National "Women's Day". Our tour guide for Lviv met us right outside of the train, and we were led to the trolley which took us down to the Center of Lviv.

Wow that place was absolutely gorgeous; there were these ladies in big old-fashioned poofy dresses walking around selling lolly pops, the buildings stood tall and bright and old and unique all around us, we found these statue guys who would sit there without moving until you came and sat by them (the painter guy would paint your nose if you did!), there were tourists everywhere, and the whole thing reminded me much of the feeling you get as your walking through Disneyland on a nice summer's day. I think my favorite part of the tour was going up this really tall tower in the middle of Lviv and looking out at the grand city below. He told us about the different buildings and some history; like how there used to be this law that no body could have any bigger than a certain size flat in which they could live in so most of the buildings are only three windows wide BUT there was this one king who got a double flat because, well it had something to do with him being a king. I took a ton of pictures up there too. There were a couple girls there who had bought some bubbles and were blowing them, which only added to the awesome effect of the beautiful spring day. We toured around some more, but then we were set free to spend our time as we liked within the city. I went with some girls to do some souvenir shopping, we spent time looking at some old buildings and churches (which were all so different yet amazing!) and found our way to this outside market, where we spent most the rest of our time. I was in the middle of bartering down a Ukranian hand-painted nesting doll when we had to go, but it was okay because I'm pretty sure they have very much the same thing in just about any souvenir market you find back in Kyiv :)

Oh and then came our ever "too long" bus adventure to Romania. Somehow the rumor got around that the bus ride would only be about 4 to 6 hours long so we'd definitely be there in time to be at our hotel and sleeping in real beds by midnight. Everyone was gung-ho until midnight rolled around and we hadn't even crossed the boarder to Romania yet; it would be a MUCH longer bus-ride than we expected. My food rations were skimming down to a few pieces of bread and an apple or two, and I had only maybe a gulp left of water in my water bottle. So with the next step of our journey not coming as soon as I thought it would, I knew it would be a while before I got any real food in my stomach. The seats were uncomfortable for sleeping, and I felt more squished than the train-ride with the 2 by 3 foot of space I had to keep me and all of the stuff I would need for the ride. The people around me seemed very complaisant too, and it took quite the amount prayer and effort to get myself back from my pessimistic attitude. It helped to have a sense of humor about it all and to look at everything from everyone else's perspective too. We were told such a short time, but I figured if I'd been told it would be a 20 hour bus ride, I probably would have been glad to have made it there in only 14! Anyways the trip wasn't really all that awful; it was fun talking and getting to know some of the other ILP's and it was nice being in the bus while looking outside at the trees and hills and houses and churches going by. It was definitely a good learning experience for me about how to turn my attitude around :)

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