If you have read the previous post you will know that I gave a brief description of Lviv and posted it around mid-day. I then decided where I would head to in the morning and made a hotel booking in case the border crossing was bad and it was late when I arrived. I then went walking around the city again before packing up ready for today’s drive. Bad plan!
I discovered a considerable amount more about the city of Lviv that I hadn’t discovered earlier and it is a beautiful city. Those that follow me regularly will know I am not a lover of cities, I prefer nature, mountains and deserts. Lviv, even under the current circumstances is vibrant, the population is enjoying its freedom, the children were playing, screaming and laughing in the waterspouts of the main square. On almost all of the park benches there are earnest chess matches being played by enthusiastic men of all ages and I wouldn’t dare to refer to them as amateurs. There are buskers entertaining, the cafes are doing a brisk trade and lots of people are taking photographs of friends outside the Opera House. There are even several soldiers on weekend leave, strolling with their families.
I discovered in the old town, a market specialising in bric-a-brac, some of which might well have been antique. The old town is also host to hundreds of restaurants and cafes well, populated with youngsters, and I don’t include McDonalds in this category.
I considered changing my plan to leave tomorrow but had made the hotel reservation earlier that is something I don’t often do, for this very reason. Then, just to make it even more difficult for me I received a message from Andrei, the husband of a family I met in the hotel garage when I was parking Bridget. They were inviting me out to dinner that evening. By the time we managed to actually get into direct contact they had already started dinner with their 3 year old and I had eaten in the old city, so we arranged to meet for a drink.
They were spending a few days in Lviv with their daughter, Sonja, before heading back to Kyiv where they live. They confirmed that life in this area of Ukraine, and to a similar extent in Kyiv, is back almost too normal. They do have to take into account that occasional rockets will be fired at them, so they keep within the heavily built-up areas whenever possible and away from public buildings, otherwise things are reasonably settled. After we finished our drinks we took Sonja to a play-area where she treated me like a granddad.
I did eventually leave mid-morning and drove towards the Polish border. Once again the drive was through peaceful, beautiful countryside, although there were several roadblocks to contend with. At one, all the guards, who were in the late teens, early twenties, came over to take photos of the car. Three particularly wanted to pose with me and the car and so I got them to take a couple for me as well!
Two miles from the border I was stopped at another checkpoint and told the border post was closed. I was told I would have to find another one, but then one of the guards realising it wasn’t that easy for a complete stranger showed me on the map where the nearest one was. However the roads were minor and difficult to follow and on top of that the authorities have built several new roads that aren’t on the map at all. Driving down the approach road I had a strange feeling, almost guilt at leaving behind and running away from everything I had seen over the past three days. I have never felt anything like it in all the sixty countries we have visited. Eventually, I found the crossing and spent 45 minutes going through the usual border paperwork.
The remainder of the journey was on surprisingly good roads as we made our way to Rzeszow in Poland.