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Tuesday, July 23: Day 92 – Livin’ in Lviv

It is time to leave the Schengen. Schengen is the area of Europe that can be visited by Americans without a visa. One can only stay there 90 days.

When we arrived at the train station in Lviv, Ukraine, we had definitely crossed into a different world. This bus called a marshrutka rattled down the road and the brakes squealed when it stopped. They are small and always packed full of people.

Not only letters are morphing into different shapes, the city still seemed pretty rundown … like resources are not readily available. We must remember that a war is currently going on with Russia near the Crimea.

I noted that many girls have long hair and wear fanny packs across the front of their bodies. Everything is even more inexpensive than Poland. We had a pizza and sodas for $9.

Rob forgot that we had to pay in cash for our arrival. (Perhaps this is because when Ukraine split up from USSR, the monies that they had in the Soviet banks were gone.) Rob had to go to an ATM. He could not get money out. We tried several times to no avail. Yanka was very patient and even taught me a few Ukrainian words while Rob called our bank. They suggested that we try another ATM machine as everything looked fine on their end. Viola!! It looked like Rob had robbed the bank.

Our apartment has a mural in the bedroom that covers the entire wall.

We have a Google Keep note to check on the equipment and staples that we have prior to going to the grocery store such as oil, salt, TP, etc.

Another Google Keep note has a grocery checklist. In Ukraine, you can buy one or more eggs but you put them in a plastic bag. I opted for the carton but do you notice a difference?

It doesn’t come as a dozen. I think that this must be a metric carton!!

When we buy produce, we must weigh it on the scale in order to print a ticket. THERE ARE NO PICTURES!!

We had to ask for help.

Lviv has a population of 800,000 with 2.5 million tourists each year. It looks more like Western Europe not like a Ukrainian city. It was first mentioned in 1256 as gift to the king’s son named Leo. His name means lion and that is a symbol of the city. In fact, one can spot them everywhere as there are over 4,500.

Lviv has been tossed around by many nations AND each nation called it by another name AND brought their own religion. (I hope that this gives you the general idea as it is very complex.)

Lviv-Ukraine (1256)-Ukrainian Greek Orthodox

Lwow-Polish (1349 until 1772) and brought Catholicism. During that time in 1704, Swedes entered through a door left open in the city wall. (Note to self: Check that the door is locked!)

Lemburg-Austria. In 1772, the map of Europe changed and Lviv was part of Austria.

Then there were the blends of churches:

Ukrainian Catholic Church of Orthodox Tradition

Greek Catholic Church

Armenian Christian Church. (Armenia was the first country to declare Christianity as their state religion – in 301 AD)

Back to the march of the nations:

1918 Poland

Lvov-Russian 1939 Soviet

1941 German occupied.

1944 Soviet

In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence. Russia feels the Ukraine belongs to Russia.

Christians felt that when they died, it was better to be buried close to the church. However, that was in the heart of the city. Also, they started to realize that it was affecting the underground water and causing disease so in the 17th century the caskets were moved out of the churches to graveyards outside of the city.

However the Boim family chapel was saved because it was large and shared a wall with a house.

It is like a museum. The outside is made of sandstone so it is porous and takes on dirt and smog to have a black appearance.

Both inside and outside have elaborate carvings from scenes in the Bible. This building has been referred to as the poor man’s Bible since the poor were unable to read but could see these illustrations.

One of the Wroclaw dwarfs called “The Traveler” has arrived nearby. The mayor of Wroclaw brought him a year ago to the Boim chapel since the builder of the chapel was from Wroclaw.

They’re everywhere!!!!

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