I traveled to Rivno (west of Kyiv about 4 hours by car) on Thursday with another IMB colleague. We were to attend a missions conference.
On the drive out there, we ate lunch at the local “truck stop’ in Zhytomer. It was a combination gas station, restaurant and hotel on the edge of town. Shannon said that he had stopped there before and the meals were pretty good and it was! I had something that would have passed as chicken fried steak (without the gravy!). Yummie!
We arrived in Rivno and spent the afternoon with another IMB family that lives there. That evening, we had dinner at a local restaurant called, “Blues” and had the decor of a blues bar. We attended the conference that evening. It was great to meet Ukrainian missionaries that the church in Rivno had sent out. I met one guy serving in Armenia.
The next morning Shannon and I drove on to Lviv (far western Ukraine, near the Polish border), where he lives. On the way there, a guy called and asked him to stop at a camp along the way to visit some Americans who were visiting. The camp is set up to host deaf camps. It was a great facility and we had a good time meeting with them all.
We arrived in Lviv late in the afternoon, rested a bit, and then I went with Shannon to a meeting he had to attend. They speak only Ukrainian in the far west. It is difficult for me to understand as I can only get about 1 word out of every 9-10 words. There are some similarites, but my ear has not been trained to understand Ukrainian!
We arrived back at his house around 9 p.m. and ate the beef stew his wife had prepared. We visited some and then went to bed.
I have traveled through Lviv on the train a couple of times, but it has always been in the middle of the night, so I had not seen the city. On Saturday, Shannon and Katie took me downtown. I had a wonderful time. It is a nice city, with narrow streets, lots of different architecture (depending on who was ruling Lviv at the time).
The city (and some of western Ukraine) has been a part of the Austrian-Hungarian dynasty, part of Poland, part of the Soviet Union and now part of Ukraine. I got to see the old city wall, a beautiful Armenian church and many other different churches. It really is a mixed bag of languages, cultures, and religions there.
We had coffee and cake in a delightful shop downtown. It was really nice and I really enjoyed my time there.
I got on the train at 11 p.m. to return to Kiev. It is an overnight train that arrives in Kiev at 7:30 a.m. so it was really nice to get on late, go to sleep and then get off right after waking up.
I hope to visit Lviv in the summer when it is warmer…