A fairytale trip to Lviv with a huge black cat, unbelievably nice peo
A fairytale trip to Lviv
with a huge black cat,
unbelievably nice people
and a whole ocean of positivity
By Oksana Romanyuk
I fell in love with Lviv the first time I saw its gorgeous little streets with European atmosphere and the smell of happiness and peace coming from every corner. Touted as 'the new Prague', Lviv is obviously the perfect place for tourists. But this is not the reason my love for Lviv is so deep. History, architecture, and those all-important “touristy things” just don't impress me in general, no offense to Lviv. There is always something more important for me than banal sights and typical tourist pictures, and Lviv indisputably has that “something”.
I have one strong belief that I generated while traveling in the U.S. This belief is about assimilating and being a part of the city's life no matter where you go and what you like. Otherwise, the trip of a lifetime can transform into one nothing more than an album on Facebook. Now, every time I travel I always try to be not a tourist but a resident.
Lviv was definitely full of surprises for us, mostly about its people. It is almost impossible for young people from industrial cities like Dnipropetrovsk to fully understand the way of life in historical places like Lviv. Everything - from saying hello to meeting new friends - just goes in a different way there.
Lviv was actually the first city I’ve ever visited where the owners of a rented apartment were just as nice as my own parents. Or, perhaps, even nicer. To be honest, at first it was unusual and chaotic. The hospitable landlords couldn’t stop fussing around us and trying to make our stay comfortable. They made our beds, brought us new slippers so we didn’t get cold, and left cheese and bread in the fridge so we didn’t starve to death. And that’s just the beginning of the kind and caring things they had done for us before they left. Both the living room and kitchen were equipped with modern and expensive household appliances. And those “couldn’t-be-nicer” landlords didn’t even ask for our IDs – Lviv is all about trust. But the most unbelievable and weird thing in that apartment was a huge black cat. Where else can you rent an apartment with a cat living in it? I doubt you can find a place like this anywhere in the world.
Lviv is also a place of polite communication. It might seem like all the people in Lviv are nice, polite and really kind-hearted. This impression comes from their way of talking to each other. Words like “thank you” and “my pleasure” are used much more often than even necessary. Very quickly you adopt this polite way of speaking, and after some time spent among the residents of Lviv you begin saying polite words on the hoof to everyone on every corner. One day, one of my friends, who you, guys, actually know (her name is Lena Satarova - the girl who knows more about fashion than even fashion knows about itself) decided to walk alone in Lviv at about 4 a.m. Sounds pretty dangerous for Dnipropetrovsk but not for Lviv. On her walk a stranger approached her and asked if she would like to come to his place for a cup of coffee and how much it would cost. Lena was flabbergasted. She yelled at him “WHAT?” He replied in a low voice, “How much…I mean, how much would it cost to invite you for a cup of hot and tasty coffee?” Who’s to say if that’s the way a courteous man in Lviv tries to pick up a genteel, caffeine-loving prostitute.
Some will definitely say it is just an exaggeration. Maybe it actually is. My opinion is too subjective to claim to truth. At some point I was enchanted with the unique atmosphere of Lviv, its vibe, and even its smell. At the same time I would never wish to move there. There are too many churches per square meter for my liking. The atmosphere is not mine. The streets are too narrow and silent. The people are too nice and traditional.
Traditions mean a lot to Lviv people. Some stereotypes seem silly and childish. For example, they all are sure that Eastern Ukraine is so rich that all the people who live there must have tons of money. But that’s just a hang-up of a small historical city with no manufacturing base.
Talking about Lviv reminds me of singing about dancing. It’s difficult to describe it in words. But there is something you need to remember. The moral of my cock-and-bull story is not the particular town, it is assimilation. Next time when you visit this magically nice place, try to become a part of it, because that’s the only way to truly feel the spirit of a place – be it good or bad, nice or rude, black or white. (Reminded me about MJ. R.I.P.)
to tout расхваливать, рекламировать
landlord владелец квартиры, арендодатель
to fuss around суетиться, мельтешить
to starve to death умирать с голоду
household appliances бытовая техника
my pleasure пожалуйста
on the hoof на ходу; не задумываясь, спонтанно
flabbergasted ошеломленный; онемев от удивления
courteous вежливый, учтивый
genteel воспитанный; с хорошими манерами
exaggeration гиперболизация, преувеличение
to claim to truth претендовать на истину
to enchant очаровывать
vibe атмосфера, энергия, «вибрации»
hang-up пунктик, заскок
cock-and-bull story невероятная история
English4U #5 2011
в электронном виде http://presspoint.ua/press/pressiteminfo/1901