Ukraine

Ukraine welcomed us (me and Monika) with a bored customs official. We expected huge lines, but since it has been a national holidays for both the Polish and Ukrainians, we’ve crossed the border without any problems or waste of time. In a few minutes we were in Ukraine, sitting in a bus that took us straight to Lviv. We were exhausted after so many attractions in Przemyśl, but at the same time the excitement didn’t let me take a nap.

First stop – railway station and the searching for the toilet (well, the trip was kinda long). What we’ve found actually surprised us: natural-position toilet.

Then a quick stop in the Information stand to get a map of the city center and we’re off!

It was a fantastic day. We made it! Our dreams came true. Moreover, it was Monika’s birthday. As we stood in front of the church I saw something priceless and beautiful. Monika literally cried from happiness. It was another perfect day in our lives!

I need to mention that I am really good at reading maps. I can’t complain about Monika’s skills, either. But as we entered the city, immediately we got lost. Not for too long, though. Everywhere there are information signs. Also in English! I can read Cyrillic alphabet, but it takes me some time to encode it. So you can imagine how happy we were to read in English.

Along the way we saw many objects that drew our attention. Once it was an ambulance, a police car or a tram. Other times it was a stuffed animal or the architecture.

After a short stop for a coffee, we finally reached the heart of the Old Town. We blend into the crowd in the search of souvenirs, smells and flavors.

Did I mention it was a very hot day?

After a short feast for our eyes we decided to see how does the opera house look like from the inside.

It’s just a sneak peak. Come to Lviv and see how beautiful it is! At the end of the tour you can always take a picture of yourself in a sophisticated place and brag about it on your Facebook profile…

Every city has its own reasonable number of monuments and sculptures. Lviv is no different from others in this respect.

We couldn’t choose better date for that trip. At the monument of Adam Mickiewicz, the Polish poet, his countrymen were celebrating the day of The Polish diaspora. Also, Ukraine started its campaign to promote European Football Championship, shortly EURO 2012. This year Ukraine and Poland are the hosts of this event.

Ukraine it’s amazing country of amazing people. We could easily find a hipster (yup, that one with cute socks).

Now, an interesting view. The center of the city, huge crowd, noises and the music. Great atmosphere! Take a closer look. This also worked for  that baby apparently, coz as I assume wasn’t dead, just slept. Hopefully…

Nah, it was fine.

We were there only for a few days, but we managed to call Kabinet Café our favorite place.

Lychakiv Cemetery and Cemetery of the Defenders of Lviv is MUST-SEE places in Lviv.

We were extremely tired after the distance we made while walking through the cemetery. However, the day was not over yet. Next stop, Museum of Folk Architecture and Life.

Unfortunately the storm ended our sightseeing. As we were heading to the city center the rain  gained in strength, so we had to find a place to hide. And we found a squat. The residents were silent as ghosts and the atmosphere was kinda creepy, so we thought the rain isn’t that bad option for a walk…

We found another lovely place. With sweets!!!

Time go fast when you have fun! Our Ukrainian hosts took us to the greatest restaurant in the Old Town, but there was no place to sit. We agreed to come back there the next day no matter what. And we did. The last hours we dedicated to send postcards, find souvenirs and have a cup of a great coffee in a magical place.

After that trip I feel unsatisfied. I am rather greedy and I want to see everything. I know it’s impossible. Nevertheless, I like to be hungry for more excitements and sensations. It gives me an opportunity (or a need!) to go back to the places I love.

Ukraine, I’ll be back soon!

Advertisements

Big Fat Pigeons

Lucky me! Seriously!

Why?

A few days ago I couldn’t fall asleep. Usually I go to bed rather late, I’m a night owl. It was impossible to get some rest that night. I had a crisis at 7 am, no sleep though. I had no other choice than just be awake until the next evening. With that amount of time what can you do? I went to the city center to find all fat pigeons. And I think I managed to find most if not all of them.

For a while I’ve been thinking it was a dream or a mirage. But my camera says it’s true.  To prove it to you I’ll show you the photos.

Let’s count the fat pigeons. Jeez, I need to demonstrate the mathematical skills, which are limited (to say the least).

So… Shall we start?

For now we have 8 from 2 photos from previous post.

Next four birds as a traffic barriers. (8+4=12)

Lonely guard (12+1=13  – that was easy!)

Those saved my time. 1o sculptures in one place! (13+10= 23) I found them when I came back from the post office with Christmas cards.

I almost missed that triangle! (23+3= 26 seems like a half already caught)

Aww, a pink one! Cutie! While I am amazed of their diversity in my sister’s head there are totally different thoughts… Fortunately for me I can read her mind: “Hamburgers and pigeons… Pigeons and hamburgers… Coincidence? I don’t think so… ”  (26+3=29)

Another lonely guard. Good pigeon, good boy. Nobody will steal my car now. (29+1=30)

Gang of 6 cuties (30+6=36)

“Don’t panic bro, just blend in the crowd and we all gonna be fine” (36+2=38)

(38+4=42)

Clever beasts! (42+2=44)

Who will blink first? Blinks fight! (44+2=46)

Yeah, it’s about that lonely brave knight but when you’ll see IT, you gonna smile… (46+1=47)

Gutter cleaners. (47+2=49)

It becomes very popular here in Tallinn: your own parking pigeon. New trend, real talk. (49+1=50 magic number!)

Sweet couple (50+2=52)

Sweeter couple (52+2=54)  Oh, and worth to notice: next to them you can find a bench dedicated to Chopin!

(54+4=58) They are located next to the Freedom Square

The last couple I could find. (58+2=60  and dammit, “over 50” it’s not 60 or more! I have wrong information.. but still had fun looking for them)

But hey, why was I so lucky? Oh, the day was perfect for a walk: excellent visibility, sun shining like it was spring, not winter, cup of hot coffee in my hands and the pigeons everywhere!

And a small bonus in the end of the day: a snow! Ah, it made me really happy! First snow this year! Now I’m in the Christmas mood. The landscape has changed dramatically. It seems like my walk was the last glimpse of autumn. I made it just in time.

One more thing…  The artist himself with his art:

I find this task as unfinished… Wait for me, pigeons!

Bird is the word!

If you find yourself these days in the Old Town of Tallinn around 4 in the morning I suggest you to sit on a bench for a while. Why, you ask. I assume you probably are not an ornithologist, but you may have a piece of romantic soul to appreciate that moment. First you hear the engine of the passing car (Oh, come on! Try a little harder). Than you catch some noises of the most persistent Englishmen that are trying to find their hostels after great party. And boom! Suddenly you are able to hear ultrasounds! You realize you can hear the birds singing. Isn’t it magical? To make this moment even sweeter you can look at the sky and admire the stars (I never did that, I avoid sugar).
If you’re not a night owl, but an early bird (a bird idioms! Coincidence? I don’t think so…), then you may prefer Kadriorg Park. The birds start their performance pretty early, around 5-6 p.m.

By the way…
Did you know that the swallow is the national bird of Estonia? Well, now you know.

Strange, since September I haven’t seen a single swallow. No wonder I’ve seen a lot of seagulls and crows instead – it’s a seaside town.

by Monika

That one is creepy! Discovery of a leg is quite enough for one day, even if it’s doll’s leg. Yeah, it seems like that crow say: “Wat are ya lookin’ at, eh?” So, I’ll just go back home… Yup, great idea!
Not only lack of swallows concerns me, but also relatively small number of pigeons. I mean, I don’t complain, but still I find it rather strange to not see any pigeon in a town square. No worries, I managed to find one in a Russian market. I imagined it differently, though.

Can you see him? He’s pissed, don’t mess with him. Mr. Poopet doesn’t like you. And don’t even try to scare him. He was trained by Royal Air Force soldiers. He’s very…ekhm precise. Just give him your muffin, don’t argue, just do it.

Apparently, I’m not the only pigeon’s “fan”. Aivar Simson, Estonian artist likes them so much, that he made about 50 concrete pigeon’s sculptures and located them in the city center. The idea was put into effect in 2005. Each one weight about 300-400 kg and is about 50 cm high. Where exactly they are located? Well, that’s my task to find each and every pigeon! I’ve seen maybe about 20 so far. 30 more – can be done.

Aren’t they cute?
To be honest, my first thought was “What the… What’s that?! I almost walked into this…” And then I recognized the shape and I was sure it was a swallow. Big fat swallow. But now I have confirmed information that those are pigeons. Big fat pigeons.

Still cute!

by Monika

First Sight

Since I’ve decided to choose Estonia to live in for a few months, I thought it would be fantastic to know it better. Probably I will never manage to become a local, but dammit, I’ll try!

I’m here for two months and still haven’t seen all of what Tallinn has to offer. However, I’ve already found some places that I like to call “my favourites”.

It may sound like a madman speech, but as a woman I’m familiar with the art of reading maps. It saved a lot of my time, when I got lost discovering that charming area. It’s worth to remember: a precise map is priceless…

After some time I felt so comfortable that I didn’t even bother to take the map with me. One day I met truly nice New Yorker who missed his train and asked me to show him the city from my perspective. Kinda hard task, since he had already seen it. We decided to have a cup of coffee in order to wait until it gets darker to see the beauty of Old Town at night. Long story short: he needed to show me the way back, because I got confused. What a fail! But it was just for your information, got it, right?

That gentleman also had an interesting observation about the view on the Old Town from the terrace. He imagined that in such place Margaret (from Bulgakov’s masterpiece) was flying on a broom.

The next photo contains 5 elements that are close to my heart. At first glance there is nothing special in it at all. But it takes one moment spent there to understand it well.

(1) The picture was taken in a small, but cute park I like to visit.

(2) Starting from the bottom of the picture – there is a sculpture of a man without any particular name. I saw it for the first time in the guidebook that my friend gave me as a gift for my trip. My first task was to find it and surprisingly I did. But what is interesting, I found it by a chance. That man has a huge foot comparing to his head. With my friend we came up with a story that fits best to this anomaly. We decided it’s not perspective that makes it so strange, but… It’s a midget ninja assassin, killing some guy (yeah, my creepy imagination). That seems to be realistic somehow…

(3) A little above you can notice very small bridge. What you may not see is a swing. I don’t know who made it, but I would like to hug him and thank for so much fun I had there! Well, since I’m tall I have literally high demands for swings. Honestly, that piece of wood and the rope is made for me!

(4) At the top of the photo there are terraces – excellent viewpoints to admire the Old Town or to think through the meaning of the life.

(5) Above the bridge there are some threes that perfectly hide a path I like wander unnoticed. If you don’t believe me, than check it out:

I told you… More faith in me!

by Monika

It’s just a massive concrete. I was told it’s a heritage from Soviets. Somehow it seems to be monumental. It’s huge and ugly. I have no clue why I do like it. It’s not the first time when ugliness attracts me. The finest example is Polish city Łódź, but maybe some other time about it.

Maybe the key to this issue is a dual contrast. From the one hand the beauty of the city and its modernity, and in opposite side the splendor and the power of the sea, the overwhelming sound of the waves… Dunno.

to be continued…