Train to Odessa, Ukraine

I’m on the train bound for Odessa. The Ukrainian night is starkly black. I see no towns outside my window. In a way, I feel like I’m in Dr. Zhivago, traversing the lonely and foreboding Russian wilderness, yet I know that I’m passing through some of the richest farmland in all of Europe.

It’s a twelve-hour ride to my destination. At first, I was going to fly, even though the price tag was $299, an amount I was not thrilled to pay. My brother’s girlfriend, Marina, told me to take the train, so I acquiesced. It was only a nineteen-dollar ticket. Continue reading

Lviv, First Day

I’ve been in Lviv for one day and I’m already in love with it and with Ukraine.

My host, Ed and his wife, Natasha, took me on a two hour walking tour of Lviv today to get me acquainted with the area and the major sites. Edward is much like my Krakow host, Aleksander, knowledgeable about Ukraine, its history, its people, and its geopolitics.

As we walked, Ed pointed out churches, statues and parks. And I found myself swept away by the architecture and the fascinating history behind not only Lviv, but Ukraine. Somehow, actually being here makes this information resonate more within me. Continue reading