Cafe Cafe during a storm

A violent thunderstorm blew into L’viv with buckets of water falling from the sky, blue flashes of lightning, and instant, ear-splitting thunder.

I was in the center, returning from a purchase of train tickets. The lines were long and I had been thinking angry thoughts about gross inefficiency and the life-times Ukrainians spend waiting in lines or getting things stamped — the country’s two main pastimes.

The restaurants in the center all filled instantly with Ukrainians and tourists. A small crowd did remain outside under their umbrellas watching musicians set up on a stage in Rynok square.

People waited under awnings and in doorways for the rain to pass. The rain was so fierce, that even people eating under the large canopies many restaurants set up in the streets opened their umbrellas against the splash and wind.

After darting between various cafes, I feel fortunate to have gotten the last table at one of my favorite places, Cafe Cafe, which probably has the best casual combination of good service and reliable wifi in L’viv.

Show tunes are playing. I was served instantly and ordered pasta and tea. My jeans and shirt are drying. The rain seems to be subsiding already, and the thunder more distant.