Category Archives: Mostly Tourism

WAX seal on Art museum door

It seems to have been recently used – probably as a part of the Covid tyranny, shutting down cultural centers.

The museum was open. As you can see, the seal is broken.

Sadly, they would not let enter the museum without these ridiculous certificates they started mandating a couple of months ago.

Thankfully, most restaurants have begun ignoring them. It’s also easy to make fake ones – many of my friends have done so. But I won’t. I think compliance only emboldens them.

The restricting of museums definitely reduces Lviv’s appeal.

November Trip to the Carpatians

The Rocks are known locally as the “Uhorski Skeli” (Hungarian Cliffs) or “Carpy”.

Apparently “Carpy” are also legendary giants who some believe first settled the Carpathian mountains. They said that some of the giants sat down and turned into those stones.

In the gallery below, be sure to check out the home-made wheel barrow at the remote and isolated homestead where we stopped for lunch.

Christmas Eve at the Bear Sanctuary

For Catholic Christmas eve, we went to see Saint Nicholas at the bear sanctuary near Lviv. It was a beautiful evening, with snow falling gently the whole time.

I believe Saint Nicholas was a priest. He was a remarkable listener, and his conversation with my son was fascinating. He advised him to avoid fries and candy and to eat potatoes and borshch and salo (a Ukrainian lard dish), and other good Galician Ukrainian food. Though at the end of it, he gave a bag of candies as a gift.

My son answered a question about our Christmas decorations – that they’re mostly on the stairs that go up to the room where his dad (me) works. When Saint Nicholas asked for more detail, Danny struggled with an explanation a bit, and then waved his had dismissively and said “you’ll see when you visit”.

My son told him in great detail how he doesn’t go to nursery school because they made him put on a costume there, and he didn’t like that, and after that his mother allowed him to stop going. I didn’t think my son remembered that in such detail.

He also explained to Saint Nicholas that after people die they go to live with God for a while, but he thinks they then come back to live another life. He’s asked about dying since we visited a historic cemetery where a relative of mine was doing restoration work on historic grave monuments and chapels, and perhaps also since reading Charlotte’s Web.

Saint Nicholas told him he always brings gifts, and that people sometimes talk about him bringing switches to bad children, but that that has yet to happen.

After a long and engaging conversation, my son looked at me and said, “I’m bored.” As we left, there was a single family waiting to enter the cabin. Their child saw Saint Nicholas and let out a scream.

Later we saw the man who’d dressed as Saint Nicholas in the cafe, and he told me that I have a great son, that angels are speaking through him, and that it’s encouraging for him to know such people exist.

We gifted a shopping bag full of fruit and a crate of eggs to the sanctuary. We went on a tour of the sanctuary that included their kitchen and veterinary room. They have 29 bears, and capacity for 30. These are bears who’ve been kept in captivity and are unfit for release in the wild. They sterilize them, because even their children who would be without examples of surviving in the wild, would be unfit for release. Apparently there are about 250 wild bears in Ukraine, and the same number in captivity.

The sanctuary has an ingenious system of gates between the different plots of land, and tunnels, so that any bear can be led to any part of the sanctuary with no need for tranquilizers and transport.

The tour took us right to the door of a cage where two bears were lying in hay and not quite sleeping – they lifted their heads to look at us, just a meter or so away. Some bears apparently prefer to sleep in these little rooms rather than outside. They let them decide.

In other part of the sanctuary there were four playful cubs. Apparently the three new arrivals had only just accepted the other cub who’d been there longer and started socializing with him. They were as lively as our guide as ever seen them. They converged on a snowball our guide threw over the fence. He gave a snowball for my son to throw as well, explaining that they’re so excited about it because they think it’s food. About ten minutes later, my son asked if he could have an apple to throw over of the fence so that the bears wouldn’t be mad at him for tricking them. Bless his heart. The guide explained that they weren’t upset, and in fact they probably enjoyed the game.


1. American Gothic Replica with faces of Ukrainian poets Taras Shevchenko and Lecia Ukrajinka.

2. Replica of the video game cover art for “Doom” with a play on words from a famous Shevchenko poem: “Doomy moyi doomy, Lyxo meni z vamy.” The lines translate to “Thought, my thought, it’s difficult with you.”

Ukrainian Team wins 23rd European Team Chess Championship 2021

Ukrainians convincingly won Armenia in the direct encounter for the top, with the 3-1 result, to have the final score of 14 match points. Korobov Anton was the first one to bring a decisive point for Ukraine, defeating Sargissian Gabriel on the first board. Volokitin Andrei beat Martirosyan Haik while Schevchenko Kirill and Hovhannisyan Robert, and Onyshchuk Volodymyr and Ter-Sahakyan Samvel agreed for a draw.

Firouzja Alireza brought the victory to the French team, as he overcame Mamedyarov Shakhriyar in a pawn-up rooks endgame after the boards 2, 3 and 4 ended their games in a peaceful manner. With this victory, Firouzja Alireza became the youngest chess player to cross 2800 rating aged 18 years and 5 months. Magnus Carlsen cross 2800 rating when aged 18 years and 11 months!

Final Standins

Underdog Alexander Usyk defeats Anthony Joshua to become Heavyweight Champion

Scores of 113-115, 112-116 and 112-117 fail to reflect just how dominant the Ukrainian was as he became just the third fighter in boxing history to hold titles at both cruiserweight and heavyweight.

After the fight, he cited his devotion to Jesus Christ, waved the Ukrainian flag, and danced hopak.

With stunning win over Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk stakes claim as best pound-for-pound fighter

Friday Night in Lviv

God, I love this city. I had a rare excuse to go out on the town, as a colleague was visiting from the US. Granted, part of the thrill for me was vigorous conversation in my native and beloved English language. But the rest of it was the magic of Lviv.

As an old acquainstance one said: “L’viv is what Paris used to be in a by-gone age, and pretends to still be.”

The streets were packed with students, young couples, families, elderly, tourists – many of them seemingly Arab, as I think Ukraine is one of the countries with the most relaxed Covid-related restrictions.

All the bars and restaurants were packed. We had to skip a few because there was no seating. There wasn’t a mask in sight. And no police either, because Lviv remains an extraordinarily safe city.

Every other street seemed to have some musician or performer. All faces were relaxed and happy. All eyes were shining and looking around, enjoying the spectacles.

We peered in to a relatively new restaurant in the city square which I’d known of, but never visited. European Medieval theme. A bit kitschy. They had a sword in a stone from the Arthurian Legend, and a throne where you can turn a noisy crank and lower a crown onto whoever sits there. They had a pickle spearing game, and apparently all their recipes are from hundreds of years ago.

But the place was full, so we went to a newly-opened Langoustine restaurant and sat outside to people watch.

Then we went to Four Friends Whiskey for a shot, and then back to the central square to the classical Galician style Atlas restaurant.