I set my alarm on my phone to wake me up at five so I could ride into Lviv as early as possible this morning. However a combination of total exhaustion from the day before coupled with the early morning darkness and cold meant that it wasn't long before I'd thrown that plan out of the window.
I did manage to get out on the road at around six thirty and started the forty or so kilometres ride to the small city of Lviv. It's my last stop on what has been a rather whistle stop tour of the country; I've been here almost two weeks now. I've been told by many people that it's a place full of charm and certainly worth a couple of days visit.
I arrived in the city later than I planned slap bang in the middle of early morning rush hour traffic. If this wasn't bad enough part of Lviv's charm I suppose is in it's medieval stone cobbled streets; a complete nightmare for my poor bike. I tried my best to negotiate the wheels over the surface but in the end had to give in when faced with a steep climb into the city itself and up and around some hairpin like corners.
Lviv isn't a big city, in fact I'd say it's more of a large town and my first impressions were very good. Lots of stunning old buildings mixed in with impressive churches; it does to a certain extent feel like stepping back in time. By this point I'd decided that the best course of action was to push the bike through the streets as I was following GPS instructions. Not only did I have to contend with traffic and cobbled paving but Lviv also has trams another total disaster for thin bike tires.
I eventually came to the hostel I'd located online, The Kosmonaut. I haven't stayed in a hostel for a while but a quick Internet search brought up a number of options in Lviv. I chose this one primarily on the basis that many people said that it has the friendliest staff in the whole of Lviv.
The unfortunate thing however for me was that it's located on the 3rd floor of a building which meant lugging my bike upstairs for the first time in a while. I checked in very early and my first impressions of the place are very good, apparently it recently underwent some renovation work and certainly looks good value for money at just over six pounds a night. I naturally went for the cheapest option the eight bed mixed dorm. Part of my reason for coming and staying in a hostel was that it's been a while since I interacted with fellow travellers so you can imagine my slight disappointment when I realized that I was in fact the only person staying here. Every cloud though and it did mean that I have the whole of a large room all to myself.
One of the great joys of staying in a apartment or hostel is getting into the shower and the shower in the I'm glad to report is excellent.
My original plan was to stay here for one day but by the time I'd showered and shaved and made a cup of tea it was already lunch time. I was still feeling a bit on the tired side when I stepped out into the midday sun to take a walk around the city.
This is the problem when you arrive somewhere by bike I'm more often than not pretty tired after riding and the next thing I know I have to get out and about and see the city.
I have a small book, well two in fact where I do all of my planning. The first book is pretty much in pieces but the second one is surviving pretty well. I take it everywhere with me and it contains plans, routes, road numbers and distances. After consulting the Internet I realize it's about 350 kilometres to Krakow in Poland and that realistically I can expect to be in the Mnichovo Hradiste in the Czech Republic to meet my good friend Kauli s I planned on the 31st of August; although there is some talk of him coming and riding with me a bit when I cross over the border from Poland. I have a little bit of time to play with so I figure if I stay here an extra day it won't make any difference.
I'm a real planner when it comes to the daily riding and how far I go but put me in a city and I become the polar opposite. My way of sightseeing is to basically walk out onto the street and just go with the flow. I have a general idea of where the main sites are and just go from there. I'm terrible for remembering the names of the buildings or statues I take pictures of but everyone has their own way of seeing a place.
I walked up the hill in the city which leads to a nice park. I was surprised when I got up to the top but also pleased in some way to see that not many people had bothered to come up here and it was wonderfully quiet. I met a couple of Polish guys who rode over the border from Poland today and are doing a mini tour of Ukraine.
I was seriously tired when I finally decided to head back to the hostel around four. I picked up some shopping from a small shop nearby and as the hostel has a small kitchen plan to do a bit of cooking later on in the evening.
I'm still alone in the hostel but it's enabled me to catch up on my blog which is never a bad thing. Well that is all you are getting for now as I'm tired and need some 'Paul time' Until we meet again...........