At the end of a haphazard year working in Kyiv I took an overnight train to Lviv, to experience the more relaxed, old-fashioned side to Ukraine. Colleagues had mentioned the tasty food and bright buildings in the west of the country, as well as the European atmosphere that hints at its proximity to Poland. It seemed an ideal place to spend the New Year’s holidays.
If November is Ukraine’s most melancholy month, January is its toughest. With the lawyers I work for coming back from their winter breaks with all the enthusiasm of “dvoiki” schoolboys returning to class on the first day of term, and European investors waiting for the results of Ukraine’s presidential elections before calling upon the lawyers, I have all the time in the world to indulge in my hobbies. It is an opportunity to start the year creatively and productively, but the month goes to waste. Determined to develop my writing I search on Kyiv’s newsstands, in its online ‘papers and on the lips of its people for a story to turn into an article – and find that there is only one: the arrival of a bitterly cold spell of weather that puts paid to all but the most mundane activities.
Lviv, January 2009 No Ukrainian apartment is complete without an eccentricity or two. The clean, stylish place on vulytsya Fedorova in Lviv, which Ana and I had rented for two days in January, was no […]
Kyiv, November 2009 November is Ukraine’s most melancholic month. The temperature falls below freezing, and the orange and yellow leaves that make October so picturesque fall on to the street and are trodden into dirty […]