So after a long delay in Warsaw, I'm finally in Lviv, Ukraine. I'm at the Hotel Leopolis, sitting in a covered veranda resteraunt over looking a busy square and walkway. Everyone here seems young and healthy; Hotel Leopolis seems high end so maybe this is a fashionable district.
- the Lviv airport customs were fast and efficient, and seems to be run by military.
- on the drive to the hotel, passed by Soviet era apartment blocks, monolithic structures showing their age.
- many buildings are made of brick, but the brick is hidden by a stucco facade which is crumbling.
- lots of street music, not of the highest quality, mostly covers of pop songs in English
Lviv feels like a vibrant young city, sitting on top of an old substructure.
You could say that I'm here out of family loyalty, since my grandfather, Bernard E. Mishuris was born in the Ukraine. That is part of the reason.
You could say that I'm here because Suzanne challenged me to think of a place I'd like to visit, to which I responded Poland or Ukraine, and now I'm obstinantly seeing that statement through. That is another part of the reason.
But the main reason I'm here is that I love history and discovery, and my coming travels will explore both regional and family history. I hope to see the place my grandfather described in his autobiography. I hope to find another link in the family tree. And I want to find the lost colony of Gelbinova (more on that later).
Tomorrow I meet up with Alex Dunai, my tour guide/translator/driver. Alex will give me a short tour of Lviv, then we will drive partway to Balta and stop in Vinnytsa for the night.
On Sunday, we'll finish the journey and begin to explore Balta. We may meet up with Vadim Vinyarskiy, chairman of the local Balta Jewish congregation. Perhaps we will look for Gelbinova and spend the night in Kryve Ozero, a nearby town with a good hotel.
On Monday Vadim will give us a walking tour of Balta, hopefully showing us the Jewish cemeteries.
On Tuesday we will finish up in Balta and drive back to Vinnytsa.
On Weds Alex will drive me back Lviv.
On Thurs I will take a very early flight Paris and meet up with Suzanne and Sophie again.
That's it for now.