From Lviv we took one of the little yellow buses called mashrutka to I-F which is in old Galicia and in the southern Carpathian Mountains. The ride was four hours and stopped or went through a number of little towns on a two lane road. We came to call the matrushkas "bumpy-buses. The bus depot in I-F was incomprehensible to understand, but we found a taxi that would take us to the hotel we thought we might stay in. The hotel was full but the desk young lady said she knew of one that would have a room and called for us. It was a short walk over to the other hotel. It turns our the two desk clerks had worked together in Colonial Williamsburg as interns. This hotel was next to a synagogue and had a kosher kitchen with really good food. It is only a couple years of and named Pid Templem. We would order breakfast the night before as well as give a time and it was ready in the morning. There is an indoor-outdoor market there that knocked our socks off. HUGE! Everything under the sun. Watching it all work was fascinating. We began eating vareneki in I-F, one of the nation dishes of Ukraine. Some may know them as perogies. There was a public call to prayer around the square, reminiscent of Istanbul only for the Orthodox.. There is a TI office inside the building in the middle of the square as well as city offices and fine museum. We had a nice conversation with the women in the museum, one of which spoke English, is an art student in Poland, and let us take some forbidden photos. As a matter of fact they made us stand in front of their most important icon and took our photo with it. Back to the hotel for vareneki and Hoegaarden beer which is kosher. I'll be you didn't know that.
I-F was a highlight of our trip - we stayed in an old hotel overlooking an entrance to the main square - where the flower sellers were. Watching them and their helpers (handlers??) well into the evening was quite interesting. Also saw several wedding parades from our window - the wedding culture was quite interesting - rented dresses, rented cars, parades to all the monuments for pictures - such fun.
Weren't those weddings neat? I've got some wonderful pictures of brides and wedding parties. I think all the weddings give the feeling of prosperity and faith in the country. Same with all the little kids.
Our route took us from Kviv to Kamnayets-Podilskyi, then by bus (bigger bus) all day to a small down in the Carpatians - can't remember the name - then we were driven (by our lodging host to Ivano-Frankivsk) - he took us to two tourist hotels which really didn't appeal (one was listed as a 4, but when we left the newly renovated main lobby and past the 1st floor, it rapidly became a 1 or less). Anyway, we took our travel guide - probably Lonely Planet, and found this other hold, historic place - our room was like the living room/parlor complete with antique furnishings/cabinets filled with dishes - really like living in someone's home. It was our favorite place, though we had many great experiences in Ukraine. We also took lots of wedding pictures - and on our 1st trip we were there for Last Day celebrations - enjoyed seeing the kids - all the way through high school in their dress up school clothes on the last day of the school year - they loved trying to talk to us.