Thursday, August 16, 2007

At the Dacha

We have been really overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality of everyone we have met in L'viv. We have been helped at every step of the way - from the airport to the apartment, at the university, and getting around town.
Today was a great example of this hospitality. Walter, who helped us visit the local markets on Sunday, took us to his dacha out in the countryside. The dacha was about a 20-minute drive outside of the L'viv city limits, past large and impressive homes for the new rich to a small country one-lane road leading to cottages. Walter reported that all citizens of Ukraine have the right to some land in the country, but they have to maintain it. Some people choose to forego this property and the incumbent tax burden, but other use it for cultivation (for personal subsistence or to sell in the L'viv markets) or dachas. Walter's dacha was a nice multi-story home near the end of the road.

We arrived around lunchtime, but spent some time opening up the place. Carter roamed the gardens and was particularly enamored of the caterpillars on some of the flowers. He just loved running around on the sidewalks between the terraced gardens, reporting the colors of the flowers. We had a nice lunch of bread and cheese, and then relaxed for the afternoon. Carter continued exploring, Lea chatted with Walter about his impressive garden, and Erik took some time to sit and read. After resting for a few hours, Walter prepared a dinner of delicious sausage, potatoes, and tomato/cucumber salad. We washed it all down with kefir - a cultured milk drink popular in Eastern Europe. It was a wonderful day of relaxation, fresh air and nature made better by the perfect weather.

Upon our return, Walter installed a swing in the doorway to our living room for Carter. Now to figure out how to cook the bags of apples and rhubarb he gave us. And did we mention that our oven does not work (but the microwave has a convection oven function)? Please send recipes.

P.S. Another rumor about yesterday's water situation. Walter told us that he heard on the radio that it was not part of the regular maintenance, but rather a failure of the water system in our part of town.


grant.pinkos said...

Hello. I'm planning a trip to Lviv with my father at the end of September and stumbled across your blog in my online research. It's wonderful that you are documenting this trip online, and really gives everyone else a good glimpse of life in Lviv. I had some questions re: finding a guide/driver to visit some nearby villages. Any way that you could e-mail me? Send to my name at!

Grandpa said...

Carter, you are going to end up a scientist given your interest and amazement at all you see and learn the names of.