Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Sounds of L'viv

Today, as Carter and Lea were walking back from the puppet theater (he insisted on returning and enjoyed today's performance about chickens hatching), the streets were strangely silent. It was a reminder that we have intended to write about the many sounds of L'viv, as we have written about the sights, and even a little bit about the smells.

The streets were crowded with people, as usual, but it was a very cold day, and it made one wonder if they follow the advice Lea's grandmother gave: keep your mouth shut out in the cold to keep the warm air in. It is now up to 37 (and yes, that is Fahrenheit), but was colder this morning.

As they walked through Rynok Square, they could hear the familiar clip clop clip clop.
No, it was not the horses pulling carriages by our apartment on Sunday afternoons. It was the sound we hear constantly outside: stiletto heels on the cobblestones. It is amazing that women wear these things outside. Lea broke her only pair of heels the first time out on the treacherous streets of L'viv, and just got them fixed (it would have been sooner if only we knew it would cost $2). The sound this morning was accompanied by beautiful recorder playing by a man in his regular Rynok Square spot.

There is a great deal of music we hear as we stroll around L'viv. This morning, the blind bayan player who sits outside our window was in his regular spot, and his background music, audible in our apartment, always reminds us that we are in Eastern Europe. Two women often sing next to the pirozhki stand on a nearby corner, and we often hear the guitarist on Rynok Square (who has been there for years, we understand).

And then there are the noises we don't enjoy. Mostly car alarms, screeching tires and brakes, and horns. As mentioned previously, there is a great deal of traffic in front of the apartment. For several weekend evenings, a car pulled up on the sidewalk in front of the apartment and put up a projection screen and showed cartoons repeatedly. And occasionally we hear drunks singing late in the night. Most of the other noise is cell-phone-related, as everyone seems to have one permanently attached to their hands.

However, being in this prime location means that if there are the sounds of a political rally or protest, Erik has been able to jump up and head there. Concerts, performances, and even religious services take place within earshot of our window. Many of these sounds will be missed once we return to Lawrence, but we look forward to the sound of the birds. As long as we can hear them past the roundabout traffic.

No comments: