As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Western Ukraine castles (the drive back)

We left the conference after goodbyes and breakfast at 9 am Saturday morning, trusting the GPS to take us to Lviv and then on toward Nikoloipolia. We stopped to fill up on gas at this Luk Oil  while were were still on the small road (turns out there were much better roads and it was only two hours from the correct Polyanna to Lviv) Garry wanted coffee and more little chocolate croissants in a bag and I asked him to get me pretzels. They didn't have any so he bought a can of Pringles, I asked if they had any flavors other than the bacon he had bought, so he went back in to see if he could trade it for paprika. The guy told him in Russian "Of course your wife did not like them, I cannot change them, they will be upset in Kiev" so Garry had to buy two cans.
There were ladies out raking hay by hand in the field

On to L'viv!

It was a good day to drive, Garry even used his sunglasses I bought him at Dollarama before we left Manitoba. We were approaching the city by 11 am, the GPS took us right to the city center, where we parked and walked around for a couple hours, enjoying the European style buildings and Catholic cathedrals.  This area of Ukraine used to be part of Poland.

 There were some buskers, on the side street, including these three lovely ladies who played these instruments that were both strummed like a guitar and made plucked  notes also, lots of strings in two directions! they sang beautifully, we listened to three songs before moving on.
We enjoyed a rare treat for lunch, spicy stir fry and cans of  Canada Dry and Dr Pepper (both very rare also.)
We found spicy noodles for lunch

there was a book market around this statue

Shevchenko statue downtown

Everyone was taking photos of the guy being interviewed
we think he was from the Slaboda (far right) party

This little girl had her hat blown off by air from the pigeons flying up
we drove past the opera house on our way out of the city
Around one pm we set the GPS for Nikoliploia and were off, we planned to stop for the night, since it said it would be 14 hours of driving. Then as we were traveling the 2 lane highway Garry saw what looked like a castle on a hilltop, and drove off to find it.

Olesko Castle

Look what's that?
The other large building appeared to have been a church, we were amazed as we drove up, there were no signs to get off the highway, but it was easy to find when we did, and there were several kiosks selling refrigerator magnets, wooden swords, shields and crossbows for kids and other Ukrainian tourist items, we got an Olesko magnet. We walked over to the churchyard first and then found the KASA to buy tickets for the castle, they cost about two dollars. This was the birthplace of a Polish king, and part of the L'viv art museum. We bought two booklets in English at the gift shop.

selling stuff by the church building

This saint must have had a special day

dragons on the church

walking up to the big house

these guys are big

the king that was born here

told you they were big (Garry is 6'5")

It was renovated in the 1970s

A really large painting of a battle the King won

Me (Teresa) inside the castle courtyard door

Armed with our guidebooks we saw and found another castle to tour from the highway, this one was a little harder to drive to from the road. From the pictures in the books, we decided it was Pidhirtsi built by the same family as the first one we stopped at. This one was cheaper to get into, half the price, but the inside is not renovated, they are working on it. As you can see from the outside it was a grand house. Unfortunately we lost one of our booklets here, which was sad, even though it only cost $ 1.50 we hadn't read it yet. Garry walked back to get it after we got to the car, but they had already locked the gate at 4:30 pm. 
The church at the gate is under renovation too

Church statues on roof line

church door

the booklet said the drive is lined with lime trees (not sure what kind they are)

As you can see there is even a moat around it

detail on second floor 

bride and groom going for photos on balcony

Heading back down the lane to the gate and the church

The rest of the way home

drive through checkpoint

there was a tractor pulling this pile of hay down the highway

Many villages in western Ukraine had the crosses decorated with ribbons

it didn't look it, but the hotel was open
We spent the night in this very empty hotel - we were the first car parked, there were five cars in the morning, and we ate dinner in a lovely empty attached restaurant.

The next morning we were surprised when the GPS took us through Kiev and home past the airport so we turned it off since it was a familiar route. No idea why it chose a different route than on the way to the conference, it's a random GPS.
We did get to have breakfast at Mc Donalds.... in Kiev. 

What, we are going through Kiev?

we did go on Garry's favorite highway 25 Km of fast road

we saw some billboards for the new President

lots of fields to look at

Finally back to the village! 3 pm Sunday

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