At first I had only planned on visiting Kiev in Ukraine, but once there everyone told me that I could not leave the country without visiting Odessa and Lviv. Odessa is the fourth biggest city, located far east near the Russian occupied peninsula of Crimea and known for its opera house and art nouveau architechtural style old town which I saw in just about an hour. The cities waterfront was mainly beaches, which were not that attractive with the 17 minusdegrees, so I jumped on a sixteen hour, seven dollar train ride to Lviv (or Lvov as the Ukrainians call it).
Lviv was much more my kind of city. It was also THE Christmas city in Ukraine, and since I was there during Russian Orthodox Christmas (from January 6th) there were plenty of things going on. The main streets were full of huts selling mulled wine, snacks and street food. An ice skating rink was put up in the city center and lots of people were walking through the streets. Lviv is the cultural capital of Ukraine and it’s old town is a UNESCO heritage site. The city is known for producing chocolate and beer and it’s sights are mainly it’s cathedrals and it’s enormous semetary, which could be called the Recoleta of the east. This together with the brewery and nightlife which it is so famous for was worth spending a few days before crossing over to Western Europe by train.