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Ukraine: city tour of Lviv (#6).

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I returned to Lviv in February 2015 and spent several days with wonderful people.

One of the groups is originally from Donetsk; they fled the war-torn city several months earlier and re-settled in Lviv. Most of them spoke Russian as a first language, but like most of the country, are proficient in both Ukrainian and Russian.

We explored the city together on a Saturday, beginning with the city hall tower. Accompanying me were Elena, Roman, Igor, Alexey, and Asya.

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Lviv is tremendously different in the winter. Snow-covered rooftops and the winter chill left me no choice but to hide behind layers of clothing. The long walk to the top of the tower showed me the different styled architecture: Austrian in the center, which were intact from World War II, and the Russian style in the surroundings, expanded from the Cold War.

Igor, Alexey and I via selfie.

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It’s no wonder, then, that being in the city hall reminded me of being in Disneyland; Walt Disney is Austrian, after all, and Old Town inevitably resembles his roots. We hopped in a tourist “train” that took us around the city. I sat back and listened to the tape playback the history of the many sculptures and iconic buildings scattered around Lviv.

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Afterwards, we took a long walk towards the outdoor Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life. The park was enormous, and when looking at the surroundings, I would have imagined us to be in a national park. Fresh snow, frozen over lakes, leafless trees all contributed to a natural look and feel.

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Elena walking back from a model windmill, unknowing that I took a candid photo.

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The park is located about eight km away from the airport and three kilometers away from the city center.

The park revitalized my lust for outdoor exploration. Of all the places to see snow for the first time in two years, I could not have been happier for it to be in Ukraine.

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