Lviv, Ukraine, 13. 4. 2019
Lviv, Ukraine, April 13, 2019
It took me 80 minutes by car to get from my hometown Nitra to the Milan Rastislav Štefánik Airport in Bratislava. From the airport it’s only a short 55 minute flight to Lviv. A picturesque city located in the western part of Ukraine near the border with Poland.
Dima – a member of the Lviv Pipe Club – was waiting for me at the airport. This pipe club is in charge of organizing the World Cup 2019, this year’s top competition in slow pipe smoking. I had 3 main reasons why I decided to visit Lviv personally.
First, Pipe Club Lviv asked me if they can use my timekeeping software during this competition and we wanted to make sure that everything works smoothly.
Moreover, I also wanted to provide support by sharing the experience I gained during organizing the European Championships in Slovakia back in 2016.
Finally yet most importantly, I was very curious to find out how does the city of Lviv looks and feels, especially in the light of the problems that Ukraina is facing on its far eastern border.
I have found something completely different from what I was expecting.
First, Dima took me to the hotel. As it was only noon and my room was not ready yet, we decided to have a coffee in a nearby cafeteria. Here I experienced the first “unexpected”. I am a lover of small and strong coffees and to be honest I was not expecting to enjoy much coffee in Ukraine. How was I surprised to find that virtually all the coffees I ever had in this city (and there were many) met the highest quality criteria you can expect from a good ristretto. Lviv is a city of good coffee, which is not only served, but also roasted at almost every corner. It almost felt like coffee had a position of a special, small religion, followed by all of Lviv’s population.
After a short break, we had our first working meeting with Igor, another member of Lviv’s pipe club. We spent the afternoon going through the basic workflow of the software.
Several hours later I got to meet other members of the Pipe Club Lviv in one of many beautiful inns with beer not being only sold, but also brewed. Beer, like coffee, is brewed with love and care in virtually every decent pub. The sheer amount as well as diversity of flavors is overwhelming. Local people are well aware of this and that’s why they first offered me a wooden tray with five small samples to taste from.
You have to be careful when choosing – many beers are excellent yet many may taste completely different from what you are used to.
Our evening meeting went really well. I was informed
about the World Cup preparations and in return, I talked about our practical
experience. Despite the fact that none of my hosts was extremely proficient in English,
they decided that there was no need to provide an interpreter as we all belong
to the wide family of Slavs with me being from Slovakia and my newly found
friends from Ukraine, understanding the basics of each other’s language. I have
to admit that I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, but it turned out they
were right. After the second beer, the interpreter was no longer needed...
Besides coffee and beer, people of Lviv serve and prepare chocolate in many shops throughout the city. The sweet fragrance spreads from countless small cafes and pastry shops and it is nearly impossible to resist it. Lviv is also a city of chocolate.
Churches, temples and synagogues are practically everywhere. Whether it’s a short walk through the city center or a thorough visit to the old and beautiful buildings, lovers of historical monuments will definitely find what they like.
During my travels, I was fortunate enough to visit many cities around the world. Nevertheless, in none of them did I find so many cozy restaurants. The most beautiful of them were located in inconspicuous places where I got only thanks to my local guides. Tourists can virtually find any cuisine they can imagine, whether it is Italian, Chinese, French, or local food.
My friends took me to an old restaurant called Reberna, located in an old building that served many centuries ago as an armory. Reberňa is one of those places that focuses on one thing and delivers it with utmost perfection – roasted pork ribs. All I received was a paper apron with ribs drawn all over. When I have asked for cutlery, the waiter draw a plate with a fork on the paper table cover in front of me. Pork ribs have to be eaten with bare hands and did we eat a lot of them…
City and people
Problems, risks and conclusion
I’m sure that the passion of Lviv pipe smoking club members, their enthusiasm and high motivation is a solid prerequisite for preparing a successful 2019 World cup.
Pipe Club Nitra