Ukraine Travelogue -
New York to Kyiv, Kyiv to Lviv

Wednesday August 16, 2006

This is the short, summary version of the travelogue - there is also a Long, Detailed Version. In addition you can see an 40 photo JFK - Kyiv - Lviv Slideshow of all photos I took today.

The travel day of Wednesday was literally 24 hours on the road from start to finish. With the various legs, it took me 5 hrs to get to the airport. Then there were several hours of processing / waiting there, although luckily JFK has a very nice food court / shopping area outside the gates.

JFK Airport

The plane ride itself was 8 hrs and my Quiet Comfort 2 headphones saved me from a noise-induced headache. I did get to sleep a bit, and the food wasn't bad. Finally we landed in Kiev and everyone clapped! Through customs, an hour wait for baggage, and finally we were out into the air of Kiev, Ukraine.

We had to wait several hours for our connecting flight to Lviv and ate in the food court here. I had piroges, yummm! Then we walked over to Terminal A with our luggage and checked in here. We boarded the plane, took the final leg to Lviv and were finally at our destination. A mini-van took us to the Opera Hotel right in the center of Lviv.

To our surprise and pleasure, we were met there by Anna, my mom's cousin. Anna's father was Baba (my grandmother)'s older brother. Anna had JUST gotten our letter yesterday and had immediately planned to take the bus in to meet us - an all day trip.

We were exhausted after all that travel but quickly got changed and came down to have dinner with Anna.

Ukrainian Women
Mom on left, Anna on right

It was a long fun dinner - Anna doesn't speak English, so Mom was translating everything so Len and I could understand. I asked a ton of questions through Mom.

It seems that Baba's parents had 9 kids total. Only one is still alive - Sofia, the youngest. She's in her 80s. Anna is part of a set of 4 siblings, of which 2 older sisters are still alive. We learned a lot about what life was like for my grandmother growing up, and what it was like for Ukrainians in modern times. All of those notes are in the long travelogue version.

Finally we were exhausted and it was time to sleep. Tomorrow was originally going to be a "tour Lviv" day but we were told that the ENTIRE family was gathering in Kusten to throw us a big party - people were driving in from all around, sometimes several hours. We were going to meet up with Sofia as well as every other relative known to mankind. All of this on one day's notice!

Thursday - Meeting the Relatives in Kusten
JFK - Kyiv - Lviv Slideshow - 40 Photos

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