Monday, September 16, 2013



We realize that this is a bit out of order, but we still need to talk about our friend Rick’s first day in Lviv. We had an especially good time on Rick's first day here, so it is only appropriate that we write about it.
I love meeting people at airports and train stations. The excitement of seeing someone you have not seen in a while, especially a dear friend or a family member, can be overwhelming at times. And that is how Michael and I felt—excited to see Rick and show him new things that we discovered in Lviv since his last visit. After meeting him at the train station, we hopped on a bus and headed back home. A few stories later, we decided it was time to go out and explore the city. The center was our destination, of course.
None of us had any breakfast, so our first stop was a famous café: Вероніка. It prides itself in making quality pastries, chocolate and baked goods. However, Michael and I like to visit Вероніка for their healthy salads and herbal teas, which can be found on their special ‘Detox’ menu (where no oil, sugar, or salt is used in the dishes). Their extensive menu also features such famous Ukrainian dishes as poppy seed dumplings and beet borsht. We all ended up getting a salad, which we were very pleased with. Our salads were made with vibrant veggies, perfectly creamy avocados and fresh herbs. Yummy!  Our drinks were no less impressive: Rick ordered a freshly squeezed veggie juice, which was excellent; Michael went for his favorite—Mate tea served in the traditional way (in a hollowed out gourd with a straw); I decided to try a sea buckthorn tea, and I am glad that I did because it was full of flavor and vitality. There was another dish that Michael and I decided to share—wild rice with herbs, raisins, pistachios and pine nuts. "Wow" is the only appropriate word to describe it. We both love bloomed (that is soaked) wild rice, and this was a brilliant combination of flavors.
Thank you, Вероніка, for your tasty and nourishing vegan choices! As someone famous once said—‘I’ll be back!’ ;)
With our tummies full and happy, our trio ventured out to the vegetarian store. However, something distracted us on the way there….and it was worth stopping for. A brand new natural store "Дім Здоров"я"   was looking right at us asking us to come inside. I was squealing with joy to discover all the goodies inside of this shop: organic/natural food items, personal care products, health gadgets, linen pillows and more. I was especially pleased to come across quality cold-pressed coconut oil, which is very difficult to come by in Ukrainian stores; now I have my spot! Michael was excited to get some sugar-free chocolate made with stevia. Needless to say, there was a lot of excitement, especially from my side. Little did we know that only a few steps down the street another, no less stimulating, shop would meet us. And it did! Наш Формат  (Nash Format--Our Format) is the name. This is a place that cares about Ukrainian culture and carries some pretty awesome things. There were plenty of different styles of Ukrainian music, film and books to choose from. We went home with two DVDs about Ukrainian history--'SilverLands. The Chronicles of Carpatho-Ukraine 1919-1939' and 'Golden September. Chronicles of Galichina 1939-1941'
Also, there was a selection of t-shirts from НЮКРЕЙН! I ended up purchasing this one.
This is another place where it is appropriate to say—‘I’ll be back!’
One of the many cool t-shirts at Nash Format: T.Shevchenko--Ukrainian bard and hero

Roman Shukhevych  is looking down from that poster--you should know

Our next destination was a planned one. We wanted to take Rick to the tiniest and the only vegetarian store in Lviv.  It does not have a name; it is simply a store on Lysenka, since it is located on the street of the same name. Most of the time, our main reason for visiting the store is to purchase Himalayan pink salt and good quality spices—turmeric and cinnamon are our favorites. Sometime last year the store was remodeled. Nothing too major happened through the process, although the tiny space of the vegetarian store is more customer-friendly, it seems. Also, we have noticed that they started carrying a greater variety of products. Nevertheless, one of the best (and also worst) things about the shop is that you never know what you may find there. So, it was a surprise for the three of us to come across a single container of peanut butter in their cooler. Rick was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to take the lonely PB container home. He has not feasted on any peanut butter in over 4 years, since it is not a commonly found product on the Ukrainian grocery shelves. The PB was made in Ukraine and contained no hydrogenated oils, or any oils at all; the butter was appropriately named Mr. Bob :) Sadly, they were out of the Himalayan salt; but we were able to purchase some dried figs (probably the best in the city) and green lentils. The vegetarian store in Lviv is definitely a fun place to visit and we do it pretty often. In fact, it was in there that we saw a poster inviting everybody to a Ukrainian permaculture course last summer.The owner of the store also has a blog here.

Of course our adventures did not end at the vegetarian store, because there were still two more places awaiting us. Our next stop was one of the most stylish clothing stores in Lviv. Yes, I know, those are pretty big shoes to fill, but they do it pretty well. This very special place is called Sister’s Dress Gallery. All of the clothing is hand made in Ukraine (no sweatshops, child labor and other inhuman activities involved) by young Ukrainian designers. The clothing is unique, yet wearable and is always of high quality. Here you can check out their great assortment of clothing and accessories. While we were there, we noticed pictures of women leaders from all over the world lined up on their wall. When we asked the store clerk about the photographs, she responded that these were pictures of inspirational female leaders who have great style. Nice....!  Whenever we visit Sister's we always hear different languages being spoken there. They are very welcoming to tourists and guests of the city. Their staff is always friendly and happy to talk to you;  and they have no problem chatting in English. In fact, one of their friendly people introduced me to Postcrossing. Sister's has a total of three stores in Ukraine—Lviv, Kyiv and Odessa. You can see some pictures and read (in Ukrainian) about their store in Kyiv at this link.

Rick and me at Sister's discussing our good finds while Michael plays photographer
Some interesting decor at Sister's

Our ultimate destination in the center of Lviv was "Правда,б"  (Pravda, B) ---a self described, ‘native-mind store gallery.' This store is simply one of the most creative, progressive and outspoken places in Lviv and beyond. It is like nothing we have seen anywhere else, and we are very proud to have them here in Lviv. When we stepped inside of Pravda, B, we found ourselves in a fairytale world, where anything is possible. It is full of magical creatures and good honest people. Pravda, B strives to bring honesty to people via their art (from new, young and radical Ukrainian and foreign artists), clothing (like Moksha--humane and natural clothing), jewelry (post-apocalyptic pieces) and more. Here are a few snapshots of their amazing space (too bad we did not take that many photos, especially of their clothing, shoes and accessories):


A sign outside of the entrance to Pravda, B leading you in the right direction


A fearsome cat guards Pravda, B. She inspected our bags upon arrival

These were some of my fav paintings there

Modern folk theme

Going back home on the bus with my jacket from Pravda, B nicely wrapped in paper

One of our favorite things about Pravda B is that the staff is ALWAYS extra friendly, but not in the fake kind of way. And they strive to be socially and environmentally responsible. For example, our purchase was wrapped in simple brown paper, because they do not use plastic in the store. The store clerk also shared some recent news with us—Los Angeles banned the use of plastic bags. She was very excited and hopeful about it—perhaps it will happen in Lviv one day! Pravda, B also has a shop in Kyiv, which you can read about and see more pictures of here  

Well, dear readers, I leave you with this last picture from Lviv:

I hope that this bike takes Lviv (and the rest of the world!) into a brighter future —slowly, but surely. Let us all plant good seeds today, so that there are flowers sprouting everywhere tomorrow, including on our bikes :)
Lviv--my dear hometown--I love you!!
  Til next time...


  1. Really lovely pictures! : ) I love that Shevchenko t-shirt, I would buy it in a heartbeat!!

    Thanks for posting links to many of these shops... am browsing their sites now. They all have really unusual stuff, I've never seen anything like this in Kharkiv.


  2. Thank you for your compliments! Yes, the Shevchenko shirt rocks. That store has so many great choices. You should definitely visit Lviv sometime. I'm sure that you would enjoy it. ;)