Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Kosmonaut

We arrived in Lviv, Ukraine by train, with no arrangements or even the slightest idea of where to stay. It seemed perfectly possible to knock on any door and be taken in by a Ukrainian grandma. We were going to our home country, after all.

We hopped onto a marshrutka, a small local bus in Ukraine. We didn’t know how to recognize the center of town, so we asked a guy sitting nearby to give us a nudge when we should get off. It felt incredible to be able to speak the native language with a local, who also happens to be a complete stranger on the other side of the world, and be understood.

Despite our lack of planning, we stumbled upon one of the neatest places to stay in Lviv. The Kosmonaut is a hostel on the upper level of an old building that’s not in the greatest shape. The wooden staircase that leads up to the hostel is sloping and so worn that it looks like it might cave.

We were charmed by the kitschy vintage touches inside. The faded pink and purple walls are covered with dated Soviet propaganda posters, old black and white photos, military jackets, and Soviet hats. The place was simple and cheap, but had a cozy appeal. The common kitchen had a dining table covered with a plastic sunflower tablecloth and in the corner stood a bookcase stuffed with books and random junk. Even our room had vintage phones, radios, and a stack of old Russian books. The wooden floors squeaked loudly with each step. Our bedroom window opened to the courtyard of the building, which was also old and crummy, but rugged in a good way. I instantly fell in love with the place.

- Julia

Update: I added more photos toward the bottom that I accidentally left out first time around!

Our bedroom:

The common areas:

The views out of our window into the courtyard: