I don’t even know where to begin with you. It all started about a year ago when I first stumbled upon a photo of you somewhere on the internet. I was sure you were located somewhere super close, already preparing myself for a trip to Czechia. How wrong I was!
Your looks misguided me and tricked me. I love when I am challenged in my thoughts and get proven wrong. So I knew this was the start of a great adventure.
Again and again, I tried to make time for you, but life happened, and many dark episodes occupied my mind last summer. But I had you in my mind, always. I was about to book flights to meet you in person, and I was ready to pay 400€ to see you when one day at the main train station in Vienna I read your name on the departure screen. Was my mind tricking me?
Immediately I went to the service desk and asked about you. I was told about daily (!) night trains directly from Vienna to Lviv. I was hesitant to ask about the price and once again was taken by surprise. A one-way ticket in the sleeper wagon was only 63€. That same day I booked those train tickets.
In August, I got on an old soviet train, the floors covered in old carpets – I was the happiest person on this planet. I am obsessed with adventures, and this one was one of my likings. I couldn’t communicate with the conductor since we didn’t share a common language.
When the train arrived in Lviv the next day after 16 hours and two border crossings, I stepped on Ukrainian ground for the first time in my life. I remember vividly the old train station and how I was confused by not being able to read anything.
Over the next days, I fell in love with you more and more. As I discovered the Yard of Lost Toys, walked up Castle Hill, ate too many desserts at the coffee houses and got almost lost at Lychakiv Cemetery and loved the confidence you gave me through this solo expedition. I had much needed this, and you had handed me some matches to light my inner fire again. For that, I will cherish you forever and keep you, dear.
Dear Lviv, you’ve been the biggest surprise in the past year, and I am grateful for everything you are and that you have taught me. I am waiting to get on that train again to catch up with you. Until then, take good care,
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