The weather here has been bitterly cold. But I wouldn’t have clamoured to get out to climb snowbanks (I had to define that term for my Zachary this week!), build snowmen and snow forts, or go sledding and skiing and skating if I hadn’t enjoyed the cold. When I was dressed for it.
In sub-zero weather, Celsius or Fahrenheit, there is ice to consider. I divide ice into three kinds. There’s the kind you put in your drinks. Then, there is the kind you try to skate on. And finally, there is the kind you try to walk on. The first two can be fun. The third can be deadly.
We don’t have much call for ice in our drinks in this weather, however we did engage ice-type number two when we went skating this week with the Ukrainian Catholic University English Club. The outdoor rink beside City Hall makes a beautiful impression. It cost less than $5 for an hour including skate rental. My skates fit, yahoo! But they were dull and the ice was in poor condition. You can’t have everything. I managed three tentative laps of the rink with my mitten hovering over the railing before the Zamboni arrived, and I was happy to surrender the ice to it.
Ice-type number three has been keeping off the sidewalks of L’viv. The sidewalks have better rink quality ice in many places than the rink did. Nevertheless, my newfound waist is complaining that I have not been getting enough exercise. This week I thought of a safe place to walk: the Luchakivsky Necropolis, that is, the cemetery.
This cemetery was opened in 1786 when the government decreed that people should be buried outside the city rather than in churchyards, to prevent the spread of diseases that might have killed them. The Luchakivsky Cemetery was the place where the city elite found their final resting places. It has since become the site where heroes of Ukraine of every ilk are buried. Christians shared the cemetery, so Catholic, Greek (Byzantine rite) Catholic and Orthodox are represented. The Latin alphabet as well as the Cyrillic alphabet appear on the markers; it was a Polish cemetery before it was a Ukrainian cemetery.
The monuments, crowded up and won a hillside, are worth the trip; many are stunning as sculptures in their own right. I have wanted to see the Luchakivsky cemetery ever since we came, so this week I chose it for my walk at the end of the day.
I took the tram to the front gate, where I as directed to the ticket office. For about $1.25 I bought my way in, and for about 60 cents, I bought a map. Then I wandered until sunset. It was quite magical. I look forward to going again. I’ll g earlier in the day so I’ll have more light to do justice to the sculptures. And I’ll tell you a little about the national heroes here,