Summer 2012

I know, we’ve just started summer 2011, but L’viv is already looking toward summer 2012 – Euro Cup.  For those of you not familiar with Euro Cup, it is a huge European soccer tournament.  L’viv has been chosen as a host city for three games in the qualifying rounds in June (9th, 13th and 17th).  Ukraine is co-hosting Euro Cup 2012 with Poland with a total of 8 participating cities between the two countries.  Knowing that Ukraine has been picked for this honor is pretty incredible.  The city is working hard to bring itself up to European standards.  They are fixing streets, building a new airport, advertising, laying new water and electric lines, building hotels, updating public transportation, and of course, building a new stadium.  Now that Ukraine has FINALLY thawed out from the winter, renovations are in full swing, with most needing to be completed by the end of the summer/fall, if they will be ready by June 2012.  Jesse and I walked around the city yesterday and took some pictures of all that is happening.  It’s very exciting to watch and we invite everyone to come and visit us in the NEW L’viv.

We start the tour in our own living room, with a local paper.  The two cartoon twins, names  Slavek and Slavko are only some of the logos / mascots you will see representing the tournament.  Slavek is wearing red and white and is Poland’s representative while Slavko is wearing blue and yellow and is Ukraine’s representative.  They are each wearing the colors in each country’s flags.

Front Page of a local paper this week..."Until Euro 2012...less than a year!"

Upon immediately leaving our apartment building, you can turn to the left and see a new hotel.

Hotel Chopin

When turning to the right, you see the reconstruction of our road.  Most of the roads in the center that have been covered with black asphault for a quick fix, are being dug up and re-cobbled to give the city its old feel back.  It looks great, and for now, has cut down on the traffic in front of our home tremendously.

Voronoho Street

They are even adding a red path on the side of the street that is supposed to be designated for bikers.  David and I have observed (over and over) that most Ukrainians have trouble observing any type of street sign, so we are interested to see how these new bike paths work.  We are also interested in seeing how far the bike paths stretch because right now, we have only seen about 100 meters (and very few bikes).

The Red Bike Path

L’viv is also showing more signs of advertising.  McDonald’s, of course, is an official sponsor, and is leading the way.  Also the transportation that is being updated is also carrying advertisements.

This sign is two blocks from our home (as is the local McDonalds).

And here is new bus #11, it runs between the city center and the new stadium which is being built across the street from a new modern shopping center.

And a newer tram, advertising Euro Cup with all of the colors and flowers.

Finally, in the middle of the center is this beautiful reminder of what is to come, made of real flowers.

And the tourism industry is booming.  Upon our arrival everyone talked about how ‘touristy’ L’viv is.  David and I didn’t understand.  There was nothing in any language but Ukrainian, no maps, no information booths anywhere, no menus in English.  But now, signs are popping up, maps are popping up and even a tourist information center at the city council offices in the main square.  And or course, two of the three employees at the information center are our students.  David and I can’t say it enough, we think we work with the best and the brightest.  Tourism is turning into a big industry, and a coveted job.

Signs/directions to popular tourist destinations.

Directions and a labeled map. However, you can also see, that parking on the sidewalk is still not understood as a no-no.

We still aren't exactly sure what these interactive computer terminals do (because we have never gotten them to work) but we've been ensured by our students that they are super helpful.

The tourist information center at city hall.

And this is Olya, one of our students who is graduating in a couple of weeks, who now works at the tourist information center full time.

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