Traveling from Warsaw to Lviv, Ukraine

In the beginning of June I had to travel from Warsaw, Poland to Lviv, Ukraine. The same question came up once again: What’s the cheapest way to get there?

Traveling Warsaw Lviv

And as usual the choice consisted of flying, going by bus, train or car. First of all I checked out BlaBlaCar. A few rides were available, priced at around 60PLN ($20USD). However the dates didn’t work out for me and the single convenient ride was cancelled a few days before departure.

Flying was out of question because the plane tickets were at $300USD. The train seemed like a good option. I like trains because they are comfortable and often overnight. Get on, fall asleep, wake up at your destination. I found someone’s blog stating the train ride from Warsaw to Lviv was about 120 zloty ($40) which seemed somewhat reasonable. Unfortunately the tickets were not available online since this was an international train (yep, that’s an issue).

I headed down to the main train station in Warsaw, worked up my Polish skills since the cashiers at the ticket office didn’t speak English and tried to find that ticket. You can imagine my surprise when I was told the ticket costs around 250PLN ($80USD+). Only later I figured out the “120 zloty” price I found online was posted in 2009. Seems like the price doubled in 5 years.

My last option was taking the Warsaw Lviv bus. I bought a ticket for $29USD through BusEurope. When I got to the bus station (Warszawa Zachodnia PKS) I didn’t find the bus right away since the bus I had to take was labeled as Warsaw – Ivano-Frankowsk (and Lviv is simply a stop on the way). The bus left at 6pm and was supposed to arrive to Lviv at 5:30 am or so.

From Warsaw to viv by bus

On the way the bus broke down. The brave drivers fought the pouring rain and fixed the fuel issue within 30 minutes and we were on our way once again. It smelled like diesel for the first hour but I didn’t mind it too much since diesel smells better than the undigested garlic consumed by the person sitting infront of me. I am a very tolerant person and I adapt to things. I also love garlic but I would never eat it unless I am sure I won’t encounter another live being that day. Anyways…

At 10:30 pm we arrived at the Polish border. We waited for a while, eventually a border officer came into the bus and took our passports. 20-30 minutes later the bus driver gave the passports back to us. All in all it took 1 hour. The bus drove for 100 meters and we were now at the Ukrainian border. Another officer picked up our passports once again (while carefully studying our faces and making sure we look exactly like in that ugly passport photo). Ukrainian border took about 30 minutes. The crossing was surprisingly empty, that’s why it didn’t take long. The bus stopped once again, right after crossing the border – so people could exchange their hard-earned zloty to Ukrainian hryvna. Surprisingly the exchange rate at the border is as good as in the city and a lot better than at an airport or train station.

Poland Ukraine border

At 12:30 am we were in Ukraine, however there is a time difference and it was 1:30 am local time. In less then 2 hours the bus was in Lviv. So instead of 5:30am as expected, the bus dropped me off on the outskirts of the city at 2:45am. There was a closed gas station and nothing else. Two young ladies got off at that stop as well and I asked them to call a cab for me, since there was no other way of getting into the city at that hour. Three of us got in the cab and went to the center. I paid 40 hryvnas ($4USD) for quite a long ride, and the driver left towards the other passengers’ destination.

All in all the trip was fine. 7 hours in the bus isn’t that bad, especially when the bus is somewhat comfortable.There was also an empty seat next to me which helped a lot. It would have been faster, cheaper and more comfortable with ride share but as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t find anyone going my way.

Would I suggest this way of traveling from Warsaw to Ukraine? Definitely! And another quick tip: bring 2 or 4 zloty with you for this trip. There is no toilet in the bus and the toilets available at the rest stops are not free (2 zl), even at the Polish border.

The Neon Muzeum in Warsaw

The Neon Muzeum is located in Praga district, Warsaw. This museum’s main goal is to preserve and document old Polish neon signs.

Elizabeth made this short video to gave you an idea what it’s about. If you are in Warsaw – you must check this place out.

Besides the museum you can also enjoy the Soho Factory, where the Neon Muzeum is located. You will find some cool shops, cafes and more around the museum. Remember that the museum is not publicly funded so your donations will help keeping this place alive.

Neon Muzeum:

Budynek 55, Soho Factory, Mińska 25, 03-808 Warszawa

Neon Museum Website

Opening hours:

Monday    Closed
Tuesday    Closed
Wednesday    12:00 – 5:00 pm
Thursday    12:00 – 5:00 pm
Friday    12:00 – 5:00 pm
Saturday    12:00 – 5:00 pm
Sunday    12:00 – 4:00 pm

The Frying Pan Scam – Warsaw

When you rent an apartment (a flat for my European friends) for a short time – you normally want to find a furnished apartment. However, a sofa and a chair is not enough and you might end up buying a few things.

frying pans

 

The Warsaw flat that I rented for a few months had most things: a bed (actually a sofa), a table, chairs, stove-top, fridge and even a washing machine. Quite a few plates, small coffee cups, a pot, spoons and forks were here as well. However – there was no frying pan. Sure, boiled is good but at some point you get fed up of boiled. Making a good sauce of some sort requires a frying pan. Making eggs in the morning requires a pan. Making pancakes requires a pan. I also needed a frying pan to cook some sausages – I am in Poland after all.

As I mentioned a few lines earlier, there was a stove top but not an oven, so oven-made food was also out of the question. At this moment I am starting to realize how much I miss oven-cooked food!

 

The Hunt For The Pan

Well, a frying pan was a must. I headed to a small supermarket nearby to only find out that most pans cost 150-200zt ($50-70). Quite too much for a pan that would only be used for a few months then left behind. A flea-market came to mind. There must be some people selling cheaper things, right?

Next day my girlfriend and I headed to a small flea-market but didn’t see any kitchen supplies… until the last moment. I spotted an older man sitting on an empty plastic beer crate, selling a single frying pan. We approached him:

– Ile to kosztuje?
– 70 złoty
– Nie, nie, nie…

We smiled and walked away. Then man then screamed at us: Ok, 60! – but we kept on walking. As we turned around the corner , the “salesman” actually chased us and offered that pan for 45 złoty. We showed him 30 zloty in bills and 2 zloty in coins, of course he accepted. On the way home I was proud of finding such bargain; 32 zloty is about $10 and it’s 5-6 times less than in a shop!

 

And What’s The Scam?

Finally I was able to make some real Polish sausages. I washed the pan very thoroughly before using it and put it on the stove. While cooking the sausages I was very surprised by the amount of smoke. When the food was ready I was even more surprised that the inside of the pan looked badly burned. I was even more surprised when I washed that pan and every drop of water turned into a rusty trace while the pan was drying. Yep, a real bargain. Should I say that I haven’t touched that pan after that?

frying pan scams frying pan scam

Fortunately it only cost $10. I tried to imagine a reason for this pan’s existence (ex: it must be some special pan for some very specific cooking) but I knew I was fooling myself. It was just a very low quality cheap pan that was probably found in some warehouse abandoned by the Russian communists in the 80’s.

The New Frying Pan

A few days later I ended up at Carrefour supermarket. This is where I saw frying pans at 20-30-40-100 zloty. They also sell pots and pans by weight! For about 3 zloty you can get 100 grams worth of pans/pots. How cool is that? Finally less than 30 zt I walked away with a good non-stick frying pan.

fryingpots

So there you go. If you need to buy any home supplies in Poland, go to a big super market. Chances are they are offering the best products for your dollar… or zloty.

Anything to add? Don’t be shy, comment below!