We met up with our guide Sofiya in front of the Opera at 8am, and headed to the rail station with our bikes. The train trip itself was a good part of the experience - a local train, headed toward the Polish border, it was packed with locals (in fact, our bikes were pretty big cargo, but people did not really seem to mind - or perhaps it's just that I don't understand Ukrainian!).
When we got out at the village depot, we headed to our first stop, a centuries-old monastery. It was a beautiful little compound on top of a hill in the country, with a very friendly guide (one of the monks).
From there, we headed toward lunch in a small town, stopping at a little zoo on the way there.
As we were finishing lunch, Sofiya suggested that we had time to visit her family's summer home for tea, if we would like. We of course took her up on the offer. We had a wonderful time visiting with her parents - her mother is a university professor (like my wife), and her parents take time every year to go kayaking (pretty similar to our love for canoeing). Her father even tried to convince us to take a swim with them in the lake - a very kind and enticing offer, but no time!
From there, we headed to a cave monastery with "stations-of-the-cross" along the way up the hill. The monastery was very interesting, and haunting, given that invaders murdered the monks in the monastery...
From the monastery, we headed back into the city.
Our only caution is that you should be an experienced biker, as the route is rather long, the local roads are terribly paved (likely paved by the Soviets decades ago and not maintained since), and the return trip to L'viv is on the shoulder of the national highway to Poland. For us, these did not diminish the trip, but make sure you're aware!
While the countryside and all the sights were wonderful, the highlight of the trip was our guide, Sofiya. Outgoing, friendly, and curious with fantastic English, I hope all of their guides are as wonderful!
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