Boot Scrapers in Oxford

In addition to its abundance of beautiful architecture, famous colleges and courtyards, spires, museums, and canals, Oxford also has its fair share of lovely boot scrapers. In a quiet residential area, I stumbled across a long street filled with boot scrapers — almost every one with a unique shape. But they […]

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Take Courage ghost sign

Ghost Signs: England

England’s ghost signs, or fading brick ads, are the most famous and numerous. There is a website Ghostsigns dedicated to them (above all in England, but also around the world) and on Facebook there are many groups dedicated to these old signs. Suprisingly I didn’t come across that many during […]

Stiles in the Carpathians

Stiles, or perelazy in Ukrainian, are structures that provide people with a way to easily pass over a fence while at the same time preventing farm animals from passing through. Stiles are found in the countryside around the world and come in all kinds of forms. In the Carpathians, they […]

Reawakening Polish Prewar Urban Music

Late last year I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the atmosphere of Lviv’s interwar music scene at a live performance of a young band from Warsaw, which plays famous tunes from Poland’s 1920-1930s musical heritage. Warszawska Orkiestra Sentymentalna (Warsaw Sentimental Orchestra) comprises a group of young musicians united […]

‘Wychód’ Ghost Sign in Lviv

“Wychód” is a Polish archaism meaning “exit” (“Wyjście” in modern usage) This ghost sign is found in a corridor of a building that from the 1820s housed a hotel and restaurant-winery. The hand points in the direction of the front entrance, from an inner courtyard. Another theory is that the sign […]

German-Language Benchmark in Lviv

I came across a curious German-language benchmark in one of Lviv’s courtyards. Unlike the other pre-WWI benchmarks that I have seen in Lviv, which are small simple plaques in Polish, this one is much larger, in German, and even includes a relief of a hand pointing to the leveling mark. The sign […]

Plant Hangers in Lviv

These metal curiosities found on many of Lviv’s balconies are plant hangers. Most remain unused these days, but some people still use them to decorate their balconies and courtyards with beautiful flowers. Others have found new purposes for them. Repurposed to dry shoes

Carriage Curbs in Lviv

In many of Lviv’s old buildings there is a carriage entrance way, a driveway which led from the street to the courtyard for carriages to pass through. Along the sides of the entranceway there is an elevated platform, which acted as a sort of sidewalk for people to be able […]

Hovirnyk: Galician Dialect Videos

The western Ukrainian news outlet ZIK released a series of videos explaining the origins and meaning Galician words and phrases. Traveling around the region, including to Lviv, Ternopil, and the Hutsul region, the hosts tell interesting stories about the word as well as examples of its usage. Below are a […]

Galician Culinary Dictionary

To supplement my “diaspora” dictionary, here’s a list of Galician culinary terms. Some I have on my list, but here are many more. ГАЛИЦЬКИЙ КУЛІНАРНИЙ СЛОВНИК -А- Аєрконьяк – яєчний лікер Андрути – перекладений вафельний торт, вафлі. Аниж – аніс Арак – алкоголь Афини – чорниці -Б- Баняк – горщик, […]

Galician Culinary Vocabulary

Recently on Facebook, “Пані Стефа” shared a post about Galician cuisine using Galician culinary vocabulary. I’m familiar with many but not all words. Original post found here. Баняк, ринка, миска і тареля в креденсі. Зупа з ляним тістом і росіл з клюсками, налиті кохлею в таріль. Салатка в салятерці. Мізерія […]