Higher than High: The Search for High Castle (Lviv, Ukraine)

Adventure strikes the fearsome, investigative duo again. A simple enough plan turned ridiculous in the early afternoon heat. Follow the convenient tourists signs scattered throughout Lviv and make it up the city’s mountain to their main attraction, the High Castle.

from: autodidacts.f2s.com

Lviv’s High Castle

What to think with a name like High Castle. It’s a given, just like how the mixture of my navigational skills with these tourist friendly signs will undoubtedly get us there with great ease.

Maybe if i was alone. My partner in crime, or uh more like I eluded to earlier, crime stopper – let’s call her Monika to protect her identity – Monika added her style of adrenaline fueled, spontaneity driven ridiculousness to the equation. To say the least I was distracted, to be more accurate I was under the influence and became the greater disturber of silence in the mountain park, or as Eddie Vedder would say, “a thief of silence.”

We climbed the to the top of the mountain, the foot of Tokyo tower. Probably some rip-off of the real thing, I’m not sure I’ve never been to Japan. But like something you would find in Asia, there was a large predatory bird tied up for photos at the base of a spiraling staircase leading to the look out tower.

The owners smacked the birds chest for the camera. This made the once proud creature both cringe open his beak and trusting out his chest stretching out his wingspan. The guys tried to force me take him on me. First mistake. Roundhouse  kick to the hand that held the leash. The rope fluttered in the air long enough for me to commence a five meter long drop kick to the main guy’s sidekick, and for Monika to mid-air barrel  roll into a somersault to grab the rope before it hit the ground.

With both guys startled, we fled towards the steps to get to higher ground.  “We shall release the bird from the highest peak of Lviv!” Monika shouted followed by a clucking sound from her tongue smacking the roof of her mouth.

The coast was clear and our mission to be completed without a cliche final battle scene after the audience was led to believe that the bad guy was already dead. Maybe those guys had backup birds – we weren’t about to go find out and let that ruin our victory.

We released the great bird.  It was free. It circled high above us. We smiled and waved then jumped to do a super team mid-air high-five.  Then the large bird landed on the flagpole. With the Ukraine flag flapping under it’s claws.

The Roof of Lviv

At least he’s free to decide, we agreed. Content we descended the hill without considering the intense brainwashing (and probable drugging) it had been subjected to.

We made it to the bottom of the mountain but on the wrong side. Old Town was at the other side of the mountain. Still, this called for a celebratory drink. We grabbed two beer bottles at a truck-stop like lemonade stand terrace for the mid-afternoon drunk and stumbling. We didn’t even have time to toast our good deed.  We were too busy getting into our next adventure: dealing with three professional Ukrainian alcoholics; a forty-something bald and aggressive one with one eye on me and a half open eye on my blurred out double; one old, silent type staring down his plastic two liter water bottle filled with vodka (now reduced to a third of the bottle); and one really old, four and a half fingered romantic waving his half index finger at Monika slurring sweet nothings about her beautiful soul.

High Flying in Old Town

We never did find High Castle, but we did make it back to the Old Town. Perhaps it was stolen during the night only to be found days later in some shady, industrial laundry warehouse on the outskirts long after we split town. Maybe it never existed to begin with. The picture is from Google images, but maybe they’re in on the conspiracy. Whatever the case, actually reaching High Castle was not that important because it sure felt like we got there anyway.

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