I begin my second year as a Peace Corps Volunteer here in Lugansk this week! I can tell I have been away home and out of the "flying" travel mode ---- my luggage on my trip home to San Diego had too many large bottles of liquid and my wonderful, little, keychain Swiss Army knife was in the wrong spot. I have totally forgotten how to prepare for FLYING.
From all my past blogs and telling stories while I was at home (end of May, early June), you probably know that it takes me 18 hours by train if I want to visit an interesting city or go to Kiev to get on a plane. Yes, there is an airport in Luhansk, BUT.... there is only one flight "in" a day and only one flight "out " a day... and that flight is $300 round trip to Kiev. The train -- round trip is $40. The train ticket wins.
As I will be doing LOTS more train travel this summer and during my remaining time in Ukraine, I thought I would write a quick blog on traveling by train in Ukraine, so that you can share my experience!
I travel in Coupe (купе) class-- sort of first class. There are four berths/seats (two upper, two lower) per compartment, and the compartments do have a door that closes. There are 36 people / 4 per compartment in Coupe class.The other class is Platzcar (платз кар) Platzcar is a more open seating/sleeping train car. I am learning that in the summer, even the older trains have air conditioning in Coupe class!! The only time I was on Platzcar last summer, there was no air conditioning.
There is a train conductor for every car. The conductor collects the tickets, but also will bring tea and coffee (for a small fee).
|THE LOWER BERTH/SEAT IN COUPE CLASS|
|THE UPPER BERTH IN COUPE CLASS.|
BLANKETS, SHEET PACKAGES MATTRESSES VISIBLE.
YOU CAN SEE THE SLIDING DOOR
|THE IS THE OPEN PLATZ CAR CLASS-- DAYTIME SEATING.|
|LOWER BERTH, READY FOR SLEEPING WITH THE MATTRESS, SHEETS, PILLOW AND |
BLANKET ISSUED TO EACH PASSENGER IN COUPE OR PLATZ CAR CLASS.
THE LOWER BERTHS USUALLY HAVE CONTROL OF THE SMALL TABLE!
Toilets (туалет) are at each end of the car.
There is a restaurant car on most trains- but I cannot vouch for the food or the beverages as I have learned to bring my own train picnic.
I must admit that I enjoy the train time. I can get up and walk and stretch my legs, I do not have to worry about the 3 oz. packages of liquid, and I can read my Kindle and relax.
|Caroline, and PCV friends Neva and Sue reading their Kindles on the 30 hour train ride to L'viv!|
The trains are very prompt and keep to the published schedules-- at least for the last 15 months that I have been riding trains. However, the best reason about riding the train is looking out the window and seeing the countryside of Ukraine roll by. Below are lots of photos that I have taken from the train during the past year.
|THIS PHOTO, AND THE ONE ABOVE, ARE THE FIRST STOP LEAVING LUHANSK EN ROUTE TO KIEV.|
THIS IS A MAJOR FACTORY/STEEL TOWN.
|THE FIRST TRAIN STOP FROM HOME/LAST STOP BEFORE HOME - Y|
OU CAN SEE IT FROM A DISTANCE!
|THE COUNTRYSIDE IN FALL|
|ARRIVING IN KIEV.|
THE VERY TALL STATUE TO THE LEFT OF CENTER IS THE "MOTHERLAND".
|FULL MOON LEAVING CRIMEAN PENINSULA EN ROUTE TO LUHANSK|
THIS PART OF CRIMEA IS FLAT FLAT FLAT- LIKE NEBRASKA!!!
|SOUTH OF KIEV EN ROUTE INTO KIEV. RAIN STORMS AND|
THE GRASS IS REALLY REALLY GREEN. MAY 2011 PHOTO
|MAY 2011 PHOTO RAINSTORM... UKRAINE IS SO GREEN IN SPRING.|
|ON GOING ROAD CONSTRUCTION AS WE ARRIVE IN KIEV|
|CROSSING THE DNIPRO RIVER AS THE TRAIN LEAVES KIEV|
|FORESTS OUTSIDE OF KIEV|
|SCENERY FROM THE TRAIN|
|SCENERY FROM THE TRAIN- AND THE EVER PRESENT OUT HOUSE|
|FIELDS OF POTATOS AND OTHER VEGETABLES|
PRETTY SOON THE PRODUCE WILL BE IN MY MARKETS
|HOUSES AND VEGETABLE GARDENS AS THE TRAIN COMES TO LUHANSK.|
I will be traveling to Italy soon to see my daughter and son-in-law -- 18 hours by train to Kiev, and 5 hours by plane from Kiev to Milan! I will remember how to pack for the plane== only 3 oz bottles of liquid and no pocket knives.
Friends will be visiting in August and will be experiencing train travel in Ukraine!
I hope that all of you are well and enjoying a wonderful summer!
All the best.