Sunday, August 17, 2008

All Aboard: Overnight Train from Donetsk to Kiev, Ukraine

Train travel has its own special charms. But one of the challenges is managing the baggage. Lugging suitcases up or down long flights of steps that go up over trains on the tracks takes muscles. Muscles I can barely pronounce let alone find anywhere on my own arms. Escalators are sometimes there, sometimes working.

But thank goodness for friends such as Volodya who offer to help. Volodya is a student at Ukrainian Bible Institute in Donetsk. But you can't fool me, I told him. You're obviously a weight-lifter. So here we are, luggage already on board, filling time until train departs.

This is an overnight train, one of the longest trains I've seen, with 19-some carriages. It runs daily between Donetsk and Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Thinking 40-60 passengers per carriage, depending on type. So it does end up being lots of people. That means making new friends.

Welcome aboard. Here's our flight attendant on the left and your friendly guide on the right. ;) But may we direct your attention to the steps. They're steep and narrow. And when it comes to navigating the steps with luggage, it's sure is nice to have a muscle-bound friend in tow. (Or maybe that would be vice versa - to be in tow behind a muscle-bound friend.)
How about you dear blog reader. Have you had the pleasure of riding long distance trains in Eastern Europe? Please share your adventure with us!


Alida said...

riding the trains here in russia into Ukraine is always an adventure... my least favorite part of the ride is the bathroom!!!

Eileen said...

Alida, well hello there neighbor. Oh yes, the bathrooms - oh my oh my. I agree!

Now here's an amazing but true one for you: I heard a story about a well-known evangelist (in our fellowship anyway) who back during the Cold War era, before perestroika, was in Russia and looking for ways to get Bibles in and delivered to people without hassle. He had the idea of sending Bibles (or portions thereof) out through the train toilet. You know, come to think of it, that might work. Might want to use a plastic baggy however...