Enjoyed your post. Having opted for the relative safety of St.P and Moscow on my first visit to Russia, I am now considering the Ukraine. I remember TimH firmly telling everyone to stay away from the trains. I'm also interested in the risks of getting around generally. Would like to hear your views (publically or privately) and if you've already made them..which thread? Also interested in comparisons between women in Ukraine and elsewhere you have been. Seems to me there are high quality women wherever you look?
Tried the pepper vodka, too. Took the lining from my stomach.
I will do that Glad, you are so right, the minutes seem like hours and the hours seems like days, I should be ok, I mean what is 5 days. for the record Glad, myself and Sveta went from chisinau 1am to Bucharest 600km arrived 9am
, had the taxi all day round Bucharest, then back to Chisinau arriving 9pm for $130....incredible, taxi so cheap, she went to Italy and back in one last weekend.
Left on Thursday morning, arrived Italy 6am Saturday morning. left 10.00 am sunday morning and back in Italy Tuesday afternoon, cost by Taxi.200 euro.....took me 2 hrs each way and 120 euro:0))
Sounds like trip to Ukraine was excellent
you are quite correct my friend TimH did indeed warn about travelling by train,and in certain circumstances I would agree with that.However when I travel by train in the FSU I ONLY ever use a private compartment.I know here in the west first class train travel can be horribly expensive but as an example..the journey Inna and I took back to Kiev after our visit was over cost the princely sum of 240 gryvnia (about £25 GBP),and that included bedding as the train was a sleeper and the service of the car attendant too who will serve hot and cold drinks and a small selection of snacks.
Train travel need not be unsafe and I did have issues with Tim about this,but MY opinion is that is certainly no worse than riding trains in many western cities.
Comparisons about women in the FSU is a much more thorny question!!.......:)).Through personal experience again,I fell in love with Ukranian women.....so much so I married one....but the one overriding fact I did notice is that all the women I met were such a step above those available to me in my own country,or even western europe for that matter.And that even includes Belarus where I made a journey I would rather forget,but I stress that was NOT the fault of the ladies I met there.
Got to agree when you say that high quality women abound in the FSU.....just a matter of choosing which one....THAT IS THE DIFFICULT PART.....LOL.
I travelled 5 times by train between Tallinn, St.P and Moscow.. 4-berth Kupe. All overnight trains and very cheap. Around $25. The trains were comfortable. I expected to see wonderful countryside but there was little to see besides forests, light and heavy industry and lots of grey concrete. Fellow passengers were companionable.. except on one journey where a male passenger drank a few 'sleeping pills' and the cabin stank of vodka all night. The packaged food reminded me of airline meals and was just as inedible. If you are travelling in those cities it is sensible to book ahead. On the day before my visa expired I managed to get the last (and most expensive) seat available. Buying tickets at the railway station booth was straightforward, although sometimes painfully slow. I relied on people around me to help out. On one occasion nobody spoke English, so I had to return with a friend. The tickets tell you the train and bunk number.
Taxis at the seaport and railway station were a rip off. I was asked 700 roubles for a 100 rouble fair. I declined and flagged down a car. Showed him on a slip of paper where I wanted to go. We haggled. I paid 150. Off he went, no problem.
I like this idea of being able to flag down any car. Never had a problem, even one night when I fell out of a night club after partying with the crew from a visiting cruise liner. Maybe I was lucky.
Throughout my trip I never saw or experienced one act of violence. The men, even when drunk, seem to be affable. Lots of people walking around with bottles in their hands. Seems to be part of the street scene. Unlike, the Brits at home who after a few sherbets want to take on everyone.
The street entertainment was top notch. Violins, electric guitars, drums, acrobats, folk groups, even an orchestra.
The buses too were very cheap and an option if you can figure out the destinations. Typically 10 roubles.
The Metros in St.P and Moscow are very simple. In St.P, go to the cashier, hold up 5 fingers for 5 tokens (or however many you want) and bung her a 50 rouble note. She'll give you the tokens and change. Tokens are 7 or 8 roubles each. One token will take you anywhere on the metro. The stations are clean. Trains every couple of minutes and there was no graffiti. Some of the stations have won design awards. Lots of heroic Soviet-time symbolism.
In Moscow Metro, it's also a breeze. You get a ticket, instead of a token. Order 5 or 10 or whatever. The one ticket will then be charged with the requisite number of journeys.
Unlike the London Underground, you cannot tell which station you arewhen you pull into a station. Few signs on the walls. I seldom could hear the station names being called out by the driver. I just counted the number of stops.
Couple more minor points about the train. There was a buffet and bar. I ate one of the train meals. It was okay.
When ordering the ticket, I asked for a top bunk so I could crash, or lie and read, when I wanted. There was always a queue for the toilet/bathroom in the mornings, so I was up and at 'em early so my bladder didn't burst!
You might be asked for another 50 roubles for bedding (I think). Seems strange not to include it in the ticket price. Maybe some people bring their own.
The compartment was always locked, as a precaution. I think there is a thread here somewhere about how to prevent the lock being slipped from the outside but since the Moscow and St.P runs are pretty high profile, thieves weren't a concern. Every carriage had it's own attendant. They check your ticket before you board.
Luggage can be stored under the lower bunk or in a cubbyhole above the beds. QC
well put.......I too forgot to mention the "extra" charge for bedding,although I have never seen anyone use their own yet.
Don't know about the Moscow Metro,but on most of the Metro's I have used in Ukraine the only warning I have been given by my wife is to keep valuables OUT of back pockets as there are some very talented pick-pockets.I do agree about the stations though.....some of them are works of art.......and VERY deep.
Ironic, by the way - not to pick on BKid - but just a few weeks ago the theory was that this would all end do to economic prosperity, not the wall going back up.
Kind of reminds me of the "science" magazines I read as a kid that warned of a soon coming new Ice Age as average temperatures were slowing falling by a hundreth of a degree per year, the polar ice caps would become bigger and water would become scarce.
Now of course its global warming that we are worried about, and flooding.
We all know that this glorious time to find a Russian woman will not last forever. I made three trips to the FSU in twelve calendar months. I may have found my bride (we are working on it). But if not I may go three more times.
I really don't think there are a lot of Russian girls looking for a way to "get out" I think most Russian girls don't really want to leave their country and the only reason they will leave is if they find true love. My opinion. Its not so bad in the city, don't know about the more rural areas, I hear from Russian people that its not so desirable to live in the smaller areas
As far as the Russian economy getting better and all this coming to an end... probably wont come to an end but I dont predict the future so who knows
When we were in the metro in st pete my woman had her jewelry on and i didnt see any suspicious looks
Glad, lol the first time i was going down the escalator into the tunnel I told Nat that I felt like I was gonna fall forward, dam it is steep! lol
Typical for military men to struggle with families, the money sucks but that is not why you are there. I was there myself, I know the difficulty of surviving on military pay, but my creative resources let me do it. Plus in the position of being in the military you are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for the defense of your country
and freedom for oppressed people, so to be a few bucks short isn't a big deal. We didn't have COLA when I was in, and it was me and three
buddies that rented a town house when we where in the shipyards. Animal House had nothing on us guys.
I agree with Ptichka, Putin's agenda is again to use Ukraine in his
land grab. Ukrainians have a long memory and remember when they were
starving, Stalin was partying it up in Moscow off of their backs I hope and pray for
Ukraine to become autonomous from both the EU and Moscow. Ukraine
has excellent resources, but just needs it's infrastructure rebuilt, and this is where I feel the USA fell asleep at the switch. We could
have helped Ukraine after Glasnost and Perastroyka, but we were too
busy bitching and gloating among ourselves to be relevent in the situation that was presented to us.