Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A train ride away...

Hooray, we got our train tickets!!!! I feel like a peasant living in mediaeval Europe who rarely ventures beyond the city walls and now my farmer husband is in his Sunday best, hitching the horse to the wagon, and I (in my finest) am climbing into the back of the wagon with the vegetables and livestock that we'll sell in the neighboring city.

Well, except that we have no produce or pigs to sell.
Or a horse for that matter.
And in a very un-peasant-like manner, we'll be traveling there... СВ!!!

СВ stands for спальный вагон, or sleeping car. It's the first-class version of overnight train travel with only 2 bunks to a compartment. I've only met one person who has ever travelled this way. We usually go купе (kupe), which is second-class with 4 bunks to a compartment. Most friends and relatives travel плацкарт, which is the cheapest and also resembles how cattle are transported (if cattle could be coaxed onto a bunk. And if they drank beer in transit). D and I took плацкарт once. I told him that if he wanted our relationship to survive, then the future held only купе for us.

СВ is usually prohibitively expensive but we waited so long to buy tickets that it was the only available option. Плацкарт is usually the first to sell out, then купе. I guess the truly wealthy are too busy traveling around in helicopters and Maseratis to be bothered with traveling first-class on a train, and СВ is too expensive for most. Luckily the tickets weren't too bad this time: $50 each to get there via СВ, $25 each to get back in купе. I'm really, really excited to see what conditions are actually like in СВ, even if it merely means freedom from snoring strangers :p

I'm not going to tell you where we're headed yet, but here are some clues...

It takes about 10 hours on the train + 2 hours by bus to reach this place from Kharkiv.

It's my favorite place to visit in Ukraine during the chilly months. Everyone else says this is crazy, that it's vastly superior in the summer. But on our last visit these two cats agreed that winter is best :p Cats are never wrong, right?

And one final clue- the city is ancient. I mean, all European cities are old, of course, but the party started here in about 500 BC.

See you next week!!!! : )

PS: If your curiosity has gotten the best of you, here's the answer.


  1. So you are returning to close the deal to buy Rapunzel's Tower?

    Enjoy the break, hoity toity capitalists, travelling so exclusively!

  2. Looks awesome (and I'm super jealous of your first-class train travel!)

    I totally agree that the Eastern European beach towns are better in winter/spring. Not so busy, beautiful, and still (relatively) warm.

  3. This reminds me of when Polly and I travelled to Sochi for Christmas 2011!