BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ukraine Day 5. Kiev to Poltava by train, and an exciting discovery.


The phone next to our bed rang at 4am with our wake up call and we grumpily got up and got ready for our train trip to Poltava. Suzanne was muttering something about "Who's idea was this anyway?" Our room service breakfast arrived and I must admit it was a bit of a let down compared to our breakfasts in the dining room on the other days. Not that I need a lot of food anytime at the moment. We seem to be eating our way through Ukraine.

We lobbed at the railway station and guess what. It was closed. Apparently the trains were still running, but the station was closed. Luckily our driver was a good bloke, he looked at our tickets and lead us through the huge crowd outside and through a maze of corridors and tunnels to deposit us exactly where our train would leave from. I doubt we would have found it without his help.

It was here that another was misconception was shattered. I will admit that I was expecting an old bone rattler train, but no, it was a sleek, modern train with aircraft style seats. Very comfortable. I didn't expect to be hurtling toward Poltava at 160kph in complete comfort, sipping coffee, while surfing the net on the free wifi available on the train. Oh yes, they had power points next to the seats so you could charge your laptop as well. Fantastic!

The scenery once we were out of Kiev was your usual rural landscape. The only difference was the trees along the side of the railway line. It's autumn and the leaves are changing. The colours of the leaves here are like nothing I've seen before. They were red, bright yellow, orange, and everything in between.

This was the only pic that sort of shows some of the colours.
Taking pics at 160 from the train just didn't work.

We arrived in Poltava and were met at the station by Mykhailo our guide, and Alexi our driver. We dropped all our luggage at the hotel and went to the restaurant for a coffee and chat. One thing we'd love to do is find out the name of dad's village (there's been some confusion over this) and then visit it if possible. I showed Mykhailo the book that dad had written, but we can't read. He skimmed through it and gave us a quick summary. Then he went to the back of the book and became excited. The more we got to know Mykhailo we realised he does get excited. There were a few pages at the back of the book that were about dad's history, and it named his village. Lozovy Yar. Breakthrough.
Mykhailo is the sort of guy who gets things done. If he thinks of something, it doesn't go on his to do list, he just does it straight away. He was off across the road to the archives office, which coincidentally is on the opposite corner to our hotel. Oh, yes, it was Sunday, but he just kept banging on the door til someone answered.

Then he told us that Lozovy Yar is about 50km from Kiev, and about 250km from Poltava. Damn, we should have arranged a visit while we were in Kiev. Mykhailo just said "It doesn't matter, we will go tomorrow, but it will take some time and we may have to pay the driver some extra". No problem!

It was pretty exciting. We now had village name, and location, an 8am appointment with the archives on Monday morning, and a trip to dad's village tomorrow. To top it off, Poltava is a beautiful town. It's really nice without the hustle and bustle of Kiev. We needed to celebrate tonight so I bought a bottle of top shelf vodka...for $7 AUD.

 Mykhailo reads through dads book while Lily, Ron, and I hang on his words.

The street outside our hotel had this tree lined walkway in the centre while the traffic ran down each side.

 Our hotel.

At last a Lada, and it's a station waggon.
It was pretty tidy as well.

Now all of this was achieved in an hour or so and now Mykhailo was ready to take us on our first day tour of Poltava. Hang on.

 Poltava museum.

Statue honouring Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko
the Ukrainian poet.

 Poltava church.

 They love to bling up their cars for weddings in Ukraine.

 One of the many wedding photos Suzanne took of total strangers.

 And another.

And another. Nice pair of birds though.

Wedding dress style here seems to be a bit revealing. One girls was literally falling out of her dress. Looking at these dresses, I'd love to see what the girls would be wearing on their wedding night! The girls in town wear the same fashion as in Kiev, high heels, short skirts, or tight pants. Oh well, I guess it's OK.

From here we visited a nunnery, talk about a contrast.

With all of that out of the way Mykhailo recommended a restaurant for us for dinner. It think it was called Kosatchka. The food was out of this world. I tried green borsch and it was deluxe. All up, including beer and wine, it came to about $12AUD per head. You can live like a King very cheaply here.

 Our waitress for the evening.

 One of the waiters.

Our little cubby house where we had dinner.
It was a little cold, so they gave us blankets to keep warm.

Back at the hotel we enjoyed a few vodkas. It was a big day, but not as big as tomorrow will be. Lozovy Yar, here we come.

No comments:

Post a Comment