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sábado, 24 de mayo de 2014

Night trains in the former Soviet Union.

As far as I had been told, the soviet trains were famous for meeting people and having fun for one night in the train, my experience, however, had nothing to do with meeting girls. 


In Ukraine I decided to pay for transportation, for the first time in one month. I had only 6 days to spend in this country, and I didn’t want to waste one of them in the road. The price helped me a lot to make this decision. A night train from Lviv to Kviv, was only 6€, same price as the hostel. So it was really worth it. The train took around 11 hours, for just 600 km.

  • 6€. 11 hours. 


The train from Kiev to Moscow was different. I was a bit nervous, not knowing whether they were going to let me into the country, even though I had my visa and everything I was supposed to have. 
When I got into the train I had to fill a form, which I didn’t understand and nobody could help me out. I did it 4 times wrong, until the lady who worked in the train decided to fill it by herself. She was the rudest person I’d ever known, but at the same time she was kind of flirting with me. She could look at me as though she wanted to kill me and try to kiss me 5 seconds later. 
We arrived to the Ukrainian boarder and they woke us up in a really “nicely” way. They checked if I had drugs, and try to ask me some questions in Ukrainian, until they gave up because it was no possible to understand each other. Just after half an hour, the train started to move around towards Russia. 

We arrived to the Russian custom 2 hours later, and the officers treated Russian people in a different way than they did Ukrainians. When they saw I was Spanish, they didn’t know what to do. They checked my passport page by page. They asked me why I was going to Russia, why I had been to Ukraine. They checked my passport again. Then they checked my visa. And when I thought they had finished with me, they tried to figure out if I looked like the guy in the passport. The officer called two other colleagues to make sure I was that person. They spent at least 20 minutes with me, if not even more. 
Eventually they decided I could come to Russia, and they stamped my passport.
This stop took almost two hours, and they didn’t let us go back to sleep even though they had already finished with us. 

We arrived to Moscow at early morning, and for the first time in my trip I knew where I was going to sleep that night. So I went to my hotel, a really nice one, and rested the whole day waiting for my brother who arrived at night.  

  • 13 hours. 34€. 

Moscow-St Petersburg. St Petersburg-Moscow. 
Just trying to buy the tickets were a nightmare. I tried to book them in the hotel, and the prices were way too expensive. So I went to the train station and bought them without commission. Still, the lady asked for the passports again, check them out, and try to ask some questions in Russian. We got our tickets for the very same day for just 60€ per person two ways, and we got in a train nicer than the Ukrainian ones. 

  • 12 hours. 30€ each way. 

My experience with those trains is really good. They weren't really expensive considering the distances, and that you didn't need to pay for a hostel. 
They were  not really uncomfortable, and you could get a good rest. 

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