Caviar Flights and Borscht on Track – Adventures in Crossing the particular Motherland

Occur to be in Moscow on business whenever your boss tells you he wants a person in Kiev by Monday. Quick, what do you do? In the U. S., you’d log on to some travel search engine in order to find the best flight. The train more than likely even register as an option. But here in the Former Soviet Union (F. S. U. ), the train is usually the first (and often the only) consideration for long-distance travel. Take a look at take a closer look at both options.

Most major cities in Russia and Ukraine have airports, and many major airlines serve them. In-country air travel is modern and : as expected – relatively inexpensive. Thankfully, even on purely Russian flight companies such as Aeroflot, announcements are made both in Russian and English. Equally practical, all important airport signs are also composed in English. The main difference between Traditional western air travel and Russian is the peripheral infrastructure. Don’t expect Starbucks. Rather, be thankful if there’s a cafĂ© at all. Bring your own toilet document (a rule that actually applies to any kind of mode of travel throughout the F. S. U. ), and brace yourself for barbaric bathroom problems.

Step through the gate and world returns.
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Nowadays, passengers on Russian airlines are better fed than their American counterparts who are fortunate if they get a packet of pretzels tossed their way. The various Slavic airlines which serve the F. S. U. are reminiscent of the range of Western budget airlines like South west: Professional, reliable, and no-frills. They have comparable safety records, as well. Even though you’ll probably do most of your long travel in the F. S. U. with the airlines, you shouldn’t rule out teach travel.

Buying a train ticket is simple enough, even if you speak no European. At the ticket counter, say the your destination as you hand the girl a slip of paper using the travel date written on it. Just be sure you use the European system: Day then month. It’s easy, and seat tickets are cheap. You can cross nearly the entire expanse of Ukraine : the largest country in mainland European countries – for a whopping ten dollars.

But it won’t be in style. A ten dollar ticket buys you passage via a barracks-style wagon called ‘plaskart’. I don’t know what the word indicates, but can only assume it’s European for “suffering. ” Winter or summer, it’s always too hot plus too crowded. Although the communal character of traveling ‘plaskart’ style can be appealing – imagine sharing beverage and dried fish with comprehensive strangers – the communal sound and odors quickly take their toll. Traveling in the great cows wagon of the Russian train system is best experienced vicariously.

That was the particular ten dollar ticket. For $15 or so, you can go first class. Known as ‘kupe’ (pronounced ‘koo-PEH’), this is a private, four-person sleeping car. Your own bed, your own luggage compartment. There’s even a lady who comes to bring you teas. Some trains have an even more exclusive option: Written C. B., is actually pronounced ‘Ess-Veh’ and stands for ‘Super Wagon. ‘ A spot in one of such two-person rooms will cost about $35. But no matter how comfortable your personal area is, there’s no hiding from the sound of the train itself. My sweetheart finds the constant clattering relaxing, but as I try to sleep, it sounds like it’s Hammer & Anvil Day at the metal works next door. Our advice: Bring ear-plugs.

Still, travelling by train across the great Motherland is an amazing experience. Make your way to the restaurant car, sit at a table by the window, and enjoy the surprisingly tasty dinner as you view the countryside roll by. Neither of them words nor photos can convey the marvel of passing the particular unending fields of sunflowers within the south of Ukraine. Is there that much yellow in all the world?