The Way to Lviv

Trip Start Apr 24, 2007
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Trip End Jul 09, 2007


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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Train Day! I got up fairly early (for me), packed up my bag and then headed out. Went through all the underground walkways, past the vendors selling food and various items on blankets, to the metro.  I was still half asleep, so once again I got wacked in the leg by the little gate which I'm sure will leave another nasty bruise. I also got off at the wrong stop. Not to worry, soon enough I started to wake up and made my way to the correct stop and was at the train station.
I had a half nuked/half cold hot dog roll from a stand for breakfast and then went to the platform. The train had two lower and two upper bunks in each compartment, and since I booked the cheapest, there were two more bunks at the end of the cabin and no cabin doors. Hadn't been on a sleeper car before! 
The train had started in East Ukraine the day before so everyone was waking up and rolling up the thin mattresses when I got on. The only other person in my cabin was a Ukrainian girl named Svetlana who had been visiting her family in the East (right by the border) and was on her back to Latvia where she and her Swedish husband live with their son. She spoke pretty good English and was very eager to practice it. She told me she tries to read one English book every month to keep it up. She said she had moved to Latvia when it was all the USSR and now needs to go the long way since she needs visas for Russia and Belarus. She kind of adopted me for the train ride, telling the nasty wagon attendant that I was her daughter so she'd be nice to me. The wagon attendant really, really didn't like me and didn't like that I didn't speak her language. She was much nicer once I had a Ukrainian mother and even managed a half smile at one point. According to Svetlana, it was ok since she though I looked Ukrainian anyway!
Svetlana came back at one point with 2 younger guys from Lviv for me to meet. I guess she figured a single girl travelling alone wanted some company. We spent most of the day chatting, napping, reading and eating. I had to laugh when she started to use a nail file to cut up her kolbasa. She just shrugged her shoulders and laughed it off saying sometimes a girl needs to work with what she has. After 12 hours on the train, we made it to Lviv. The two guys reappeared to help us get our bags down and off the train. Once off, Svetlana's nephew and the other 2 were trying to negotiate me the lowest cab fare with three different cabbies. I said goodbye to my cabin mate and then got in the cab her nephew had grabbed, only after he insisted on giving me his number just in case I needed anything while in town.
I arrived at the hostel just as everyone was gearing up for a big night out. The hostel was basically an apartment and everyone seemed like one big happy family. I had a couple beers, a quick shower and hurried to get ready. Grabbed one more for the cab and then we headed for Millennium, one of the clubs in Lviv. It was dead so we piled back into cabs and went to a club called Metro. Fun place, good night. Didn't have too much, enough to chat with some locals, have a few dances and enjoy some of the champagne the other guys had bought in a bid to impress the local girls.
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