Thursday, August 16, 2012

Less statues and more service, please!

The Odessa train station is, as one could expect, a slightly more grand building than the bus station in our home town of Porvoo (population 49 000). But what the boring concrete block in Porvoo lacks in style is amply made up in the friendliness of the ladies working at the combined ticket/snack counter.

Sadly it's the other way round here: some very rude people work in this gorgeous building. This probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who's ever tried to buy a train ticket in Ukraine - we've even heard about someone who had to fly back home because the clerks flatly refused to sell them a train ticket, stating that their Russian skills weren't good enough.

After three visits to the train station and standing in line to literally ten different counters we now have tickets to St Petersburg via Kiev and Zlobin. In case you didn't know, Zlobin is located in Belarus (we didn't know either, and didn't dare ask the woman at the counter), but luckily we happen to have transit visas for Belarus as we had thought we'd return through Minsk.

How we'll get the bikes with us when we switch trains in Kiev and Zlobin is still somewhat of a mystery, but Lina has a plan that includes bubble wrap and cardboard. The great trans-Soviet train adventure awaits us! (After a few days' vacation in Odessa.)

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