"The 10:30 Train from Lutsk" Lutsk by Michael_D
Lutsk Travel Guide: 36 reviews and 116 photos
I had originally hoped to fly into Kiev meet Peter, train to Lutsk for a ONE DAY and spend the next 22 days touring Moscow, St Petersburg, Minsk, L'vov, Kiev, St Petersburg, the Golden Ring and possibly jumping accross the border to Warsaw BY PLANE. When I arrived in Kiev I found out domestic airlines in Ukraine we CLOSED due to gas shortages.
On top of that going to Belarus thru Ukraine wasnt possible at that time and going to Poland wasnt something Peter could do. SO I ended up spending 16 of my 26 days in Lutsk. HOW? read on dear reader!
Reality struck me early when Peter and I somehow missed our connections in Kiev and he headed back to Lutsk. I landed at Borosphol airport, didnt find Peter so I headed to Lutsk on my own to catch up. LUCKILY a minister from USA at the airport suggested a nice Russian guy from Kamchatka could help me as he spoke English pretty well. THANK GOD..for he showed me around Kiev, took me to me his friend at his apartment and we shared some food before he got me to Kiev train station. It seems the train was leaving the moment we arrived on the platform.
As the train ROLLED out of the station he and I bargained with the provenitsa and got in her cabin. I pressed a $20 bill into his hand before he knew what I was doing(at that time a good MONTHLY wage in Ukr was about $3 USD)he also agreed to send a telegram to Peter..all negotiated as the train rolled out of the station and into a new world for me.
The provenitsa ushered me to her cabin, gave me the top bunk and suggested I STAY in the cabin for the 300+ mile ride. Lucky thing because 3x during the night there were drunken brawls outside my(locked;-) cabin. Some guy punched the thick window and shattered it
leaving a bit of blood nehind as well.
I did arrive in Lutsk and found it small and quaint. But the cab drivers somehow didnt know where Peters house on Pavlova St was. They were very nice but it seems there are 2 Pavlova Streets in Lutsk. The missionary in Kiev from Kamchatka DID to send a telegram to Peter but we later reckoned we passed each other on the road somehow.
You see,without reading Russian or Ukranian you cant even read the street signs. Needless to say...I was glad to see Peter when we finally met up.
We took the train the NEXT day to Moscow. As luck would have it...It was actually a much better train, air-conditioned no less.The trip to Moscow was a dream(see my Moscow page).
Peter INSISTED I didnt need a visa(can you imagine a US citizen getting IN and OUT of Russia without a passport!??) Turns out, he was correct. because of financial/shortages there were NO guards at the UKr/Rf border at midnight. I DID get in and out of Russia without a visa but,,I ALSO couldnt check into a hotel w/o papers.
Moscow was GREAT(see my Moscow page)
Throughout the trip we never seemed to make train connections. To be FAIR it wasnt Peters fault because the schedules changed without notification and the lines were LONG. I did teach him the ploy of finding an enterprising Russian lad, slipping him a buck or tow and the tickets would magically appear(most of these guys girlfriends were ticket agents) it worked 100% of the time.
Somehow we never did get a train from Moscow to St Petersburg. I found out later at that time there were HUGE food shortages in St Petersburg and in typical Russian fashion it was hidden but it affected things like train travel and tourism.
So we returned to Lutsk via L'viv via virtual cattle car because we didnt get tickets early enough. It was full of Ukr construction workers, who were FULL of vodka and heading home after working in Moscow. They were surprisingly gruff, but also surprisingly nice in a way.
Did I complain????...
YOU BET I DID!
(and I am sure Peter was NOT happy with me LOL)
sure...we kept missing trains and
my trip kept getting smaller.
I had just missed St Petersburg, Warsaw and Minsk.
Dont even get me started on Odessa and Yalta.
Peter then had to go to Kiev stranding me in Lutsk(to get visa papers) for 9 days, leaving me to wonder if I would ever see Kiev, Borisphol Airport OR my fight home to Florida.
-5 missed trains
-NO VISA to Russia save the $50 BUT
-10 hotels that wouldnt let me check-in Moscow w/o visa
-1 full day looking for the lady Peter "always stays with" in Moscow that we never did find.
-1 wedding in town near Lutsk no one knows the name of
-16 of 26 days spent in Lutsk
-at a hotel that no one knew the name of
-on a street no one knew the name of
THE "NYET ZAVOOT HOTEL" on "NYET ZAVOOT Prospect";-)
DONT WORRY!.....I still had a good time.
PS I have since apologised to Peter and also found I had pneumonia..an illness that took me 4 MONTHS to get better when I got home. SO,,I wasnt exactly myself in retrospect;-)
The hotel had a cafeteria with very limited choices and no one spoke English. After 5 days or it occurred to them it... more travel advice
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