Eastern Europe 2007

Including the breakaway republic of Transdnistria

Return to WarsawTo the EastL’vivRadioactivityRodina MatBabin YarSt. Sofia’s CathedralOdesaOn the beachBribery and corruptionTiraspolInto MoldovaChişinăuNight train to BucharestTransylvaniaBranSinaiaBucharestPalace of the ParliamentBulevardul Unirii


Return to Warsaw

Sunday, September 2nd 2007


On my way back from China in 2002 I'd stopped for a couple of days in Warsaw. This time, I started here because flights were much cheaper than flights to Kiev, and I thought it would be nice to start somewhere familiar.

I only spent a short time in Warsaw. I bought a ticket to Lviv, departing that evening, so I just went for a tired walk up to the old town. I walked via the Saski Gardens and Castle Square under grey skies, and found the experience a bit like intense déjà vu.

At 6.15pm I got on the train to Kraków, from where I'd pick up a connecting train to Przemyśl and then another to Lviv. I fell asleep almost straight away but woke briefly to see a beautiful sunset as we sped south. On the train from Kraków to Przemyśl I met two other travellers and chatted to them as we headed east. At Przemyśl we changed trains for a sleeper, and I was happy to get a little bit of sleep. This was interrupted only by the border crossing, where my battered passport, already veteran of 24 countries, caused a bit of consternation. "What has happened to your passport?", demanded the woman checking it, sternly. For the sake of brevity I skipped stories of Patagonian rain and Atacaman sand, and said I had accidentally laundered it. "Only once?", she asked, with a raised eyebrow and a smile. With that she stamped my passport and I was in Ukraine. It was 2am.

To the East→

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