Archive for Train

September 1: Chernobyl

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Administration building, Apartment buildings, Chernobyl, Ghost towns, Kiev, Parishev, Playground, Pripyat, Self settlers, Stores, Summer camp, Taxis, Train, Travel, Ukraine, Vacation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2016 by Amanda

This morning we again headed to Pripyat.  The first stop was a store with a yellow phone booth in front of it.  This store had several locked locks but, of course, there were other ways in!  This store still had several cash registers and a piano amongst other debris.  A lot of the ceiling tiles were in pristine condition.


Store with the yellow phone booth.

After that it was the administration building.  I found a 1995/1996 calendar so this building was probably used to around that time.  There were also a few interesting signs but this building was mostly empty.


The 1995/96 calendar.

I then briefly looked at a small playground near some apartment buildings and separated by a street.  One part of the playground looked a bit like a UFO.

I looked around one of the apartment buildings for a bit.  It seemed to be a less-visited one but there was evidence of squatters in one of the apartments with intact windows.  This building had quite a variety of wallpaper left in it.  There was also a fair bit of furniture and some of it was in pretty good condition.  One apartment had a chair that matched the wallpaper.  Of course, I also found a piano!  I definitely could have spent more time here as I didn’t even approach the upper floors.


Matching chair and wallpaper.

Then it was off to the former liquor store that now holds a number of pianos from a neighbouring apartment building.  Some of the pianos still work!

After leaving the city of Pripyat for the final time, we went to look at trains.  I would have liked to have seen the actual train station but that wasn’t allowed.  There were also some tanks there but we were told not to touch because of the high radiation.  There was also some wood cut from the red forest and definitely didn’t look normal!


Wood from the Red Forest.

After lunch, we headed to the village of Parishev to meet a well-known self-settler named Ivan Ivanovich.  To get there we had to go past a guard booth on one road where the actual gate was actually located around the corner on a different road and had to be moved manually.  This village still has an operating fire station which serves a large area and several self-settlers but Ivan is the only one who welcomes visits.  On Thursday, we were his first visitors that week but he’d had four groups visit the week before.  The village has a number of houses and a former bus shelter.  Some of the roads are getting a bit overgrown though.  The levels of the radiation in this area are the same as most places outside the zone.  He evacuated but returned about a year after the disaster.  His wife died a few months ago and he seems a lonely and sad now.  He was upset that his television wasn’t working when we visited; hopefully, he managed to get it fix as I can see how important it would be for him.  He showed us he (non-working) car from the 1950s which he keeps in his garage.  We also had time to briefly look at another (abandoned) house in the village.


Ivan showing us his car.

We then headed to a children’s summer camp.  It clearly had been visited in a while as there was a tree blocking the road.  I think I would have loved this place as a young child.  Quite a few of the cabins were painted with children’s illustrations.  The place had a very peaceful feel and was located near the river though trees now block the view.  Liquidators stayed here during the aftermath of the disaster.


One of the cabins.

We arrived back at Kiev’s train station in the early evening.  The taxi system is definitely weird.  It is much cheaper to call a taxi which our guide did for us.  There were plenty of taxis there but we had to wait for specific ones and it was rather chaotic.  You’d think this would be a place to have a taxi stand.  Anyway, I arrived at my hotel without incident though the driver was definitely crazy.

To Udaipur: November 7

Posted in India, Monkeys, Train, Travel, Udaipur, Vacation with tags , , , , , on December 12, 2015 by Amanda

Today was a long, yet worthwhile, day of travel.  We left the hotel in Pushkar at 6 am as we had to be sure to arrive at a train station by 10 am.  Naturally, the train actually ended up departing at almost 11 am!  Waiting wasn’t all bad though.  There were some interesting things to see, like a woman carrying an enormous boxes of papadums on her head.  This train line is still using 1930s technology and only travels around 19 kilometres an hour.  It travels through mountains and as it is so turny you can often see the front of the train from the back (and vice versa).  The train is rather basic, used mostly by locals, and surprisingly calm.  I think I’d seen way too many tv shows of Delhi and Mumbai trains where people push like crazy to get off and on!  Part of the reason the train has trouble staying on schedule is that it stops wherever monkeys are hanging around the tracks and both the locals and tourists feed them!


The train!

We had lunch at a very local restaurant.  The thali was very affordable and very good.  It was a little spicy but very manageable.

Upon arrival in Udaipur, it was clear that it is a very attractive city. It seemed cleaner and less chaotic.  We stopped a a place where you could have clothes custom-made but I (as did most others) thought it was overpriced.  I think I was proven right when I saw similar places offering much cheaper prices the next day.  Anyway, it was kind of interesting to watch the process.  We also stopped for a quick look at one of Udaipur’s lakes.  The city is sometimes called the Venice of the East.