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Published: April 17th 2012
From the northernmost limits of the former Soviet Union to the westernmost, from the Siberian Arctic to the tranquil, warm, historical European town of Lviv, was 3.5 days of train travel and a temperature rise of more than 40°C. People came and went, the train's denizens morphing from one sort to another as surely as did the landscape through which we traveled. At Moscow I changed trains, the oil and gas workers returning from months-long stints in the north who had made up the majority of the passengers on the way south now dispersing on various trains to their respective corners of the former USSR. They were replaced by Ukrainians returning home from months-long stints in Moscow who brought with them bags full of chicken, eggs, little boxes of salt, salami, bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and vodka for the 24-hour journey west.
Emerging onto the cobbled streets that sneak in between Lviv's crumbling array of houses, churches, sculptures and relics, I was greeted by a warm sun and lack of snow for which, in my thermal underwear, padded trousers and Northern Outfitters Arctic MAXX jacket I was somewhat unprepared.
A brief sweaty period at the beginning of my stay in
the town was, however, only enough of a dampener to necessitate a brief shower in a hostel before my re-emergence into the city.
I find, for whatever reasons, that I only really have energy to write well about a place or take lots of photos on my first or sometimes even second visit. This, as my twelth trip to Ukraine and fourth to Lviv, is necessitating hours behind a computer one of the first hot, sunny April days in Moscow almost a month after the travel itself took place. I want to get outside and walk around, and quite apart from that I have more important stuff to do.
So, I will be brief and honest. I'm only writing this blog as a way to put the photographs in it on the internet. It's how I keep them safe, albeit in a very small file size, in case I lose my memory card and need them for future use. And, I'll admit, I want to hit 500 words because, although I have nothing to say, out of sheer vanity I want it to get on Travelblog's front page.
I could continue writing in my usual style of
recording everything I did, saw and heard in minute detail but it would not even be interesting for me, let alone anyone else, so I'll pretty much leave it at this. One thing I will say - the city is a breath of fresh air after Russia, with less Soviet service and buildings, less cars and less pollution. The climate is better, meaning that people even in March are hanging out together on the streets rather than rushing around in an attempt to get indoors as soon as possible.
In this place where the West and the former USSR meet, blur into one another and which changed hands more than once between the two, I had a wonderfully relaxing and memorable reunion with my parents.
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