The trip to Kiev was a long one. I decided to leave Belarus early rather than go to Pripatsky National Park because my wisdom tooth has decided to come through and it was causing me a fair amount of pain. Luckily, I found a solution for the pain which all you parents should try. Just numb it with alcohol. Seriously. Granted I was drinking my alcohol so I couldn’t feel pain, but I’m sure if you just put a dab on the tooth the baby will be fine… :S Maybe not? Okay.

The point is, I left early to go back to Vilnius and see a dentist since I trust their dentists more than the one’s in Belarus (they speak English) and it was super cheap. Good news is, there is enough room for the tooth to grow in without causing damage so I can just get it taken out when I get back to Australia. The bad news is that the dentist basically told me in a very professional and polite way to go buy some numbing gel and stop being such a baby. The tooth is still coming through and every time another part of the tooth decides to erupt through the gums it causes me considerable pain. More reason to drink!

The downside of heading to the dentist in Vilnius was that I had to go the long way to get to Kiev since I couldn’t re-enter Belarus to go via Minsk. It was not cheap and it was no easy feat. There is one train per day that goes from Vilnius to Warsaw, Poland and it arrives 30 minutes after the last train to L’viv or Kiev leaves. Talk about annoying. So I booked myself a hostel for the night and made the best of the situation. 1 full day on a train and then 2 overnight trains really takes a lot out of you, especially considering the crappy timing of the train to L’viv, Ukraine. I managed to get to sleep around midnight on the overnight train as I had to switch trains (which meant waiting for a little bit in Krakow) so I couldn’t take a sleeping pill to pass out once I left Warsaw. I was very rudely interrupted by EU Polish border patrol at some ungodly hour like 2:30 or 3:00am to check my passport which meant another 45 minutes before I got to sleep again. About 4:30 in the morning I was awoken by Ukrainian border patrol for the same process. Equally as annoying and even more annoyed when I was woken up by the carriage steward and realised that there was a time change and I actually lost an hour which meant even less sleep.

Needless to say, by the time I got off that train I felt the need for a shower (wasn’t going to happen), food (took an hour to find a place that was open at 6 in the morning and serving food), and sleep (plan to sleep in a park fell through as the weather was crappy). It was a very long day as my train to Kiev didn’t leave until about 9 in the evening. I basically wandered around aimlessly in an attempt to keep myself awake and didn’t take much in. I was also painfully desperate for a Red Bull to keep me awake (note to everyone, never ever start drinking Red Bull) but couldn’t find one anywhere so became so desperate I ordered a coffee. I hate coffee. I hate the taste and I hate the smell but at this point I was willing to try anything. Sure enough, it was so disgusting that I couldn’t even drink half of it.

I wandered around some more at this point taking pictures of random statues, soviet cars and buildings that I liked while wandering back to the train station. Passing close to the Euro Cup 2012 fanzone I noticed a café that had Red Bull. Salvation at last! I went in, ordered a Red Bull  and it was like the nectar of the gods. I decided I should probably order some food as well as all I had was bread, sausage and cheese (and I really hate sausage, but it’s a great train travel food). I attempted to order Ukrainian Borsch, of which they were out, then mushroom cream soup (which they do very well) of which they were out and finally ordered the only other soup on the menu which was simply labelled as “Soup”. Okay, I’ll take it. Oh my goodness was it amazing! I almost ordered another bowl. I asked the waiter what it was called and he looked at me like a crazy person (I’ve been getting a lot of those looks on this trip) and told me it was called “soup”. Not very helpful.

I made it alive to my train and was delighted when I discovered that I had the entire compartment in my carriage to myself. I could take a sleeping pill and pass out without any awkwardness between other women in the carriage! Alas, I obviously did something to tick off Mother Road for she had other plans in store for me. 3 men came into my women’s only compartment to put something in there because the train steward said they could as the compartment was almost empty and it was a fairly large and oddly shaped item. One of the men who was apparently on the train to another town on the way to Kiev took a liking to me and paid the steward 500 Hrvatny to let him stay in the cabin with me. I nearly started crying, all I wanted to do was sleep. So I went out to attempt to speak to the steward who either couldn’t or wouldn’t speak English with me. Probably the former, but I still tried indicating either the man or myself must be moved. He got the gist but refused to move me. Not cool. I forced myself to stay awake until 1 in the morning when this guy got off his stop. It actually took me moving all my bags onto the seat next to me when he went out for a smoke to move to the other side of the compartment.

The train got into Kiev around 9 or 10 in the morning, but I was still dead tired from not being able to sleep as much as I needed to. I had to force myself to find my hostel and stay awake for the day to avoid not sleeping that night. It took ages to find the metro, but once I found it it was easy enough to navigate, especially since everything now has English translations thanks to Ukraine co-hosting the Euro Cup this year.

Incidentally I would not recommend staying at the hostel that I stayed at unless you don’t want to drink or party. It’s pretty good for people looking for a quiet time in Kiev (who does that?). The entire reason I chose it was because it was the cheapest possible option due to the Euro Cup at $35 per night! Some beds in dorm rooms in hostels were going for as much as $220 so I got off pretty easy. The hostel I was at only had one shower (for up to 18 people), one toilet and they didn’t allow drinking in the hostel at all. Talk about annoying for someone like me who enjoys their wine at the end of the day before bed. I spent the day pretty much just hanging out and wandering the are looking for a restaurant to eat at. There wasn’t any games on that first day so I just relaxed in the area.

Conclusion? Speak Russian so you can pay off the compartment steward if need be and don’t take too many long distance trains in a row.

What I’m reading now: Dracula by Bram Stoker

What I’m listening to now: Metals by Feist