Monday, 15 May 2017

Back to Kharkiv!


After the excitement of Eurovision and with my ears ringing, we woke to a grey day. Not much happened during the morning. I had breakfast at 8am because I always wake up at the same time regardless of when I went to bed, which in this case was well after midnight. And Marina had her breakfast at 10.30 - I joined her with a cup of tea. We packed our gear and checked out of the hotel just after the allotted mid-day.

We walked to the station and Marina was looking for somewhere to buy an inexpensive snack to eat on the train. I said she should have stolen some food from the breakfast buffet but either she didn't hear me or maybe she didn't understand my strange English humour. She explained later that it was the latter.

We reached the station after a walk of 20 minutes down the hill from the hotel and found the platform easily. The train was larger than I am used to with large seats in first class which is what I had chosen. The difference between first and second class is not very great so it was an easy choice - I bought the tickets online about a week previously about the same time as I bought the Eurovision tickets.

The train service was described as "high-speed" but that was mainly on account of its having very few stops. In some cases, the track was very poor and the train never exceeded 140 km/hr. This was displayed on LCD screens together with advertising and other information about the journey. People are so happy that we can get from Girona to Barcelona in only 37 minutes but, in fact the speed is not very great, 200 km/hr. It doesn't stop! The TGVs in France regularly run at 300 km/hour because the track is especially designed for that.

The journey passed very pleasantly and towards the end, I bought some fruit tea and cakes from the buffet. We both took the Metro from Kharkiv Station, Marina went home and I went to check into the hotel. On the way, I stopped at Citrus which is computer gadget shop and bought a silicone cover for Marina's phone. I was alarmed to discover that she had dropped it and it had landed right on the edge which is normally fatal. I bought the phone, Samsung A7, for her so I would have been doubly sad. I had a meal in Abajour which is the hotel restaurant. The atmosphere is normally a fog from hubble-bubble pipes which are very popular here. I always used to associate them with Turkey but then I see many Turkish influences here, music for example.

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