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Ukraine report

This huge country, as big as France, is well worth a visit. I'm just back from ten days there. The site http://www.lonelyplanet.com has selected notes under "Destinations", and the printed guide book to Ukraine, Russia and Byelorus has just been revised. Since I haven't seen the new edition I hope I don't repeat it if I say that at Korosten there's a railway museum designed o teach young Soviet rail staff the great traditions of the railway, complete with certificates of honour of devoted workers, red flags, and so on, but including also a display to honour the railmen who drove in and out of Chernobyl after the meltdown.

And at Zytomir there's a museum to celebrate Ukrainian involvement in space, with many items that have been to space and back, especially in Soviet days, but also up to now.

The Lonely Planet site has under "Postcards" many ideas on how to get a hotel letter of invitation without in fact booking hotels. One needs such a letter in order to get a tourist visa.
The Tourist Information Office at the George Hotel in Lviv can't help much, soince they can book only into Intourist hotels, some of which are 50 US dollars a night, whereas the LP guide book shows that there are many two star hotels at twenty a night. The George Hotel itself was fine, at 80 grivnicy or 16 US dollars for a single room with breakfast but no bath.

The trains from Germany and Poland to Ukraine are uninviting: for one thing the sleepers have no washbasin in the cabin. So I'd say book to Prezymsl, almost on the Polish frontier, then buy a local ticket to Lviv, and internal Ukraine sleepers, at ten dollars a night, from the useful rail office at the Hotel Dnistr in Lviv (closed for lunch 1 to 2).

The cheap way to Lviv is Berlin to Rzepin at 6 dollars, then Rzepin to Przemysl at 9 dollars, or 21 dollars with a Polish sleeping car berth, and 7 dollars from Prezymsl to Lviv. If you go to Euraid at the northern side of the ground floor in Berlin Zoo station a helpful American may be abloe to sell you theset ickets. If so, the best route, avoiding use of ex-Soviet sleepers, is Berlin Zoo 2055, train with sleepers, couchette, and buffet car, Krakow 0742 to 1142, restaurant car train, Przemysl 1545 to 1657, Lviv 2151. If not, you can leave Berlin Zoo by restaurant car train at 1655, change and buy your tickets at Rzepin 1955 to 2042, arrive at Krakow 0742, and carry on as above. You can find other trains in the Thomas Cook European Timetable, which may be held in the reference library of a city near you.

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