Friday, July 07, 2006

Yazyk ne tolko do Kieva dovedet

When I heard in March that I would be an election monitor in Kmelnitska Oblast, there was basically one place I would like to be stationed at: Kamyanets-Podilsky. It is a 13-th century fortified town, which is now on the list of Unesco World Heritage. It has a rich history being a border town on the Smotrych river, a contributory to the Dniestr. It was occupied by many, including Poland and the Ottoman Empire. Remnants remain. I was promised that if I'd return in summer, it would be green. And so it was, overwhelmingly. The picture features part of the city walls around the old town. The old town is surrounded by the river on all sides, taking an odd Omega-shaped turn.

Getting there is already something. Why would routes make sense? While I was returning from Romny on Wednesday evening and had to be back in Kyiv on Friday, I could not take the 20:36 overnight train from Kyiv. All possibilities left were the trains to Khmelnitsky and continue by bus, then take the overnight direct train back.

Even though the saying goes here that "the tongue brings one to Kyiv", the tongue is pretty much needed to go elsewhere also, for example to K-P. Khmelnitsky has two bus stations: a central one and the main one – on the edge of town. Originally designed to slightly divert traffic out of town, it no longer serves that purpose. Moreover, in order to go to K-P (or Chernivtsi and other places), one almost crosses the centre again. And the bus is certainly not the only vehicle. So it seems that the logic that was put in place when the town's infrastructure was planned, no longer applies. Even a provincial capital like Khmelnitsky is overcrowded with traffic nowadays. And why would there be a direct connection between the three stations (railway, old bus station, mian bus station)? I'd say that the tongue brings one anywhere in Ukraine :)

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