Podcast #055: Back In The USSR

From the top of a small hill, there is a view looking out over the landscape beyond. It's mostly trees down below, then a wide river, and in the distance, tower blocks of a different city.

Welcome to Episode 55 of my “Travel Tales From Beyond The Brochure” podcast.

This episode is a little unusual. See, it’s occurred to me that in the spring of 2014, I did a backpacking trip around the western edges of what when I was growing up was the Soviet Union. And it seemed like an apt time to talk about it, given not only events in that region at the time of recording, but also considering the background to the current situation in the region pretty much effectively started only a month or two before my trip.

My visit took me from Romania, which doesn’t count for this pod so I haven’t mentioned it save in passing, into Moldova and Transnistria, then a hop into Ukraine, followed by trains to Belarus and then Lithuania. I would say: I’m giving you this travelogue as a memorial of more peaceful times, but as we shall hear, that was not the case.

Topics discussed include:

  • Twitter Spaces update & the disappearance of Episode Numbers
  • Soon I will have a newsletter!
  • Background to my 2014 trip to Eastern Europe
  • An overview of trains in the ex-USSR
  • A couple of days in Chisinau, Moldova
  • One full day in Tiraspol, Transnistria
  • Why I didn’t go to Odesa
  • Kyiv after the revolution
  • How Minsk (Belarus) didn’t look as I expected it to
  • The World Ice-Hockey Championships
  • My first career-break-era mental health crash
  • How I found Vilnius (Lithuania) relaxing and pleasant
  • Why I was barefoot in Vilnius
  • Notes from a much smaller international train
  • Surviving on potatoes and cabbage

You can listen via the feed above, or via Spotify, or on your podcast app of choice. Let me know if it isn’t, by the way, and I’ll see what I can do. In addition, a PDF transcript of this episode is available by clicking here.

As always, if you have anything to say about the topic, or indeed about my podcasting in general, leave a comment or let me know.

I also now have a Patreon! If you like what you hear, and want to access exclusive content (or just to show your appreciation), then head on over to my page and donate to me!

There are no contributions in this episode, though my friend V does give a passing impression of a distant radio station as the intro.

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