It is a cold, rainy day. Vanamali Prabhu and Ishwar Prabhu left the tour yesterday and returned to Zaporizhzhya, and Mukunda Prabhu Brahmachari returns today.
We should have left for the Black Sea port of Odessa yesterday, but we were unable to get tickets on any of the trains leaving for the coastal resort where the great Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, lived and wrote in the 1820's.
Muralishwar Prabhu and I, and Indra Mohan Prabhu, who is accompanying us to this fourth and final city on our brief Ukrainian tour, books our tickets and rides with us in the taxi to catch the 9:40 p.m. train to Odessa.
On the way to the railway station, we pass the Saint Sophia Cathedral. Built in 1037, it was designed to emulate the splendor of Byzantine churches, reflecting the reception of Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. The cathedral has thirteen onion-shaped domes carried on drums, and the central dome, which is much larger than the rest, is gilded.
The Kiev railway station is much more modern than, say, Moscow, with nicer waiting rooms and seating arrangements, and LCD displays announcing train arrivals, departures, and platforms.
At exactly 9:40 p.m., the overnight train for Odessa pulls out of the Kiev railway station. Russian (and Ukrainian) trains are nothing if not punctual. If the schedule says the train leaves at a certain time, you can set your watch by it.