Sunday, May 13, 2012

Svaneti, Part 2: The Overnight Train to Zugdidi

Svaneti, Georgia

For the first leg of our journey to Svaneti, Sandy, Kate, and I took the overnight train from Tbilisi to Zugdidi.

I’d been worried about our tickets – they were only 11 lari apiece and the ticket agent had asked Kate (who purchased the tickets) if she was OK with 2nd class, as that’s all that was available.

The tickets from Batumi to Tbilisi had been 20 lari for a 4-bed cabin and 40 lari for a 2-bed cabin, so I fretted about these 11-lari tickets. This is because I’d heard about the dreaded platzkart class, where I had the impression travelers stretched out on bare wooden pallets in a car filled with same.

But Marina, who owns the guesthouse where Kate stayed, pored over the ticket information and pronounced that our beds were, indeed, beds and were, indeed, in a private cabin.

So we arrived timely to the train station, climbed aboard our train car and entered our cabin. Tight quarters, but not terrible. We’d shared the cost of the 4th bunk, so we had the place to ourselves. Sandy volunteered to take the top bunk and Kate and I each had a bottom bunk. No sheets or pillowcases on the vinyl mattresses or for the naked cloth mattress or pillow. I was wondering, "Is this what 2nd class means? No sheets or pillowcases"? But the porter did eventually distribute same.

Having one toilet for 40+ people in a train car is really not sufficient. And the condition of the toilet was foul. People, people: Cleaning supplies don’t cost much. There’s no excuse for such toilets on a public train. They should be cleaned at least once midway through the trip. 

Unfortunately, we couldn't see much out our window as it was pretty grimy.  

But I guess when all was said and done, it got the job done. We slept. We arrived without mishap. And for only 11 lari.  

Sparrow was our man on the ground in Zugdidi; she'd agreed to procure us four seats on the 7:30 a.m. marshrutka to Mestia.


Chui said...

Any air-con in 2nd class compartment? Thanks!

Mzuri said...

I don't recall that there is.

Unknown said...

Hi! can i ask where you bought your train tickets from? :) thank you!