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Tourist East '03-'16 - 13: Yaremche - Kolomyia (50 p.)

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19 Mar 2007
Vienna, Austria

To the previous part of the series:
Carpathian East '16 - 12: Rakhiv - Yaremche (50 p.)

The video for this part (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):

April 14 2003

Our driver Bogdan had taken us in his VW-Bus from Lviv to Carpathian tourist town Yaremche. A bend of Prut River is crossed twice on large bridges, all well-guarded by soldiers (until today) like the southern one with tunnel exit here. We took the road to the hotel on the other river bank, sadly telegraph poles have since disappeared on this section of track. For most of the line they still are in place.

Our hotel "Karpaty", well-equipped with penguins.

"Boss, boss! ... I think we ordered a few too many...!"

A nice swimming pool, if it just would not have been under a regime... ;)

We ate a meal at the hotel including a light-green Fanta drink we had not seen before. Bogdan, on the other hand, mainly seemed to live on coffee. I never saw him drink anything else, one cup after another...

August 1 2016

Nowadays "Karpaty" still exists - but hidden behind many new tourist bunkers.

On the road I met Tata busses of Indian origin in fitting colourful paintjobs, as well as many old trucks with according engine noises.

Next to hotel "Zhiva Voda" I walked a path past the southern railway bridge down to the Prut. I expected local train 6441 Kolomyia (8:16) - Yaremche (9:42-:44) - Rakhiv (12:26).
Touching the water seemed like a refreshing idea - but the river seemed to be contaminated already here in the mountains close to the source. An industrial-soapy liquid was left behind on the skin.
From the river bank you could hear the road as well. Once I noticed a particularly loud truck... almost like an earthquake...

... when suddenly at 9:35 a.m. a double loco class 2M62 thundered uphill hauling a long construction-/freight-train. I filmed the second part of the run-past, for sound see video at minute 13:25.


The Prut-whitewater-M62-panorama.

Another perspective from the main road.

I walked back to town and came across the tourist hotspot featuring kiosks, rides and artificial historicising wooden buildings - welcome to Carpatho-Disney!

Old vehicles, probably also as a show.

A class D1 smoked past the park.

A popular photo spot for couples...

... the pedestrian bridge across the rapids.


Above the site a path leads along the tracks and even across the northern railway bridge - any guarding by soldiers futile faced with the tourist crowds. Trains pass here whistling constantly.

The guy was quite clever and managed to put his bird of prey on my arm even if I did not want it and had to move on. Then he smartly asked for a coin from my home country - of course Euros are quite valuable compared to hrywnias. When I gave him a couple of local banknotes, he asked for more - 20. That exceeded the price of the train ticket that took me here - so it was time to move on.

I crossed the Prut into Yaremche centre, following the main street. I saw something unscheduled at the station...

The second construction train hauled by M62-1391. According to a notice the line was closed for maintenance from Vorokhta during the week, so I had been lucky to enjoy the entire ride on Sunday.

Welcome to spa town (German "Kurort") Yaremche, do you want to spend the night at Hotel Edelweiss or at a cottage?

Comrades! - to Raiffeisen Bank Aval.

April 14 2003

In the afternoon after checking into the hotel we visited Greek-Catholic St. Elias Monastery at Dora, the next village north of Yaremche. The compound is situated right next to the railway line and nearby halt. Wish for the future: capture a train with monastery.

A wooden church dating from 1938 featuring wonderful carvings.

Two churches were part of the complex, please savour the older one at the back for one more moment...

August 1 2016

.... as it burnt down on March 15 2014, probably due to arson: http://vikna.if.ua/news/category/if/2014/03/15/16941/view
On the current picture you can spot a pile of rubble at the back to the right where it had stood...
However, immediately a new church was built, finished once I visited again: http://vikna.if.ua/news/category/if/2015/06/18/35745/view
Sadly, it is not as decorated inside as the old one, no replacement for the valuable carvings.

D1-757 as 6405/6406 commuting Ivano-Frankivsk - (arr. 11:30 - times have slightly changed since) Yaremche (dep. 12:20) - Ivano-Frankivsk fulfilled my wish from 13 years ago. If you ask yourself what the chairs on the lawn might mean (some had been put up just then in front of me) ...

April 20 2003

... here an example from Krekhiv Monastery near Lviv on Orthodox Easter Sunday later that trip. These are outdoor confessionals, the priest is sitting on the chair, the congregant kneels next to him.

August 1 2016



A place to fetch holy water, sometimes helped by the garden hose...

While the train stopped to reverse at the station, I walked back into town just to find this Ascension Church setting with more wooden structures at the next level crossing. Capture it the boring classic way from down here? Naaah!


The class D1 departing admired by various generations.

Taking photos of people taking photos of the train - how meta.



The iPhone-panorama.

I took a short midday nap at the nearby hotel.
After 2 p.m. I returned to the station to procure my ticket for tomorrow. Many people were already waiting for the express to arrive soon. I queued at the ticket counter, only one family was ahead of me - no problem, I thought. What I did not count on: my "special friend", an indescribable woman with Soviet customer service ethics and bowl haircut featuring a slight mullet. The family had a more complex inquiry asking for free express places further on in the country. My friend treated it with utter coolness, occasionally typing one letter into the keyboard using a single finger, then taking a long, slow sip from her tea mug. People waiting in line with no express tickets yet behind me grew more and more desperate as departure time approached quickly. My friend was not impressed. Finally, after half an hour for just one customer, it was my turn. What was the answer I received? Local tickets are only available on the same day, try tomorrow morning at 5 a.m....
OK, it was my fault as well, I should have given up sooner. As I approached the photo spot for the express, I already heard distant rumbling and whistling. Then it rolled by early without a chance to take a picture of it. It would not have been a top image, but still - there are not many trains on this line in the first place.

The actually desired spot was the northern bridge down at the river.

The sun was supposed to shine exactly right for my train from the previous day. But there still were two hours to wait for it.

However, as soon as you turned towards the mountains there remained only one thing to do: run! As the thunderstorm raised dust from the streets and the first thick drops of rain began to fall I reached the saving hotel room.

April 14 2003

At least I had caught a DMU here in perfect evening mood thirteen years ago - at least as well as possible by compact digicam.

Kayaking can only be trained during high water in spring.

August 2 2016

Next morning cooler weather had been forecast, in complete darkness without streetlights I walked through the drizzle to the station. A few people were sleeping on the benches of the waiting room where windows had been provisionally shut. The ticket counter was supposed to open at 4:50 a.m. - let's see what was about to happen... of course nothing. Slowly mobile phone alarms started to ring, people woke up for the departure at 5:23. Only at 5:10 an impatient man knocked against the ticket counter window. After a while the curtains slowly rose - and who appeared? My sleepy special friend! She took about five minutes to set the current date on the ticket machine. At the same time a class D1 stabled on track 3 started its engines. An alarmed group of passengers without tickets hurried outside, but this could not be our train as it was supposed to arrive from somewhere else. Persistently I returned to the ticket counter and seized my opportunity finally receiving my ticket at 5:18 (the actual process just takes a second, it is printed out like a till receipt). As victor of the battle with the ticket sales lady I walked out onto the platform in time.
At 5:20 the headlight of train 6404/6403 Ivano-Frankivsk (3:08) - Yaremche (5:17 - 5:26) - Rakhiv (8:10) pierced the rainy dawn. If you look closely it is no class D1...

... but a class M62, hauling the rake of a D1. It was lit by train 6446 Vorokhta (4:33) - Yaremche (5:21 - 5:23) - Kolomyia (7:20), which also turned out not to be a D1 but seemingly a more modern DMU.

Waiting room at Yaremche and an ad for pest control company "Presto" inside my train.

We stopped soon for half an hour at Delatyn, junction of the lines to Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomyia. As soon as trains into all directions had departed we continued to Kolomyia with most passengers still resting.

The local reached impressive Kolomyia station in a gentle morning mood. I noticed that my train was no DMU, but a class DPL1 push-pull rake with one half of 2M62-1051 at the rear. After all passengers had disembarked, the train immediately was shunted away revealing express 357 Kiev - Rakhiv.

Next time we start exploring the capital of historic Bukovina - Chernivtsi.
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