Now it has really started – Poland and Ukraine (English)

May 20 – May 26

Warsaw – Krakow – Lviv – Odessa

Zurek for breakfast – Impressive Auschwitz and Krakow – Fist camping – Lada is alive and lives in the Ukraine (which is not the EU) – Lebanese in Lviv – Boris sweatlips – Two great lessonsI am going to continue this blog in English. Disclaimer: no rights can be drawn from my faulty use of that great language that connects so many people, now and then. After an easy ride to Warsaw I encountered some less comfortable happenings in the last days. Still we are totally OK. Still relatively easy I guess. On the road from Warsaw to Krakow I got for breakfast ‘Zurek’, which is a Polish soup, fat, sour, with sausage and egg. I later understood that people do not eat that at 9 AM. I Did. Got me really started. First stop was Auschwitz Something everybody should see once. It was very impressive, especailly the end of the railway that lead directly to the gas chambers. Extremely disgusting and horrible. The museum is well maintained and makes it easy (or harder) to understand how it happened.

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Horrible Auschwitz the end of the line…

After that I visited Krakow, a former center of Jewish Polish life. I got similar feelings as in Auschwitz Evelien’s family used to live there before WWII and I visited the house that is stille there. The city is beautiful though.pIMG_0034

Krakow’s old Jewish part

After Poland I steered towards Ukraine, before spending my first night in a tent, which was good, although pretty lonely at Saturday night… Ukarine, the former USSR country was not EU anymore, clearly. First I had to cross the border, which was fine, after I passed 2 Km. of Polish cars, waiting to get through. A quick calculation led to 12 hours waiting for the last car. I just had the ordinary barking border officer, but was luckier than two bicyclists (that I met later) that had to spend many hours, being toyed areound.

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After the Ukrain border

Ukraine was a complete shock. Not EU, hell no. People walking with cows, holes bigger than the road, Lada’s everywhere, words I could not read, no advertising, wooden houses, weird fashion statements. Now is had started. Luckily the road improved and I could move on the Lviv.

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First Ukrain sign…

Lviv is a great little city. I could park in the hotel lobby of hotel George. By the way, prices have dropped a lot since entering the Ukarine. Gas is 50 euro cents for example. Hotels are reasonable affordable as well. In Lviv I ran into some great Lebanese guys that were all medicine students. They were there because of the former USSR – Lebabon link (like Cuba, China, etc.). Kamal and Louis showed me around the city and meanwhile we discussed popular topics such as politics, cultures and women. Louis, whose father is a general, heads a foreign student organisation that nails down Ukrain nationalists that attack foreigners, a big problem there. He already put away one guy – ‘Pokemon’ – in prison. Serious stuff.

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Two great guys, Kamal and Louis in Lviv

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Parked in hotel lobby in Lviv

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Lviv traffic woth its ‘dancing’ road quality

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This is not EU..

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Lviv church

After Lviv I headed for Odessa. On the road – where the temperature now rises by the way – it is really hot, I was stopped by the police. At least that is what they tried to get across, I had no idea. After 15 min. take were behind me and I had to bribe this sweating guy, sitting in his car, while his mates were walking around the bike. Cost me 16 euros. For me ok, for them a lot. Bastards.

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Ukrain landscape

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Common Ukrain situation: car broken down

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Communist heritage

Ukraine by the way has its own way of introducing kapitalism: all prices at different gas stations (over 10 brands) are the same! Anyways. Before Odessa I also has a flat tyre. First time tyre repair. It was terribly hot but managed after a while and could ride to a garage where they fixed it properly. This took me in total some 2,5 hours. Unloading the bike, reloading, etc. 10 min. after that I found out that I reached the maximum capacity of my tank: 700km. Shit. Unload the bike, put all gas on one side, reload, and managed to get to the next gas station. Two lessons. Good.

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Spot the hole..

When arricing in Odessa, on the Black sea, I decided that I had seen enough cities for now. After a pleasant meeting with Vlad, I knew him trough the horizonsunlimited.com site, I made up my mind. Moving on the Russia, and off the beaten track…

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Black sea in Odessa

12 thoughts on “Now it has really started – Poland and Ukraine (English)

  1. Tjezus, wat vet. Doe mij ook zo’n lekke band en lege tank;-) Jaloers is de understatement of the year. Denk je dat je tracks nog te zien zijn over een jaartje of vijf?

  2. he martijn, a dream come true. wat een mooie plaatjes en praatjes man. en ik maar ploeteren op het werk en in halve uurtjes de tenere opknappen. gaat lekker zo, hou je haaks en ik hou je (weblog) in de gaten. cheers mate 8)

  3. Lieve Martijn,
    Wat een teksten en wat leuk opgemaakt. Na die emotionele start, maar dat zal al wel mijlen ver achter je liggen. Morgn gaan wij richting Engeland, eerts een nachtje slapen in gent (Eveliens suggestie) . Heerlijk om alles te lezen van je, geniet ervan Liefs Mam

  4. Lieve martijn,

    Top dat je dit doet. Ik wens je heel veel succes met het uitkomen van je droom. En weet je komt er sterker door terug. Ik blijf je volgen, want het is een genot om je verhaal te lezen. Geniet ervan!!!

    Hartelijke groeten,
    Marianne Kessens-Pater

  5. WOW!that’s all i could say.i salute you my friend!wish you the best….
    thank you for sharing all of this.
    take care,
    thea

  6. Hee Martino,
    Je gaat er steeds ruiger uitzien!Heftig hoor allemaal, heel veel plezier en sterkte en hou me op de hoogte…Kus van Caro

  7. Hallo Martijn, spannend dat we je reis helemaal kunnen volgen! Ben heel erg benieuwd wat er nog meer gaat volgen. Ik wens je alle goeds op je reis! Met het nieuwe logo gaat trouwens alles goed 🙂 Groeten van Erik Schuur.

  8. Hi Martijn..

    Beter laat dan nooit zal ik maar zeggen. Ik werd vandaag, 31 aug. op jou site gewezen en heb vol overgave het reisverslag gelezen. Ik wil, samen met 2 maatjes volgend jaar ook kant op van Oekraine, Rusland op. Leuk te lezen over Odessa, is ook 1 van onze reisdoelen, een voor mij dubbel daar mijn vriendin vandaan komt..

    Succes verder met de trip en zal het blijven volgen.

  9. Hoi Martijn,
    Keep this site up! Vorige week waren we ook in Lviv, onderweg met een Nissan Patrol 4×4. En jawel hoor ook sliepen we in ‘the George’, helaas mochten wij ons vehikel niet binnen parkeren.
    Groet, Jos en Tuur

  10. jag har varit i auswitsh me skolan ohc de va hemst och se jag börgade gråta och allt va bara skit jag trodde min uppväxt va svår men när jag kom dit så insåg jag hur lett jag hadde de gud så hämskt de va

  11. hallo,
    heel graag had ik auswitsch gaan bekijken, dit vanwege mijn interesse in de geschiedenis en het is er eerder nog nooit van gekomen,(je kan niet overal tegelijk zijn),
    kan er mij iemand een link geven om de weg te bekijken of af te printen,
    ik ga met de wagen dus weet ik graag vooraf wat de mogelijkheden zijn ter plaatse qua overnachting in het dorp enz,
    als mij iemand kan helpen met een link naar een toerisme site of zoiets dan kan ik jullie alleen maar bedanken,
    mvg Ronny (Antwerpen)

  12. Hallo Martijn, spannend reisverslag. Wij willen per 1 juli a.s. met 5 motoren (geen Off-Roaders) ook Ukraine aandoen.
    Krakow-L’viv en dan naar het zuiden en weer terug naar het westen. Wat is nodig (visum?)en wat NIET te doen? Groet Gerard.

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