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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two great guys, Kamal and Louis in Lviv
Parked in hotel lobby in Lviv
Lviv traffic woth its ‘dancing’ road quality
This is not EU..
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.
Common Ukrain situation: car broken down
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.
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…
Black sea in Odessa