Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category


L’viv Ukraine to Krakow Poland – Rambling thought from solo Cycling

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

I gave my last wave to Liz as she passed through the small airports security check point.  Outside it was still dark and cold, the taxi driver was still waiting thankfully, he flashed the cars headlights and I got in for the short journey back to the hostel.  The street lights flashed passed me and my memory drifted back to last winter.  Whilst a winter ride back through Europe would be a whole lot easier than cycling over snowed covered mountain passes in China,  I still needed to prepare myself for being alone.  Last winter I had not really registered just how accustomed to living with another person 24/7 I had become and was surprised when I struggled more with the mental challenges of self-motivation and isolation than the physical challenges of cycling over 4000m peaks.

I spent a few days at the hostel in L’viv sorting out some equipment problems, I waved goodbye to a friend and set off for another adventure.  There has been a lot of discussion this year in my internet world about adventure.  What is it, why do we do it?  I hope that in one of the next blog posts I will be able to summarise some of my thoughts on this.  There is a box below this blog post where you can sign up for email updates or an RSS feed of the blog if you don’t want to miss anything.

Cycling out of L’viv was quite easy, there was one main road to follow, however I stopped to check the map a lot just to make sure.  Liz usually does most of the navigation so I was adjusting to trusting my own skills again, to get me home.  The further away from the city I got, the easier it became and I was soon following road signs to the border town that would lead me to Poland.  Despite the grey day and constant light snow I felt good about things,I was looking forward to following weeks, and kept reminding myself that this feeling of loneliness was temporary. In a week or so I would be used to being on my own again.

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I set up camp in a snow covered forest just before last night.  I contemplated what Liz would make of this and whether she would be enjoying it.  She would like the enchanting forest but not the cold, which I seem to have a higher tolerance of, allowing me to continue to enjoying travelling in the winter.

The next morning it was dry and crisp, my thoughts drifted from topic to topic, and my mind slowly started to  adjust to being alone.  I stopped at a roadside rest stop to have lunch, my daydreaming was interrupted by the phone.  Liz was calling, it was a welcomed interruption, just to hear everyday news from friends and family.  After lunch I cycle the last few kms to the border, changed the last of my Ukrainian money into Polish money and started the process of crossing the line that divided one country from the next.  I was directed to the non-vehical crossing, the grumpy man in the small box flicked through the passport looking for the relevant stamp and then handed back the passport.  I tried to appeal to any sense of empathy he might have by trying to push my heavily loaded bike thought the turnpike.  Hoping that there was a side door that could be opened.  Instead he motioned for me to lift the bike over.  I gave a half smile, half shrug and got the same response.  I started the laborious task of unloading the bike and transporting each bag across.  Reloaded and pushing to the next hurdle I mentally kicked myself, don’t get grumpy, smile and be patient. Luckily the Polish side was slightly more convenient with a large door for wheelchairs and bikes.  After a slow 5 minutes I realised the buzzer to open the door really did not work and that I would have to knock on the door. Loud enough so they could hear, but not so loud so as to give reason for the rather stern looking customs officer to make my life difficult.   Eventually I handed my passport to the last person, a friendly looking Polish lady that welcomed me to her country.  Free again, I navigated my way to the main road and started to pedal.

If I was being honest to myself I would have recognised Ii was on an emotional roller coaster dealing with a new country, the challenge of communicating, finding maps, food and water as well as adjusting to being alone and the fact that the trip was coming to an end. I also was trying to make sense of all of the experiences from the last two years and work out what I was going to do when Ii got home.

As the day drew to a close I was energised by the smiles from the petrol station attendants and that I was living my dream.  I pulled of the main road and lay down my sleeping mat and bivi bag down.  Tonight I would sleep under the stars.

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I woke the next morning happy that I had slept, thankful that I had not been disturbed in the night and most of all that Ii had been warm.  In the light of day, the road was much more enjoyable and I slowly got into the cycling zone.  Sometime after lunch it occurred to me that the next day was Christmas and I really ought to get some food for the next few days as the shops would probably be closed.  I poked my head into a building that looked like a supermarket and was greeted by sight of a colourful array of fruit and vegetables.  I wrapped the lock around the rear wheal and trailer, took off the two bags that contained my most valuable items and trusted the world not to steal the rest. I entered a new world, a small Polish supermarket.  I drifted up and down the isles looking at new and familiar items, and left with an rather exciting stash of food that would easily see me through the next three days.

I peddled on, back in my own world and as the daylight started to fade I knew that at the top of the next hill I would need to start looking for a place to camp. As I crested the summit, a car with hazard lights on and a man beside it were waiting for me.  He flagged me down and with a big smile he told me in broken English that his house was 1km away and I would be a welcomed guest.  I accepted his offer and was soon taking off layers of clothes and being introduced to Adam’s wife and three children.  Two of whom were at university and one had recently graduated and started working.  One of them spoke excellent English and were were soon chatting away.

It was Christmas Eve and my understanding was that in Poland the meal this evening was just as important as an English Christmas day dinner. It is tradition that one extra place is always laid at the table for the unexpected guest or passing traveller.  Today I was that person.  It took me a while to adjust to being sociable again.  I had hardly spoken to anyone over the last few days, but I was made to feel very welcome and soon started to relax.

Before dinner, prayers were said and then we tucked into my first Polish meal.  It was completely different to England, except that there was lots of food.  We started with fish and moved on to soup with some type of dumplings, potatoes and a dish that literally translated means pigeon, although it was a rice based dish wrapped in what I think was a flour tortilla.  Everything was delicious and all homemade from scratch with pride.  After dessert came presents and singing. Adam handed out presents to each member of his family, including the two grandmothers that were also at the table and  had entertained me with their smattering of English words and stories that had to be translated.  I was handed a large box of very posh chocolates.  I don’t think anybody but Liz will realise how amazing this was, I love chocolate!

I was asked if I was religious and if I would like to attend midnight mass.  Despite not partaking any form of religio,n I am very interested in it and welcomed the opportunity to experience a Polish mass.  After dinner I was left to rest.  It was about 7pm and I did not realise how tired I was, within minutes I was asleep and I awoke briefly as the family were about to depart for mass.  I felt rather guilty but decided I was rather tired and sleep would be much more preferable.  Adam seemed to understand and smiled again as he left me to sleep.

I woke up on Christmas day feeling refreshed, I was keen to cycle.  I was more than welcome to stay for Christmas day but I had a very strong urge to know what it would feel like to cycle on this day.  I had said that I would only like to stay one night when I arrived.  I was also keen to try to get to Germany for New Year to meet some friends and my goddaughter for the first time.  As I packed my things Adam and his wife woke and breakfast was prepared for me.  Adam used the computer to help us translate each others languages as Ii filled up on bread, meat and coffee.  Half way through breakfast I was hit by a wave of emotion as I grasped the magnitude of this situation.  I, a stranger had been invited into this family and treated as one of them. I fought back the tears.  I was given a huge chocolate cake and made my way downstairs to the garage.  I packed the bike and was given water and some cola for the journey.  Adam even tried to give me one his bicycle seats to replace mine which is falling apart.  I tried to explain that while it was falling apart it was quite well moulded to my bottom and Ii was quite happy.

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I took a picture with Adam and waved goodbye and said thank you for the last time before setting off without looking back.  I had read another cyclist’s book before this trip, he described a similar breakfast scene where he was unable to fight back the tears until he was alone on the bike.  At the time I though he was a bit of a woose, men don’t cry, but now I get it.  For me it was not this one breakfast that made me cry.  It was as if the kindness shown to me by every person that I had met on this trip had been wrapped up into a small package placed inside me and suddenly exploded.

Christmas day, I mused as I cycled on.  What was the significance to me and why did I want to cycle rather than be with people.  The day continued as many other days do, cycling, eating cycling, eating and so on. Perhaps it was the rain perhaps I missed my family or the company of others. Either way it was not my best day cycling but I am still glad I did it, just to know what it felt like.

After a detour though a small town due to the main road not allowing bikes I found a small woodland that would serve as a home for the night.  I sent an email to my family had my dinner and went to bed.

I convinced myself that i was hidden enough to risk having a lie in. Last nights consultation of the map told me that i would have to cycle about 110km a day for seven days to reach Germany in time to see my friends, unlikely.  I had breakfast, gave the bike a clean and found the main road i had left the day before.  After only 10km i stopped to use the loo at the petrol station and found the golden arches were next door with free wifi and tempting cheeseburgers.  I indulged in both and managed to have a brief chat on Skype with my Mum and Liz, by the time i was done it was dark again.  I cycle through the nearby town looking for a cheap motel.  I passed a sign for an expensive looking hotel but the thought of lugging wet muddy bags up stairs and worrying about getting cream coloured carpets dirty was far less appealing than the plot of land by the petrol station that would conceal a tent for the night.

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Cycling into a town at lunch time the next day to find some gas for the stove i reflected on the last few days.  I was tired, mentally and physically but also tired of travelling.  I have always seen myself as a traveller, a nomad not attached to one house or country. At 25 I could not imagine ever not wanting to travel but here I was 5 years later wanting something different.  I had changed and it was scary.  I also realised i was being a little hard on myself, wanting to have a shower or a hot meal in a restaurant, setting myself unrealistic daily targets on the distance i should cover.  There was no doubt in my mind that i wanted to cycle the last weeks back to England, it would feel strange to finish this journey any other way. But i needed to relax, go with the flow and enjoy it.

One the way out of town i met a local girl on her bike, she invited me back to her house for a cup of tea and cake.  She was so excited to meet another cyclist and she had plans to do some touring in the future.  She has lots of energy and i left her house with a smile her energy and kindness having rubbed off on me.  A short way out of town i found a great place to camp by a river and set up home for the night again.

I was slowly starting to feel normal or balanced again.  The freedom to camp by a river near a big town, the time i would spend on my own, the acceptance that this adventure was coming to an end and there were other types of adventures waiting for me.

The next day i took my time packing up, enjoyed my coffee, savoured the bread and honey and decided that the van that had driven past me did not care i had camped by the river. The weather was clear and the road was smooth.  I entered the zone and cycled until lunch with only a few stops for snacks.  I sat in a nice bus stop for lunch, i felt energised, strong happy.  I smiled at the people in the slow moving cars as they past me.  Some stared in confusion, others waved some smiled, but the majority of people seemed pleased to have seen me.

I drew closer to the Polish city of Krakow, my goal for the day.  I had decided to spend New Year here, have some fun, make some friends go dancing. There was still a few days till new Year and the woodland to my left looked like a good home for the night.  Why push on into the night. Wait until tomorrow, you will get to see the city it will be a lot easier.  I pulled off into the forest and cycled around the trails until i found a suitable spot for the tent, my home home for the night.

It had been a good day, and the stars shone brightly though the trees that night.

By mid morning the next day i was cycling the last few kms into town.  I arrived at the hostel, ready for a break, a bed and a shower.  It had been an interesting week a small journey of self discovery with big highs and lows.  This phase of my life, this journey, was drawing to a close and i needed to appreciate all that has happened, learn from my experiences, look forward to the future and not to forget to enjoy the last weeks of this incredible adventure.

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In the bleak mid-winter…

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

When the first real snow arrived, we were camping in a field that also appeared to a local fly-tipping spot, with bits of old telly and wet clothing scattered about. We stopped quite late and the roads were already covered in ice. We have Schwalbe snow stud tyres on and it was a good chance to test them out. Setting up the tent was a cold affair and once inside I struggled to get warm. Chris passed me our thermometer and it said -4 degrees. It was only 5pm and so cold already. I layered up with socks, down boots, fresh t-shirt, merino wool layer and my down jacket, plus my hat and then got inside my sleeping bag. Come on clothes, make me warm please!

The next morning we woke up to the sound of snow and sleet hitting the tent. I could see that the tent already had a good layer of snow on it and unzipped the door a tiny bit to see outside. It wasn’t quite as deep as I’d expected but a cold biting wind made it quite unfriendly.

We packed away slowly, inside the tent, trying to stay as warm as we could before having to get out. The tent was sopping wet in places and frozen in others, and the poles were freezing cold too.

By the time we reached the road, my feet were already cold and the wet snow was being blown into my face, making me want to look at the floor and not where I was going.

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I haven’t cycled in snow much and was a little careful to begin with, but it was ok and if anything the spray from the traffic and slush was more tiresome. After only 8km we reached a small village to stock up on food.  Standing outside briefly why Chris went in, I immediately cooled down and felt my feet turning numb again. You really have to keep moving in this weather.

We set off again and started climbing up onto a very exposed area with fields and no trees or hedges. The snow and wind whipped across the sky, hitting us with it full force and it was a slog to pedal. I wanted to stay warm, so kept on going, head down and buff covering most of my face. Hmmn not sure which bit of this is meant to be fun exactly? I could feel my morale dropping and wished that my feet didn’t hurt so much.

For lunch we tried to find some shelter and sat out of the wind. It was too cold and I took my boots off to try and warm up my feet. My socks were wet!! No wonder my feet were so cold. I cut some bread and cheese and ham for us, but kept having to stop and put my hands in my pockets. I was feeling really miserable, too cold to eat really and just wanted to get going again. At this point I just wanted to stop cycling in this ridiculous weather and be somewhere warm. Fighting back tears as I ate my lunch, I felt it was just too hard and painful. I hate being this cold.

We agreed to cycle to the next town and find somewhere to stay, to get warmed up. Getting there meant going up and down lots of hills, which was fine as it got the blood pumping and my feet actually thawed out for a while. We sang Christmas carols as we went, trying to remember the words and realising that after years of performing in concerts, we both knew pretty much all the words and the descants!

As we arrived in the town, we saw a lady with her little boy, he was carrying balloons. She smiled and he looked on curiously. We pulled over on the ghi street and a man stopped to talk to us.  He was very friendly and dashed into his van to give us a big bar of dark chocolate, before driving off. We passed a petrol station that had a bed sign and went back to enquire. After a telephone conversation with the man’s daughter we managed to get a room for the night. Then a lady came with a set of keys and we had a hilarious 30 min conversation, where we both tried to understand one another despite not being able to speak each others’ language. Worked pretty well – context and props contribute a lot.  She was quite obsessed with the keys and the locking of the doors. I did my best to reassure her that we would lock everything, unplug everything and turn off the lights! The daughter turned out to be the lady with the little boys and balloons!

Relieved to be inside, I peeled off the layers of clothing and stepped into the shower,  so thankful for the heat of the water.  I must have been cold as the water felt really hot, but Chris said the water wasn’t very hot at all.

I cooked up some pasta on our stove, on the bathroom floor and we stayed inside for the rest of the evening, cosy and warm.

The next couple of days saw us going on the back roads of Ukraine, which basically means going up and down lots of hills, on very bad potholed and cobbled roads, through mud and snow and ice. If I had realised how bad that route would be, I think we would have taken the longer way on the main roads. I put my feet inside plastic bags, so they had stayed dry and this made a difference of course, but they were still cold. However it was a chance to see rural life and local people, they were pretty surprised to see us, but friendly. I can imagine in summer it would be wonderful…

As we reached the last town before joining a highway, we stopped to camp. Most of the land is cultivated and agriculture seems to be the main ‘industry’ here, so finding grass and trees to camp in was  a bit harder. Here we were by a river, trees and no farmers were growing anything so it was perfect. The moon was full and it was relatively, quite warm.

In the morning however we woke to fresh coat of snow…

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It was chilly and the snow was crisp and icy. I realised that most of our water had frozen solid and the tent itself was also rigid! My boots were frozen too.  I can just about cope with cycling in this weather, but what i find most challenging is everything around it – the cooking, collecting water, putting up the tent, getting changed… all out in the cold. The fuel bottle is really cold to touch, like ice cubes in the freezer. The stove is cold metal and when your fingers are cold it all seems so tricky. The ground is cold, the clothes from yesterday that you have to put back on are cold, even the pannier bags are cold. I really don’t know how arctic explorers cope! (I don’t think they put up with me moaning about the cold that’s for sure!).

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I nipped out the tent to go to the loo and was just standing up when I saw a man coming down the hill a few metres in front of me. He had a gun slung over his shoulder and I quickly darted down, as I hadn’t quite finished pulling my trousers up! You think you’re in the middle of nowhere and then a man appears.

Before i knew it, 3 more popped up and then more. Where were they coming from, it was first thing in the morning? They gathered on the path not far from our tent and seemed to find it all rather amusing that we were there. Chris got out and I gave a little wave. One of the men came over and invited us to join them. They were a hunting party on a sunday morning shoot. They all had shotguns and dogs. So far they had caught one hare.

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We were immediately given a shot of vodka each and food. They had a whole picnic of lovely food with them and lots of vodka, schnapps and grappa. They kept topping us up and we managed to tell them what we were doing and speak with them. They were very nice and made us extremely welcome.  We took some photos and one man dashed over, giving me the hare to hold and his shotgun. The hare was big and I was surprised how heavy it was.
2011-12-11 019 (600x450) After some more vodka, they wanted us both to have a go at shooting a target, just an old bucket.
2011-12-11 024 (600x338) Chris went first and hit the target. I went second and also hit it. The men all seemed very happy with this and were entertained by me reeling back, as the shotgun gives off quite a kick to your shoulder.

What a surreal morning this was turning out to be!

Eventually they were on their way to continue their hunt. We returned to the tent, both a bit wobbly and giggly after so much early morning vodka for breakfast! I didn’t feel cold though, now I can see why these fellas drink it!

We managed to do some cycling that day and made it to the highway H02, reaching the town of Zolochiv.

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Tomorrow we will cycle to the city of L’viv 60km away and stay there for a few days (out of the cold) and explore the many churches, museums and hopefully fit in a trip to the Theatre to see an opera or ballet! We are also looking forward to having a skype chat with Class 2 at Middleham School back home.

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Is this what England was like 70 years ago?

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Ukraine is growing on me, today we’ve passed through many sleepy villages, reminiscent of old England. I don’t have many photos though, so I will try and paint a picture for you with words…People are out raking the autumn leaves and burning them in small piles in the garden, and the smoke drifts across the village like a fog, the smell makes me feel quite nostalgic. The villages seem to be full of older people, especially old ladies in colourful head scarves wrapped tightly round their heads and long, black winter coats. They sit, or huddle, by the roadside on benches and small stools, often selling jars of pickles, loose potatoes, eggs, and it reminds me of trying to make lemonade as a kid and then selling it outside the front of our house for 10p, in the summer holidays. Some of them smile as we pass by, showing a  few gold teeth, others simply stare and look bewildered at our presence in their little village.

There are more bicycles now and old men cycle along at a snails pace, with the usual bowlegged style that you see across Asia. It’s somehow reassuring to see it once again here in Europe. Bicycles are so much more sociable than cars – you can wave or acknowledge each other as you pass on the road. Occasionally a young lad will zoom passed you on his bike, keen to show he can go faster than you. Always quite funny really, as we are loaded with weight we can’t go that fast, so naturally you’d expect others to go faster than us if they tried. The speed is usually always accompanied by the ‘sideways skid to halt ‘maneuver at the end. Never fails to bring a smile to my face.

As well as boy racers, we have met a lot of dogs, we are always barked at by dogs, no matter what country we are in. Given half a chance they will chase you too! It amazes me that they can tell us from other people – they don’t bark a locals walking or cycling by, just us. Maybe we smell different? Or maybe we just smell. One dog studied Chris today, with his head cocked to one side and a very inquisitive expression on his face, that you could almost hearing him thinking “What on earth is this fella up to?”, very funny!

People are becoming more friendly and we’ve had few waves and shouts of hello, but on the whole people seem quite reserved and a little wary of ‘strangers’. We are puzzled by this and it seems so different to Asia, where people are more open and smiling. However in shops, they are friendly and helpful and open up a little. We’ve asked directions a few times and the sign language and gesture has been superb, to the point where we feel we are actually communicating effectively, so that is quite refreshing.

As we no longer look foreign, people just assume we speak Russian and are from their country, so they babble away to us or shout from the side of the road and we have no idea what they are saying. Having to actually tell people you are English and don’t speak their language, is a novelty for us – so far on our travels people have realised we are not form there and had less expectation that we would speak their language. The language barrier can provide some hilarity though, as we attempt to say things and can be a good ice-breaker.

The pace of life outside of the big city is slow and makes me wonder if this is what England was like 70 years ago. The horse and cart seems to be a popular mode of transport around the village and people stop to chat on the way, with all the time in the world. Women amble down the road carrying fresh loaves of bread under their arms or cross the street with a pail of water from the well. The wells are great for us too, as we can stop and fill up all of our bottles with water and not have to buy any.

The roads are quiet and as we cycle through the backwaters of Ukraine, we have time to talk and look around us, with just the occasional lada bumbling along or a truck. It’s a peaceful country and makes for nice cycling, with plenty of little shops to stock up in and lots of wild camping spots amongst the trees and fields. So far so good!

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Fastiv to the Forest – Cycling in Ukraine

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Having enjoyed a warm night in a comfy bed we woke up knowing that there was a breakfast to look forward to. The only thing was we had no idea what it would be.  You can hope for bacon, eggs, beans but experience has taught us that breakfast in one place could be rice and in another place be bread or cereal.  We filled our mugs with tea and coffee and waited with anticipation.  The lady walked out the kitchen with two large plates, things were looking good.  To our delight, we were presented with eggs, mash potato, salami and ham and salad.  Not too far removed from a full English and Liz loves mash potato.  We savoured every mouthful and finished up with a few more hot drinks.  Happy, contented and most importantly full, we set a plan for the day.  Check out was at 2pm so I decided to go into the town that was a few kms away to see if i could get the trailer fixed and buy some more food for the next few days.

tank ukraine fastiv

I cycled down the main high street looking for anyone that might be able to weld the broken part back on.  I stumbled upon a tool hire place and for lack of other options i went to see what they could do.  Not speaking any Ukrainian or Russian (that is also spoken by almost everyone as well), i had to resort to sign language.  Fortunately it was quite simple to hold the two parts and smile expectantly.  Even though i did not understand what was said back to me i still understood that here was not the place to get this fixed but back up the street and to the right was ‘auto’ and ‘sparko’.  This sounded good and sure enough 5 minutes later i found a garage and a guy that nodded to say he could fix it.  I quickly pulled out the phrase book to negotiated the all important price.  £2.00, bargain.  15 minutes later i was cycling back to the hotel with a brief stop at the shops to get sausages for dinner.

Liz Ukraine Fastiv

Liz had been doing some blogging while i was having my little adventure, it timed my return with the completion of her blog so we celebrated with a late lunch and then set off.  With only a few hours of light left we knew that we would not get far.  After15km we arrived at a small road junction, we asked some locals for directions to the town that we wanted to go to and they pointed us into the forest and indicated that we turn left.  The smooth road ended and we were soon on a single land track that was winding through the forest.  Liz was smiling and happy but i was not so sure, this was not the way we had planned to go and i really did not fancy spending the next day cycling on forest tracks around in circles.  Liz was confident that this track would get us through so i agreed to carry on.  After another half an hour at last light we made camp near a clearing in the woods.

Church2 Ukraine near Fastiv

Liz cooked up the sausages which we enjoyed with mash potato and sweet corn while watching a film on the laptop.  Before bed we put the water in the pans so that if the water froze during the night we could melt it again on the stove in the morning.

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Liz was still confident that the next day we would find a way through the forest I was still not so sure, i just hoped we did not get lost as it could take us a long time to get out again!

last light chirs forest Ukraine

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Tim-berrrrr!

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

The trees stayed up over night, however the wind was blowing a gale when we woke up. I had arranged to have a skype chat (work related) later that day and we needed to get to the next town, Fastiv, so that we could get internet access and power. I’d found a hotel in advance, now all we had to do was get there, it was only 25km away so shouldn’t be too hard.

The wind was definitely not on our side and it seemed to blow harder as we cycled. We reached a small village and went flying down the hill crossing the river below, before cycling along a very straight road lined with trees. As we cycled I saw a road sign and it said Kiev. That can’t be right. We stopped by the roadside so I could have a look at our map. Made no sense at all. I turned around and saw a sign on the other side of the road. So we turned around and cycled over to the sign, it said Fastiv. Hmmn, gone wrong somewhere then.

Meanwhile the wind is blowing leaves and dust and bits of twig through the air and before we know it we hear a big crash. A tree has fallen down in the road, right where we had been standing just a minute ago! A minute later and another tree comes down, next to the first one.

I suddenly felt very worried that any of the trees near us could come down next, we should take cover. We sat inside a bus stop, watching as the wind blew everything around. Chris fired up google maps on our mobile and it told us where we were. We needed to go back up the hill to the church…

We waited for a little while and then carried on, listening out for trees cracking, ears pricked on high alert. Back on the right track, we realised we’d done a 7km detour so we still had a way to go. We cycled along, battling the wind and eventually reached the town. We hadn’t cycled that far, but we both felt exhausted  by the effort!

The lady at the hotel was really nice and made us welcome. We managed to communicate and sort out a room. And I was able to make my skype call.

Later that night we went for some food, but realised we only had a little bit of cash. The ATMs in the town were quite far away and it was late, so we thought we would see what we could get anyway. The little restaurant had a menu in English and lots of lovely items, however it was a little expensive so we worked out we could buy one pork steak and one portion of french fries, and we’d share it. We ordered and explained to the lady that we only had a little bit of cash, she seemed to understand. 10 mins later and two plates of food arrived with pork steak and chips, and salad each, with a basket of bread to share. Worried that she had misunderstood us, Chris quickly went to ask her the price for the 2 plates of food. However she had understood perfectly and had been kind enough to cut the steak in half and split the food for us, giving us a plate each! How thoughtful. It was delicious and we left happy.

All we needed was sleep, now that wouldn’t be difficult!

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