Ukraine

L’viv a loca

The border was not to bad:

Stop here, show passport, give bike number, get piece of paper, go on, stop, give passport and bike papers, get stamp from a guy in cabin number 1, move 3 meters and give passport and bike papers to lady in cabin number 2, window closes, wait a few minutes, get back halve of documents, ask for the rest, had to gate, give piece of paper, and I am in the Ukraine.

I was expecting armed to the teeth border guards taking my bike and bags apart looking for dutch “special” import. But all they wanted to know is what the missile-launching-control-box on my handelbars was for. Once I showed them it was only a MP3 player they laughed and send me on my way.

I stopped at a parking lot and was greeted by a Ukrainian biker with “welcome to Ukraine” he was waiting for his mate to clear customs as he bought a trans-alp in Poland. Immediately all nerves were gone and I could not stop smiling until I entered L’viv.

Why? Well because the roads changed into this:

Me and the bike got a good “shake-everything-apart” massage but we got to the hotel in one piece (OK, two pieces, me being 1 and the bike being 2)

After I checked in I contacted Mr. Blackside and we had a business lunch together in an old freemasons place right across the town-hall.

He helped me get a local phone-number and a city-map. Since he had to get back to work I went for a walk around the city and up to the high-castle to get a view of the city. Mr. Blackside said it was in the park and that it was the highest place in L’viv. We in Holland would have called it alps covered in forest. It was quit the climb to get up there but the view was indeed beautiful:

L’viv is moving. It is not like Wroclaw were I was stuck in traffic but here people are out there, smiling and it is total chaos. It is beautiful!

While writing this I am sitting at the hotels restaurant outside in nice weather and I just had me an amazing shashliek and although I miss Sarah she will be glad not to sleep next to me as the dish was covered in fresh unions.

This is a pic for my dad, as it might bring back some memories:

 It is weird to see Gaz trucks and old Lada’s driving around when there are also brand new BMW 5, 7 series and big new SUV. In Holland in the live span of an average car/motorcycle we probably never have to change the shock-absorbers but here I think those things are high up there on the recommended spare parts. Even a small Polo sounds like a 10 ton truck coming by.

So far, albeit only the first day, I like it here. People are smiling, helpful and talk-active.

The route:

I contacted Alex from the horizons-unlimited forum and it seems he has time, space and beer for me coming weekend in Vinnitsa so who am I to refuse, see you in a few days Alex.

Also a special thanks to Vlad, see you in Odessa (I took out your phone number for privacy purposes)

Goodnight my friends

Wolsly

Categories: Ukraine | 11 Comments

L’viv day 2

Just pics for today, stories will follow. Lets just say that the Horizons-unlimited contacts have gotten me in contact with others and the whole Ukrainian experience so far is amazing.

West Ukraine Motors workshop:

Cheers

 

Categories: Ukraine | 4 Comments

L’viv day 3

Stories…..

Lets start with the Hotel, for Dutch standards it is not that expensive and it has a nice garden-like outdoor restaurant, free internet and save parking for my bike. If you will ever go to L’viv make sure you check out the Leotel:

It is located 5 minutes form the main square in the city center with the town hall:

You can go up and in the tower and see the city:

I have been walking around a lot and have some more blisters but will spare you from pictures of my swollen and blistered feet.

“We do not like your car” towing service:

Vova, Mr Blackside, took me out for dinner last night and I had some local dish I forgot the name but it was very tasteful and I enjoyed it with a beer made by the restaurant itself, severed in 1 liter glasses of course. We met again today for lunch and we had local dumplings, a sort of pasta filled with either cheese, meat or potatoes.

Through the Horizons-unlimited communities I came in contact with Valerij Krishen and I gave him my local phone number and two hours after I send him the E-mail I got a call from “West Ukraine Motors” Inviting me over to there workshop.

If you are in ‘L’viv and need some help with your bike give them a call:

0038-0961017950

http://wumotors.com/

wumotors@gmail.com

Ramon took me for a walk though an outdoor museum with old traditional Ukraine buildings:

Old wooden Church

After that we had a drink on the roof of a building:

We had an alcohol free beer made from bread, again I forgot the name but it is sweet and very good against the thirst.

At this bar from the roof you can throw a coin into a bin, at least try, and make a wish. but a lot of people mis the bin so where we were sitting they had put up large parasols to protect us. There was even a small boy crawling around searching for coins. Him mother was somewhat ashamed.  I do not know why or what the car was doing up there and forget about how it got there.

Valerij Krishen is a Ukrainian guy that went round the world on his bike, but it is hard to find any further information about you my friend?!?!

I hopefully will meet up with him later.

I managed to combine the GPS tracks into one file and it turns out like this:

Tomorrow I am off to Vinnytsia to meet Alex and there should be some sort of bikers event at Zhitomir so maybe we could go and visit that this weekend?

L’viv has been great and I would encourage everybody to come and visit this beautiful city.

A special thanks goes out to Vova, from ADV-rider and the Brothers from West Ukraine Motors.

More to come soon

Cheers

Categories: Ukraine | 1 Comment

Vinnytsia

I left early form L’viv to skip the traffic and haded for Vinnytsia where I would meet up with Alex.

The route:

The roads are somewhat interesting here and would not have been to comfortable on my previous owned bikes but once I got used to the I was cruising at 80 Km/h.

I got a bit tired and surged for a spot to lay down and rest a bit so I turned of the main road

but the road got the best of me and I think the bike was tired too. So when I tried to turn around I dropped the bike. I forgot to take pictures of the bike having a sleep. All I could think of was how will I put it back up straight. There was no damage other then the left pannier being dent. I had to undo all the bags in order to lift it up. So no rest for me….

Nothing got broken and best of all I did not get hurt. I met up with Alex at the city entrance. That evening we went to the city’s fountain. It has a spectacular light show:

The next day we went to his hometown Koziatyn on the way we stopped at a WW2 museum and visited the remains of a big bunker.

Other means of transport:

 Alex:

Big gun:

The Bunker was build by the Germans in 1941 and was blown up by them as well while they were defeated. All that is left are big concrete blocks lying around and the swimming pool. It said that the complex also had a casino.

The pool:

The route to Alex’s hometown:

When we got there and greeted his parents and brother. We went to a friend to get my pannier fixed:

Later we met up with some other bikers from Ukraine and Poland:

Once we had the bikes stored we got ourselves some beer, caviar and vodka.

We had a lovely diner with alex’s parents that evening and later went out for some more vodka……

Needless to say I slept very good.

This afternoon I will start to move south towards Odessa.

Greetings

By the way it is Alex’s birthday today, so congratulations to you my friend.

 

 

 

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Day of firsts and Odessa

firsts:

Wild camping

Feeling homesick

Getting stuck in the mud

Visiting a missile launching plant

U-turn on the highway

 

Yesterday I was told about a missile launching plant that is now a museum and you are able to visit.
It is near the city of Pervomaisk but I could not find at first so I searched for a place to put my tent.
I found a spot in a dried out riverbed covered by some trees.


It turned out not to be so romantic as it sounds. I felt weird being there and I wondered if I had hid the bike well enough, etc, etc. I slept OK and there was a beautiful sun-rice but I was cold and I felt miserable. The tent was wet again and so was the bike. I did not feel like packing but the ground was to wet to sit on and I also did not feel like making coffee. It was the first time I felt homesick and missed Sarah,my house, my family, the cat and a hot shower. Once I got everything packed and on to the bike my mind got set on something else. The ground was wet and slippery but the first 200 meters out of the woods went fine but then there was a big pothole filled with water and I tried to avoid driving in it but the real wheel slipped straight in and I got stuck. Lucky enough I did not drop the bike this time. The rear wheel kept spinning and not getting any grip the hole rear of the bike got covered in mud. There was nothing else to do but take of the bags and try again. That was not enough so I took of the panniers, with the adrenaline flowing and sweat running down my head and back I hauled and got the bike loose. I felt a lot better by then and I was laughing at myself and my stupidities.

Not only the bike looked like this so did I. I think it was some sort of punishment since until now I did not really adventured it out, if you know what I mean….hahaha

After that I put all the stuff back on the bike and went in search for the museum. When I finely found it, thank you again Alex!, I was received with some curiosity and could park the bike inside the museums gates. I got a tour around the plant and visited the most of it but did not understand much about what the guide was saying. Never the less the things laying and standing there were speaking for them self’s.

This missile is about 3 meters in diameter and about 30 meters long:

They had to use this sort of trucks to move the missile’s, not showing but a extra truck was used to push if needed, the tires alone are about my height:


There are two silo’s, one for the missile and one with the control station.
Both are about 30 meters deep and 3 meters in diameter.

The lid on the missile’s silo opens in about 3 or 4 seconds and is made of massif steel.

 

The control stations is self supporting. It has its own generators for electricity, temperature, humidity and oxygen control.

To get there we passed through a tunnel:

On top of the control station:

Looking down:

Mock-up of one of the control panels inside:

The wals of the silo’s are 6 meters thick concrete reinforced with a metal outer and inner shell about 6 centimeters each. Then the missile and the control station is suspended to protect it from impacts from outside.

After the visit I set out to meet Vlad and his wife Luda in Odessa. I arrived there at around four o ‘clock . We said to meet up at the big concrete sign of Odessa (these sign’s are everywhere) but the spotted me before. We stopped briefly and were of to there house. In order to do so we had to make an U-turn on the road we were on.!!! That was weird. But all was fine.

We had some dinner, a beer and I got a well needed shower.

More for you soon.

Cheers

Categories: Ukraine | 4 Comments

Odessa

Vlad and Luda live in a village just outside Odessa with 6 dogs and 4 cats.
And they have welcomed me into there home. This morning I took the minibus into the city with Luda, she went on to work and set me loose in Odessa. I took a picture of the place were I would have to take the bus back to there home.

The old city center is build in squire blocks so it is pretty easy to navigate none the less I bought a map and quickly found my way to the coast.

Wolsly has made it to the black sea.

There are some really beautiful buildings, parks and monuments here.

Old city wall I guess:

It even had a sign post telling me I was in fact not that far from Volgograd, Tbilisi and Yerevan. But it will still be a while before I see those city’s.

Tomorrow I will clean the bike, boots and my leather trousers a bit and make it an easy day. The fact I had to drag the +250 Kg bike out of the mud did not help my back much, nothing serious just some sore mussels. So the rest will be good.
Then Thursday I will continue my trip and move slowly towards the Russian border.

I will try to meet up with Vallerij this weekend.

Cheers

P.S.  Picture of the route will follow

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From Odessa up to Kharkiv

Missing pictures of the route up to Odessa.

The route from Koziatyn to Pervomaisk, the missile museum:

The route from Pervomaisk to Odessa:

The rest day in Odessa felt good, I did some laundry, cleaned up my boots, riding trousers and me and Vlad talked a lot. About bikes, bikeclubs, politics, religion and the differences between Holland and the Ukraine. Vlad is a chef-cook and he and his wife prepare and sell lunches. Vlad spends most of his time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning while Luda helps with peeling and chopping of the vegies. She then goes to Odessa where she sells all the prepped salads and hot meals. They work very very hard and long hours. They live with 4 cats, 6 dogs and a bunch of chickens.

Vlad:

I set of the next day to Kirovograd where I looked for a hotel and had a walk around.

The route:

Coming into every city you can see these sort of concrete signs this one says Kirovograd they are very handy when it comes about meeting peope. They say just wait at the city sign and we will come and get you:

My first Lenin statue:

Cityhall:

In Odessa I contacted Valerij. It turns out he is in Kiev getting ready for a big change in his life, the birth of his child. If I had known before I would have changed my route a little and would have gone to Kiev before going to Odessa. But it is yet another good reason to come back to the Ukraine since we did not get the change to meet in person this time. He did encourage me to go to his hometown of Svitlogirs’ke as some friends and his family would be waiting for me. So off I went….

The route:

He told me to contact him about 60 km before Svitlogirs’ke. So I did and he told me to take a little detour as the road would be better and it would be easier to find his hometown. But the TomTom seemed to know where it was pointing me and well I can be a bit stubborn so I followed the GPS and ended up lost on a large factory for gravel. Going into some road that was only mend for those 20 ton trucks are allowed in. So I was followed by a truck with security guards who told me to follow them.

Me trying to follow the TomTom GPS:

They showed me the way out and as there was only one road it did not matter much that the GPS was going crazy.

Svitlogirs’ke:

Valerij’s father came to pic me up and brought me to this house where we had some dinner with some Vodka to celebrate the birth of Valerij’s daughter. He did not speak much english and I speak only about 6 words of russian we did manage to have some understanding about Valerij’s trip, my trip and I got the massage to go and have some rest as some friends would be coming later.

When I woke up Valerij’s sister, lyuba and a friend, Vova had arrived and we had some dinner and some more vodka. After that we went to a bar for some more beer and vodka. That evening there was a thunderstorm and a lot of rain. Lightning must have struck not far as all electricity went out and we continued drinking with the help of some candles.

It was a very cool and interesting evening as there was only one guy speaking english but he was pretty drunk and a lot got lost in translation.

Ukrainians are prepped for everything since there was still no electricity the next morning and the watersuplly was cut we had to shower in the garden:

It has a large container on top filled with water. As my head was hurting a bit the cold water helped.

In Svitlogirs’ke even the cats like motorcycles:

We had a walk around and went down to the river bank.

During the storm the sound system got broken in the bar (the bar is owned by Valerij’s parents) So I was asked to have a look but unfortunately unable to fix it:

They had a spare hifi all in one tower so that night they did have music again. I did adjust the projector settings so that the image was a bit better.

That night we had shashliek.

We went to the bar again after dinner and later even visited the local dico:

As far as I understood Svitlogirs’ke is a little unique as it is not that big and far from any city it has its own disco and a very active nightlife.

I did not drink much as I would be leaving the next day. Vova and Lyuba also where hading back to there homes so we decided to leave together.

Vova owns a Honda AfricaTwin and it was fun to ride together for a while. Valerij asked me if it would be OK if I would be interviewed by a local newspaper and of course I had no problem with that. So we went to Kobeliaky for the interview at 13:00 o’clock. Luckily though there was somebody to translate:

Valerij! do not forget to sent me a copy please!!!!

There was another Vova in Svitlogirs’ke who has a friend Igor in Kharkiv were I was going to and had booked a hotel. Igor then had some friends in Poltava which is on the way to Kharkiv. In Poltava there is a aviation museum so Igor proposed that I would had to Poltava wait at the Macdonalds and his friends would pick me up and go with me to this museum.

We then went to one of there houses and had a coffee before I set off to Kharkiv the family again were very nice and I had cookies, fresh apple juice and coffee. His mother wanted to sit on my bike and we made some pictures and I gave them some of my stickers. One of them immediately got a spot on the rear window of his car.

I then set off to Kharkiv and found the hotel and contacted Igor. We had a walk around and a beer. As he had to work the next day we kept it short and I hope to meet him again today.

The route to Kharkiv:

Will be here till Wednesday morning and had for Russia.

Valerij, my friend, congratulations with your daughter. I hope we once get to meet. Here in Ukraine, in Holland or somewhere on the road.

Vlad and Luda, thank you for letting me stay in your wonderful house filled with lovely animals.

Thanks to everybody in Svitlogirs’ke, you guy’s have been great fun.

Again guy’s if you ever have the opportunity to come to Amsterdam write me a E-mail or give me a call.

Cheers

 

Categories: Ukraine | 2 Comments

Kharkiv

Today I had a walk around in the city.

It is quit modern and has beautiful buildings and parks.

The Lenin statue at the freedom square, the second biggest square in the world or maybe just Europe…..

Anyway it is enormous.

There is a big park that has been renovated this is what it looked like before:

and now:

Tomorrow Russia!!!!!

Yesterday I planned my route through Russia in more detail. Vitaly, again a Horizons Unlimited contact, invited me in Volgograd and suggested to travel from Kharkiv to Belgorod, Podgorenskiy, Milkhaylovka and then Volgograd.

From there on I will be traveling something like this:

So from Volgograd to Astrakhan, Elista, Stravropol, Kislovodsk and then Vladikavkaz. But we will have to see how that goes.

I combined all the GPS files again into one pic:

Cheers

 

 

Categories: Ukraine | 7 Comments