After the wonderful days in Prague, we drove to the south-east of the Czech Republic. While we still reminisce of Prague and enjoy good motorable roads, the temperature drops and it starts to rain. A few hundred meters ahead of us a car and a truck crash heavily, and we stand still for a while. Fortunately, driving again after half an hour. We arrive at an empty campground near the border with Slovakia. People living nearby the campsite called to owner of the campsite to open for us. Luckily it stops raining, the temperature remains something unpleasant. We’ve just before leaving bought a tarp. A large canvas that we can put to protect against rain and / or shine. We tried the tarp out in all possible positions, and then went out for a walk to warm up our body.
After a good night sleep we drove the next day to Slovakia, with a stop at a Suzuki dealer. Every day Joren controls a number of things on the car. Similarly today, and he saw something under the car he did wanted to be checked out. So a check with the dealer in the area and an additional check via mail by our Dutch expert Suzi’s Place. Nothing wrong car in tip-top shape and we can simply continue. We arrive again at an empty campsite in Slovakia, where we stand on a lovely spot at a small river. The holiday feeling is starting to come: Wine, beer, campfire and the sun, the outdoors is fine! We drive these days through nature. Surrounded by mountain peaks with snow, fields of flowers and trees where the blossoms are even better by the rays of the sun. The next day we drive to a (yes, you guessed it, empty) camp in the north-east of Slovakia. From here we drove to Poland. Knowing this will be about the last campsite we come to attend to, we enjoy the facilities that a campsite offers us: shower, toilet, hot water etc.
And yes, the real adventure will really begin …. The next day we arrive in Ukraine, where we have to unpack our belongings at the border and explain what everything is. The customs officers are a little jealous on Joren his tools, but they eventually we can continue to……mmm….. no camping …. After a lot of kilometers we arrive in the middle of nowhere ‘between Lviv and Rivne, where we drive into a farmer’s field. Hopefully nobody sees us! After a little restless night, we wake with the rising of the sun, and we hit the road! After arriving on the paved road we, with our morning rituals like washing and a delicious breakfast. Yes, the first time wildcamping succeeded !!
This day we drive a lot of kilometers through Ukraine. It is extraordinary to see how the culture to constantly changes around us. The difference between rich and poor can be seen clearly here, something we totally not used to. Special experiences are the bikeriders and horses with carriages (with found license plates on the back) that run on the ‘lanes’ of the highway. The roads are reasonably passable. Earlier than expected we arrive in Kiev. Via internet we found two nonexistent campsites, so eventually we settled in a hotel. Today seems to be a national holiday for Ukrainians. The liberation is celebrated. Next to our hotel is a park where people flock to join for a picnic, drinks, games and some take a jump in the lake that is part of the park. We join these people and plop down with something nice to eat and drink alongside a threesome with a dachshund! Joren begins a brief chat with these people when we are spontaneously invited for dinner this evening with them. There is a traditional dish on the menu. We can not refuse. We have a great evening. The food and drinks where excellent and the company of very nice people (and the dachshund Harley!) around us, a really enjoyable evening. Katya, Dmitriy, Sasha and Harley, thank you so much!
It is now Tuesday, May 10th and we visit, by using the underground subway, the highlights of Kiev. The golden gate, the Pechersk Lavra (monastery), the Independence Square and the St. Sofia Cathedral from outside already impresses, but inside still shows more beauty. Unfortunately it was forbidden to photograph the cathedral and were monitored strictly by all the staff. Despite the beauty of the town there where almost none tourist.
Early evening we stepped in the car to leave Kiev. After having survived the rather chaotic and crowded ring (with very bad roads) of Kiev we set route to the city Sumy. Soon we find a perfect place for wild camping. While enjoying a glass of wine we enjoy the emptiness and silence around us. Joren cut down some branches of the bushes that are close to us, to camouflage the rims of the Jimny. When it is completely dark, we open up the tent. Tired as we are of all impressions of Kiev and all trembling by the bad roads we fall asleep. The silence lasts no longer than an hour … It starts to splash and blow. We wake up and see lightning around us. If the storm comes this way, we are not completely safe. And this wind will probably not be appreciated by our tent. In all speed we collapsed the tent and again hit the road. We start driving away from the rain and the storm. After nearly two hours and only 40/50 km further we get back to a good place to sleep. Still shaking of the bad roads, we finally put up the tent at 2:00 pm. With the rising of the sun (5:20 pm) we rose again to continue our trip to Sumy. Tired as we are, we enjoy everything we see around us. The ‘main road’ where we drive takes us through typical Ukrainian villages. We stop here and there to see and experience it up close. Thus, we see a small elementary school and visit the local market where everyone sells his own produce. Stopped at a gas station to search for a hotel in Sumy. We have to just do nothing. Once there appears to be a beautiful place. We decide to book a night extra.
And that was it for now …. We just do nothing before tomorrow we head to the Russian border!
Привіт з сонячної України!
Joren and Linda
Underneath are photos