Thursday, 5 July 2007

Day 43 Mykucebe (Ukraine)

Dont go looking for this place name on the map as I cant remember it and it is just a guess!

Well the 3 days from Budapest were ok, but other than Budapest itself I was disappointed with Hungary, That is probably due to the route I chose, a flat one to give my legs a rest from the mountains, but it was SO flat is was a bore. One of the day I rode 103k with just 27m of climbing, that makes the Fens look hilly. It was too hot for hills anyway, up to 38 degress, so the flat was appreciated from that point of view,

The camps sites were much better than I expected but I was generally on my own apart from the second night when I was with a Dutch group, but there was so many mossies about that I retreat to the comfort of my tent for protection.

Today has been a total change in weather. Hard rain when I woke up persuaded me to go back to bed and I was not on the road until 10:30 and the temperature only made 19 degrees and more rain came this afternoon.

Well today I crossed into Ukraine, a man made border but it felt like I had moved into a different continent. I know so little about the Ukraine that it is embarrasing. Passport control asked me where I was going, so I said Kiev as it is the only place I know, but I also know I wont be going there. The I had to change my Hungarian Forints to Ukrainian things what ever they are (I still dont know) and for 17000 forints I was offered 204. I wasnt sure so went to the next and was offered 440, so still not sure I left it and went to a bank in the first town and got 459. The first things I noticed, apart from all the petrol stations was all the dogs, many of the stray.
The roads are far rougher and the main vehicle seem to be the Lada. Road side house had tables with vegetables for sale and the women were chunky and wrinkled and dressed in a way that made me look smart. The next challenge was to find a decent map and to the end I was advised to go 30k up the road to the next town, which is where I am now. Well I found one, but it only covers a small area and is in their language with a different alphabet, but at least it should match the roadsigns. I also bought a 1:1,000,000 road map of the entire country with names in English, but at least it gives me the lie of the land but would be useless on the road.

Finding a hotel was challenging I didnt know what the word would be. The only one that said Hotel was 4 star and as I was about to enquire some Czechs told me of a cheap place. I found it, I think, at the stadium, at one pound 50 a night, but as dives go it is ok.

Well I would write more but I am being thrown out. I passed through a time zone today so I am now 2 hours ahead, but 21:00 still seems early for closing.


aoiffe said...

Well my world atlas was a 21st birthday present from Paul, and world political geography has in the intervening years been as flexible as my waistline, but even so I have managed to find a place called Mukacheva just inside the Hungarian/Romanian/Ukraine border which looks a likely guess for where you are. Will you be heading towards Odessa on the Black Sea?
You don't know how glad I am that you are at last sharing some of our summer weather! Wimbledon looks set to over-run for the first time in 80 or so years!

aoiffe said...

More exciting still, having googled a map of Ukraine I see that you are very near to Rakhiv/Rachov which is supposed to be the geographical centre of Europe - though that might be a Europe like my waistline (see previous comment!)

Caff said...

I was going to ask you if you could kindly choose a route for the time being that matches my atlas which must be a good 25 years old, so it is heartening to hear I am not the only one with an antique model! I love your paradox (if that is the right word) with your waistline Aoiffe. Seeing as mine is currently in expansion mode it can be more likened to the chunky women of the Ukraine - however I am by no means wrinkled!!!
Some of the folks at work are enjoying your blog too especially the photos. I said you were very much influenced by my photographic eye and talent!!!