Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Day 49 - Bar

Well the temperature has gone up again and that makes it much harder work for me.

The day out of Lviv was a long one, longer than intended. I managed to find more gravel roads, which although were fairly flat still managed to slow me down. It is noticable that when I am on gravel there is literally no other traffic about. I reached my intended destination at about 18:00 and it looked big enough to have a hotel, but it didnt. I was told that the nearest was 35k away. To start with I couldnt be bothered to go there as I was so hot and bothered, but after a rest and a litre of Fanta and an icecream I decided to go there. It was straight down the main road and I reached the hotel by 20:15. The welcoming committee was out in the form of a receptionist and you are right Aoiffee the service in the hotel at Lviv was great compared with this one. To start with she shouted and me in good English but each time I asked a question she shouted back the same answer louder, a habit caught from us Brits no doubt. This brought out the devil in me and I asked all sorts of questions to see just how loud she would go. A little later as I went down from my 10th floor room to pay she bellowed across the large reception "GIVE ME YOUR PASSPORT". She softened up a bit later and I told her to be careful as I was warming to her.

Yesterday I wanted a short day after the extra distance to Ternopil meant I had ridden 146k the day before. My destination was 112k down the main road, so I opted for a longer quieter route, a mistake! It was hilly and slow going, then I spotted a short cut on the map and went for it and needless to say it soon turned to gravel, but you get so far you dont want to backtrack. I took a wrong turning in a village and at a junction of very narrow roads I asked the way and was put right, but the gravel became quite deep in places, the sort of stuff you try and keep as straight as possible and dare not steer in. Added to that the heat was 36 degrees and no shelter, I was not best pleased. The I fell off the edge of the good map and I now only have the 1:1,000,000 with English place names, so navigation is really tricky and if there are signposts I have to stop to try and work out the place names and if they are on the map or not. At one village I climbed out on the wrong road and had to return, then some guys tried to assist, but with English place names it was difficult. They told me that my chosen direction was wrong and after another climb I agreed with them and returned again, so it was third time lucky. I was at last back on the right route, but my intended turn off was back on to gravel and it was still a long way to go, so I decided to stick to the tarmac and see where I ended up. I eventually reached the main road by about 19:00 and my intended destination was 30k to the north. The weather was worsening rapidly and a strong wind was blowing from the north and a storm brewing. I didnt fancy the head wind in the storm, so I went south. It just got darker and darker ands I had to turn my lights on, oh joy I have taken the front one off. The heavens opened and I sheltered under a tree and continued once is eased a bit, but the next downpour was never far away. I stopped at a petrol station to ask for some drinking water, but they had nothing on tap but let me fill up from a bucket they had. There are lots of roadside wells, but I hadnt used them in the hope I wouldnt need them, but when I eventually decided that is what I would do, there were none, typical. After 14k I took the first turning east again and started looking for a place to camp. It was another 7k before I found a suitable spot down a small track and tucked behind some trees. It continued to rain as I set up the tent, but I was in there by 21:00, just in time for the arrival of the next downpour and the thunder was right overhead, not much fun. Still, once I was in the dry I felt better, but my shorter day had turned out to be another 140k. At 23:15 a vehicle came down the track and the headlights shone on the tent. I guess it stopped 20-30m short of me and somebody got out, so all I could do was wait and see what happened. They soon got back in the vehicle, probably because of the weather, but I remained on edge as there was silence from them. My tension must have eased as I fell asleep and was awoken at 00:45 as they left.

Today was again hilly and hot and within 2 hrs I realised I wasnt going to reach my intended destination and it was going to be another long hard day with wild camping at the end of it. After 62k I reached Bar and I saw a sign advertising a hotel, so after a bit of thought and after 2 late finishes I decided to make the most of it and have a well earned short day. Its only a small town, but I rode another 10k looking for the hotel and began to wish I had continued. Each time I asked somebody, if I could make them understand what I wanted as they didnt understand the word hotel, I was pointed in a different direction. Eventually a guy on a motor bike led me there. The word hotel in Ukrainian was very small and well disguised.

So with a couple of hours to spare and having been all around the town 3 times already here I am, but sadly still hook up for cameras.


David & Lindsey said...

Hi John, just catching up with your amazing adventures, loved the encounter you had with the hotel receptionist!
We went to The Cornbury Music Festival on Saturday - a good day out, the weather was fine and lots of beer! We were treated to The Proclaimers, The Waterboys, Echo & the Bunnymen, & David Gray.
We'll raise a glass to you next week when we try out The Charlbury Beer Festival (well it would be rude not to) and imagine you tucking into a lovely luke warm cabbage pie somewhere in eastern Ukraine.

Harpo said...

Bar! Presumably there's plenty of alcohol and choclate there.

Caff said...

Bar - being a Brackley girl my assumptions are lots of fast racing cars preparing for the Ukrainian Grand Prix and Jenson Button striving for that magic podium position!

aoiffe said...

Bar - something that is obstructive?

dad said...

If they call you, don't answer.....they make you wear a wig !

I LOVE YOU said...