Eastern European Road Trip
Two weeks ago I returned back to the UK after travelling over to eastern Europe on my motorbike. It’s something I’d wanted to do for a long time. A very long time in fact. I’d put it off last year, and the year before that, but this year I was determined it was going to happen.
I won’t lie. The going was tough at times. One day I covered just under 600 miles. And it was one extreme or the other. Long, never ending roads in western Europe or poor, almost impassable roads in eastern Europe.
Although Bulgaria and Romania were fantastic countries, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for me was always going to be Ukraine. Gaining access was not so simple though. Travelling into Ukraine from Romania was a struggle as I was selected for an ‘interview’ by border guards. The process was very similar to what one might expect from people in authority stuck in what you could describe as ‘soviet’ ways. I can’t say that it was totally unexpected , but just a long drawn out inconvenience. Once everything was ‘normalna’ I was allowed to enter.
It’s hard to describe how it felt when I had my first beer that evening in Ukraine. Washed down with a bowl of borscht and chorniy xleb (black bread), followed by salad, meat and potatoes. It was as near to heaven as I could get.
After spending one night in the Carpathian mountains it was then onto Kalush. There were poor roads (as expected) but fantastic people all along the way. Whenever I stopped for petrol people were very curious about the bike with many taking ‘selfies’, no doubt for their VK or Facebook page.
The following morning I headed out of Ukraine and into Poland making my way home. It was a short stopover in Ukraine, but worthwhile none the less. As I was leaving through the west of Ukraine, the large ATO billboards at the roadside were a constant reminder of the ongoing war in the east of the country.
Hopefully I’ll return next year and spend more time there.