Yesterday we experienced our first proper border crossing, from Poland into the Ukraine. We left Krakow at around midday and had a fairly long though good drive through Polish countryside on good roads. We arrived at the Ukrainian border at about five and joined the back of a long, snaking, stagnant line of cars and trucks.
After a couple of minutes we were amazed to see another Mongol Rally Micra draw up right behind us. It was Ed and Matt of Ice Cold In Ulaanbataar. We chatted, I thought about brewing up. And then a man in a truck drew up behind us and started gesturing for us to drive around. I was hesitant, but after a couple of French and German cars went for it the FOMO kicked in and we drove pretty much to the front of the queue. It turned out to be the EU lane.
On the Polish side our documents and car were examined and we were on our way. Unfortunately a tourist group from Djion France heading also for Odessa were turned back because they didn't have their car passport with them.
We were welcomed to Ukraine with some of the biggest pot holes known to mankind. After similar checking of documents and car we were allowed on our way, into the Ukraine. The whole thing took just over three hours, but felt relatively very quick and efficient compared to awful wait the locals had to endure. We've been warned not to drive through Moldova as the border crossings are apparently even worse.
By the time we got onto Ukrainian roads it was already getting dark and the journey was growing a little hairy. I took the first shift, and tried to ignore Kai's instructions to drive as fast as the locals. I was also concious that we hadn't modified our right hand drive beams.
Kai decided that the best technique for driving on Ukrainian roads was to drive right in the middle of the road, which meant that as the passenger, on the left hand side, I was sat directly in the path of on coming traffic. Kai, as the driver, had the only air bag. We took a very interesting route around our destination L'viv, as an awful lot of the main roads have been closed for maintenance work, but we did eventually find our hostel. On the fourth floor of a dark and slightly foreboding building without a lift. By this time I think we were both rather hungry and feeling rather stressed.
Between us Kai and I managed to avoid an owl and a pussy cat (it lost several lives). Really.
We did bump into another team Immaculate Pasta featuing Donald, Dougle and Jordan. They had zig-zagged up from Budapest and heading for Kviv, then down to Odessa and Iran. Nice.
- Mileage: 1682