Saturday, 24 May 2008

Hello Kiev!

Last 2 days been an absolute bitch; thunder storms and difficulty finding somewhere to stay! Left Romania with no problems; took us 20 minutes to cross the border into the Ukraine - border guards very helpfull and cheery. The roads! Not B or C grade; but Z grade! I'm being too harsh - they were not that bad; very bumpy and full of pot holes - that was the freeway! Then it started to rain. The major town were a little difficult to navigate - can't read the road signs and went by the road number. The roadways in most town are paved with cobble stones; and with the rain, and trying to cross slippery railway and tram tracks - look out! But we made it ok. We stopped about 70km out of Kiev last night. We pushed on because we couldn't find any accomodation; not even anywhere decent to pitch the tent. It looked like we were going to go all the way; and knowing our luck the first hotel would have been the Hilton!. no matter, we found a great little place just of the highway; soaked to the skin, and having ridden 500km in 10 hours; we were stuffed.
We were having a beer on the deck of the hotel last night and saw something amazing. Four guys walked from the hotel to the car park. Went to the boot of a large black Audi and pulled out a long silver case. I immediatley thought; that looks like a sniper rifle case - and I was right. They pulled out this bloody huge snipper rife and all inspected it, looking through the sights, taking aim etc. They put it back; gave each other a manly hug and drove off in different cars!
The trip into Kiev; we thought would be an easy 70km ride - wrong!!! We ended up travelling 80km around town; on and off major freeways; down back streets; etc before finding a hotel. Col ran in and found it to be $400 a night - crap! Drive around for another half and hour, and find another hotel (just 50m from the first one we saw - didn't see it the first time) and booked in for the next 2 nights - a modest $120 a night, 4 star service!
So, we're finally in Kiev (no real idea where we really are) and going to try and see the sights tomorrow (after washing and trying to get our wet riding gear dry.
So far the only problem the Ukraine has posed, is trying to decipher the signs and navigate - thank goodness the compass works.