7/7: Svaljava, Ukraina
Lat N 48° 44,62', Long E 23° 01,53'
Today: 68 °F ( +20 °C)
07 Jul 2005
5566 km

We had breakfast along the way. A shepherd passed by to take a look at our vehicle so we invited him to eat with us. In the countryside there are loose cows, goats, horses and hens everywhere. And they still use horses for transportation . In a day we have seen about 30 horse carriages. In the countryside the people look and dress very much like in the old days in a color scale of gray to brown.

The first 300 kilometers after crossing the border the main roads were really good and far better than expected. After that we discovered another side of the road system – disastrous, bumpy roads with dangerous potholes.

Today we also found an interesting café and fish restaurant, with a ”crashed” Russian AN2 at the entrance. They served absolutely fresh fish strait from the pond . We also tried out a bit of fast food at the road side. Highly recommended as always!

We did not find a campsite today either. The only one we were able to find had obviously not been open for years. We stayed the night at the parking lot of a truck stop hotel. Don’t they camp here at all? Or is the problem that we are note able to read the signs right? We have seen a signs with the tent symbol, but when you ask for a campsite they show you a room. Strange.

8/7 Rivne, Ukraina
Lat N 50° 34,93', Long E 26° 08,55'
Today: 77 °F ( +25 °C)
08 Jul 2005
5956 km

This has been the most interesting day. The day started with us getting our back tire slashed when we were at the cashier at the gas station. After five minutes driving we discovered that we got a flat tire. After using “the tire in a can” we discovered three slashes in the tire. We drove slowly for five kilometers, but unfortunately the holes were too big and all the air escaped. We were fortunate to find a parking lot by a kiosk were we could stop.

A white Audi 100 with two blokes was parked very closely to us at the gas station. The same car passed us at a high speed, when we were driving slowly forward after using “the tire in the can”. When we were parked at the kiosk, the same Audi showed up again. They parked, got out of the car and looked around “casually” and got in the car again and disappeared. This was definitely not a coincidence. There are not many Audi 100 in the Ukraine.

It is a well known trick to slash a tire to rob tourists. But this time they had to go empty handed. We were lucky to not be standing unguarded at the road side with a flat tire in the dark, and also that we were also aware and prepared of what was going on.

The people in the kiosk helped us to phone for a taxi to go and get the tire mended. The cost was only 3$ to get it fixed. Opposite of the guy who fixed our tire we found a car mechanic who promised to help us to change break pads. The front break was squeaking all the time, and this was a good opportunity to have it fixed.

But as you all know, accidents usually comes in showers. We got back, put on the newly fixed tire and went strait for the car mechanic. Just as we were turning the corner to his work shop the Police stopped us. They wanted us to pay them 50 US$ for not having stopped at a pedestrians crossing . That was pure bullshit! After Bert sitting in the police car playing stupid for 45 minutes and not understanding a word, the let us go – without a fine! It feels great to win over idiots like that!

After all this we discovered that a beer had exploded in our freezer and everything in was soaked with beer. In spite of all the hassle today we managed to get to Kiev. Much thanks to that the road got better the closer to Kiev we got.

In the evening we met a couple from Belgium who had been out on the road on their motorcycles for a year. They were now heading home now.

9/7 Kiev, Ukraine
Lat N 50° 27,20', Long E 30° 20,80'
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
09 Jul 2005
6293 km

To do the laundry was the first priority today. After that we went in to town for a couple of hours.

When we came back there was a big party with about 50 people going on at the restaurant just outside our camper. The Russian hospitality proved itself immediately and we got invited to the party. The company having the get-together party was Elegant Conte from White Russia (Belarus). Elegant Conte makes pantyhose and socks and they have a Ukrainian sales agent in Kiev. When we joined the party it had already been going on for a coupe of hours and everyone was in an excellent party mood.

Russians really know how to party ! Naturally everyone wanted to make a toast with us. This means we had to drink a hell of a lot of vodka . Catharina tried to take small sips to save her from getting to drunk, but that did not work. We had to drink it all – every time… We also made friendships toasts and are now considered to be ”real Russians”. That’s good to know!

After dinner we danced to Russian party music. The DJ downloaded some of it for us, so now we can have a Russian team party when we get home - drinking vodka, eating borch and listening to Russian music.

Everyone was really nice, even though we could not speak to all of them. There were just a few of them that could speak English. But this was really a good party!

Pictures from the party

10/7 Kiev, Ukraine
Lat N 50° 27,13', Long E 30° 20,08'
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
10 Jul 2005
6307 km

We have been writing the diary, translating it in to English and taking care of the photos before going in to town to upload everything. This took us most of the day. It is nice to know our way around, like how to get to town, to buy tickets and where to find the shops.

Hardly anyone speaks English in the Ukraine – not even in Kiev. The only way to get by is to speak Ukrainian or Russian. This makes it kind of hard for us to make ourselves understood, to ask the way, to order food etcetera. You never really know what you get until you see the plate.

Today we had a really tasty ice cream with a rather interesting cover. Does this mean that the ice cream is absolutely free from drugs or…?

11/7 Kiev, Ukraine
Lat N 50° 27,13', Long E 30° 20,08'
Today: 87.8 °F ( +31 °C)
11 Jul 2005
6307 km

Finally we have found a guidebook covering Kiev and the Crim peninsula. The word tourist information is obviously not invented here yet. We have been asking around for days, so we decided to get a guide book instated.

Beer, vodka and petrol is cheep here. But we have not managed to find a meal for less than 6-7$. But if you know how to speak Russian you probably would.

Today we tried a local specialty that they sell in the streets from big tanks. It was quite good and cooling, it tasted like small beer.

12/7 Kiev, Ukraine
Lat N 50° 27,13', Long E 30° 20,08'
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
12 Jul 2005
6307 km

Today’s mission was to find the Dnepr plant. An English speaking woman we met the other day wrote down ”Where is the Dnepr plant” in Ukrainian on a piece of paper. After a long, long while and numerous directions here and there - we found it. Unfortunately we where not allowed to go in to the plant, but we did meet a sales person who could speak a little bit English. For a Dnepr-16 with a side car you have to pay about 2 300$. Catharinas favorite was a yellow Dnepr-303 Trike for 4 300$, which was really cool! The delivery time for a Dnepr was five days, and they said that it is not a problem to take it out of the county. Read more about the Dnepr at

After that we took the obligatory sightseeing tour around Kiev. We really recommend you to pay a visit to The Peachers´k Lavra – a huge orthodox monastery area, the most important in all Eastern Europe. The buildings are fantastic; the roofs are shimmering of gold like in a fairytale.

13/7 Kiev, Ukraina
Lat N 50° 27,13', Long E 30° 20,08'
Today: 73.4 °F ( +23 °C)
13 Jul 2005
6307 km

Another day of writing, translating in to English and taking care of the photos. This takes so much longer than one can think. But the good thing is that we have a complete diary from this trip when we return home. These past two days we have had the campsite completely to ourselves. Not that it has been crowded before; only a French and Dutch family has stayed here. The toilettes and the showers are as good as in an excellent hotel. Which is worth a lot?

14/7 Kiev, Ukraine
Lat N 50° 27,13', Long E 30° 20,08'
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
14 Jul 2005
6307 km

Today we left Kiev to travel to the Crime-peninsula in the Black Sea. This was the longest trip this far, 600 kilometers in a day. It was far longer than we expected to go with our heavy loaded car, but the roads were in such a good shape that we could keep an average speed of 90 km/hour.

There are some strange signs for parking – we thought until we understood what they meant . Considering the shape of some of the roads here these are really needed…

We found an excellent gated area tuck-stop outside Xepcoh to park for the night!

15/7 Xepoch, Ukraine
Lat N 46° 37,72', Long E 32° 45,47'
Today: 89.6 °F ( +32 °C)
15 Jul 2005
6891 km

Today we drove the last 250 kilometers to Crime-peninsula. Before we got to the Ukraine we had read that there where to few petrol stations, but that is not the case anymore. They are building new petrol stations everywhere and the petrol is cheep, 0,75 $ per litre.

We bought some food along the way in a small village shop while we where looking for somewhere to stay the night. People are wild camping all over the beach. But that does not feel safe at all, and the wild camping beaches are also full of litter. We prefer to have access to a toilet and a fresh water shower. After a while we found a gated camping with a clean strip of the beach, bars and restaurants and a rave party in the evening. After two days in the car in the heat, we took a much longed-for dip in the Black Sea. Our first one!

16/7 The Kalamitsky Bay, Ukraine
Lat N 45° 09,61', Long E 33° 28,59'
Today: 89.6 °F ( +32 °C)
16 Jul 2005
7198 km

This morning we opened the door, stepped right out at the beach and walked 20 meters to the sea to a swim before breakfast. The rave party kept going all night, until 08.30 in the morning, so we did not get much sleep.

Today we had a really lazy day at the beach. In the evening we went to a Linda Lee Hopkins concert. She was a lovely lady with a powerful voice with a disco soul show.

In the evening there was a rave party again... Bert met a girl name Anna who loved having her photo taken – her boyfriend did not like it at all.

17/7 The Kalamitsky Bay, Ukraine
Lat N 45° 09,61', Long E 33° 28,59'
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
17 Jul 2005
7198 km

The fucking rave party kept going all until 10 in te morning! Catharina was seriously thinking about strangling the DJ. Bert did not arrive home until 6 in the morning.

Bert took some more photos of Anna today. She wanted some nice pictures of herself and Bert needed a model for practice. In the meantime Catharina cleared her ears from the rave party music for a couple of hours with the voice of Frank Sinatra.

18/7 The Kalamitsky Bay, Ukraine
Lat N 45° 09,61', Long E 33° 28,59'
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
18 Jul 2005
7198 km

After two months and almost 7 000 kilometers it is time for our first car wash. We are not known to have the cleanest cars in the neighborhood – even at home. We think that once a year is enough.

Found a campsite looking like a dump, but it was late and we needed a place to stay the night. It is a lot of garbage, at the beaches and along the roads.

19/7 Rybachie, Ukraine
Lat N 44° 45,16', Long E 34° 33,06'
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
19 Jul 2005
7198 km

We have seen a lot of disgusting toilets along this trip, but the one a this campsite was by far the worst. The beaches are crowded and full of garbage – but the water is clean. It is best to stay at a hotel beach because they are in an acceptable shape.

We have been searching for sheets for weeks; the ones we have got are falling apart. To make it easier we have a note in Russian that says; we are looking for sheets and pillowcases in these sizes. We show this note to everybody and we have managed to find a few shops that actually sell sheets – but only for king-size beds that is far to big for us.

We took a long drive in the darkness to get from the Crimea to the mainland. We would never have done a trip like that if we did not know that the road was good and that we could stay at the truck-stop where we had been before in Xepoch. It is rally hard to find somewhere to stay when it is pitch black.

20/7 Xepoch, Ukraine
Lat N 46° 37,72', Long E 32° 45,47'
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
20 Jul 2005
7907 km

We are tired of searching for campsites. We have seen several signs along the roads that clearly says camping and has a drawing of a tent, but that clearly means hotel. Because that is all we have been able to find where the camping was supposed to be. Tonight we ”camped” the Ukarian way = took a hotel room for 22$ for the fist time on this trip. We just had to get hold of a washbasin to wash our clothes. All the washing took us three hours! We managed to persuade the hotel maid to at least take care of our sheets and towels. This gives us a two weeks slack in the hunt for new sheets…

21/7 Odessa, Ukraine
Lat N 46° 32,77', Long E 30° 45,15'
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
21 Jul 2005
8136 km

We had to wait until the laundry was dry before we went in to take a look at Odessa. Late in the afternoon we took off to Romania. When we got close to the border we discovered that we needed to cross a tiny piece of the Moldavian territory to be able to get to the Ukrainian border crossing to Romania by car – a piece of only about ten kilometers.

When we arrived at the border the Ukrainians would not let us leave the country at this crossing because we did not have a Moldavian visa to show them. They told us that we had to go to the Moldavian consulate in Odessa to get it. But 300 kilometers in the darkness in the Ukraine was not very tempting, so we decided to stay the night at the border crossing and go to Odessa the next morning.

22/7 Bolhrad, Ukraine
Lat N 45° 42,12', Long E 28° 32,37'
Today: 82.4 °F ( +28 °C)
22 Jul 2005
8387 km

Drove like maniacs to get to Odessa to find the consulate to get a transit visa before they closed for the weekend. It proved to be much harder than expected – because there was no Moldavian consulate in Odessa, it was in Kiev.

Instead we managed to find the Romanian consulate, where we met the most charming and helpful gentlemen. They showed us on a map the best and safest way drive the 600 kilometers from Odessa and around Moldavia to get in to Romania. Certain danger areas were supposed to be avoided. These two gentlemen were really nice and helpful, served us wine and gave us a book with interesting facts about Romania. If the Romanian people is half as nice as these two, our time in Romanian will be fantastic!

All this hassle, several days of extra travel and approximately 1000 kilometers on bumpy Ukrainian roads – only because we could not get a simple transit visa at the border for the short passage of 10 kilometers.

23/7 Wild Camping, Ukraine
Lat N 48° 00,42', Long E 29° 29,18'
Today: 80.6 °F ( +27 °C)
23 Jul 2005
8945 km

Today we have been at the small roads in the countryside, because that was the shortest way to the border. Of cause we got lost. A guy in a BMW stopped and wondered what the hell we were doing there. He did not manage to explain the way in English, instead he decided to guide us over dirt roads and fields for more than 10 kilometers. The maps and signposts in the Ukraine would make a professional map-reader cry.

We are lucky the petrol is cheep here. This has been yet another tiring day in the car. We have been working hard for three days to get out of the Ukraine and in to Romania, but now we are really close. We have covered over 4000 kilometer in the Ukraine – a country we didn’t even plan to visit from the start.

24/7 Cernivci, Ukraine
Lat N 48° 13,07', Long E 25° 59,02'
Today: 77 °F ( +25 °C)
24 Jul 2005
9526 km

We arrived at the border at 10.10 AM, and after only 20 minutes we where clear. At the Romanian side we had to pay 7$ in road tax and 14$ in some sort of environ tax.

After 19 days in the Ukraine we had forgotten what decent asphalt could do to ones car. Soundlessly we were sweeping through the Romanian highland, no noise, no shaking, just a smooth ride.

We also found out that life gets much easier when you do not have to struggle with the Cyrillic letters, are able to read the signs and when people you meet do speak other languages than Russian.

The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Romania is obviously to make a family picnic or sit outside the house gossiping with the neighbors and watching the cars pass by. People were doing this everywhere.