I woke up on 14th November, not having a clue where I was. This was definitely not a tent, since then I would be squeezed between Dainis and Ivars. I had so much free space around me, so we were definitely not Couchsurfing or staying in anyone’s house, there was ceiling… which meant we had not slept under the starry sky. So where..? After these and some more thoughts had run through my head in a split second, it all came back to me, we were in Yalta, Crimea (Ялта, Крим) and had just spent the night in a furniture shop. The uncommon spot probably did it, since it does not happen very often to me and thus it has definitely stayed in my memory.
Riga-Odessa – 2880km travelled. Distance from home – 1250km.
When telling stories about Odessa, it will always remain as the city where we encountered the Fireman – Pozharnik. He is indeed a fascinating character and it’s no great wonder that he, Pushkin’s Kitchen and the surrounding happenings are the first to cross our minds when recalling Odessa. Nevertheless, there are more things worth telling about our stay in Odessa, which was somewhat longer than those two bohemian days. Pozharnik is only one of the million inhabitants of Odessa – the third largest city in Ukraine. Continue reading
“Goodbye, the Land of Wine!” we shouted out loud, it was 16th October – the day we left Chisinau and Moldova. Of course, if you have read any of our previous posts involving leaving cities, you’ll already know that it was definitely not an early morning activity.
By the time we got organised and said farewells to our new friends, it was already early afternoon and we decided to say goodbye to the city itself by having a meal in a simple Moldovan diner “Strelka” using our last Moldovan money – leu (MDL). Suppose, we got a little over-excited with our order, choosing 3 courses each – we definitely got a bit over our heads, particularly because we intended to cycle straight after the meal. This resulted in not having enough of the right cash in our pockets (we were around 1€ short). We contemplated of going to a currency exchange place to get some more money, but then again, getting more leu was something we would not need anymore, since we planned to cycle to the border of Transnistria that afternoon and back in Ukraine after that. Thankfully, the women at the counter accepted some of our Ukrainian hryvnias (UAH) instead, this proved to us once more – there are good, understanding and kind people everywhere. Continue reading
This blog entry has been brewing in my mind for a while but is really difficult to form in actual words. How do you write about a place you find extraordinary? It was more than two months ago, when we had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Kiev Kyiv (Київ), but some of the memories still feel so fresh, as if they happened last week. It is, without doubt, an incredible city with many riches, but often somehow ends up hidden from the vacationers and travellers wish-list. (Or should I say – forgotten?)
Kyiv has, however, become the central topic of conversation in the past year, considering the active conflicts taking place in the country. The Ukraine (Україна), I find, has suffered greatly and has never really had enough recognition from the world for its simple, natural beauty, and while I can’t ignore the timing and circumstances of our trip, I find that it is a place for travellers to go to not only because of the recent revolution that took place in the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності), but also because Kyiv is one of the biggest cities in Europe and has a lot to offer – from great, rich history and its own unique sense in the arts – to a flaming, hot spirit.