We entered China on a hot 14th June’s day. 你好! 4100km from home.
China’s apparently the country where people get an unsurpassable desire to burn their passports. There was a Latvian couple on a long term travel to China, and they got involved with doing that; and, as we all know, the infamous Pozharnik from Ukraine burned his passport and lived in China as an illegal immigrant for a while as well. Dainis and Laura made an agreement – if I burn my passport, they are not gonna help me and will carry on. Continue reading →
After all our big hopes of travelling through different countries of Central Asia were crushed, in the end we would have to do with one BIG country – Kazakhstan, which, after considering all the pros and cons would have been perfectly fine with us if it was not for one slight problem.
Despite all the warnings directed at us and rumors about all that could go wrong with our intended ferry trip from Crimean peninsula to Russia, all was well and simple. The ferries run all night long with regular intervals (we arrived to the port around 11pm) and we didn’t have to wait in any queues because we were ‘pedestrians’ (and one cyclist). There was a queue for cars but it didn’t look tremendously long. Since the annexation of Crimea in March, the number of ferries operating between Port Crimea and Port Caucasus has been increased and now there are in total about 10 vessels (including train ferries) navigating back and forth from these destinations.
The only thing that took longer than expected, was the ferry ride itself. It was supposed to take 30 minutes but we ended up floating in the Kerch Strait for at least an hour. So, as the Greek ferry “Γλυκοφιλουσα III” was slowly drifting about, the main deck filled with Russians, a few foreign tourists and at least one Ukrainian, it finally felt like we are closing in on the real Russian Federation. Continue reading →
While spending the last days in Kiev, the feeling that we have stayed in the city for too long, never really left me. It was time to move on. I think it is kind of tricky with cities, if you stay in one place for a long time you start to become lazy, you get used to the comfort which cities offer and as a result, you end up spending too much time and money. Of course we also did something useful in Kiev, if “filming” a short hyperlapse video can be regarded as something useful (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc9RkejUOig). One way or the other, on 8th October we finally got back on the road.
Crimean red sparkling wine. We tasted it on the last evening in Kiev, but unfortunately it was not tasty.
In the morning we packed our panniers and, together with our host Roman, drove to the central train station. The plan was to get from Kiev to the Moldavian (Transnestrian) border (to the city Kotovsk) using Ukrainian train network and then to jump on our cycles and pedal to Chisinau. I can almost hear people asking me “How can you call yourself bicycle tourist, if you are travelling with trains all the time?” I can almost hear myself answering this imaginary question “Firstly, to travel by trains in Ukraine is even cheaper that to travel by bicycles. Secondly, these trains are almost like social clubs where you get to know a lot about people travelling with you. Thirdly, it is a lot faster to travel by train and as we have to be in Crimea on 1st November, train is our only option to see more.” Actually, this was neither the first, nor the last time, when I had similar discussions with myself.
So we entered Ukraine in the evening of September 26, it is now, however, a month later. There is no reason or explanation that could justify our absolute laziness in keeping up to date. Good thing is, I’ve been keeping up with the adventures in a travel journal I was given by my mentor and friend back in Glasgow – Darren. It is quite difficult to write though, there always seems to be something better to do than to type the events that have passed. Right now, we’ve been in Odessa for five days already, the weather is horrible, rainy, cold and we are not moving anywhere (we can enter Russia only on the 1st of November as stated in our visas) so one could say – the conditions are perfect.