Odessa – Krementsjoek

Since 2 weeks I enjoyed being in Ukraine. Nice weather, friendly people all over and good food ! Odessa, Mykolaiv, Cherson, Kakhovka, Nikopol, Zaporizja, Djnepro and here in Krementsjoek were super. I crossed the 3500 km checkpoint 😉 Great hamradio-guy’s, boyscouts, bicyclist helping me out in the cities.. I just can’t find any enthusiasm to write anything and manually filter out the 1000+ photo’s I took. Taking into account the terrible UI for WordPress crashing every minute..

Writing everything down since Odessa will take me more than 7h36 and it feels like working so I don’t like that 😉

I’d rather cycle, eat, drink, sleep, rest, talk with people I meet and try to do some shopping and look for nice places and plan out. With the Tour de France which has begun, watching the recap in the evening is also very much more enjoyable. Keeping the bicycle and myself in shape is of course a big prio.

By the end of this week I’ll be in Kyiv and spend there some days before heading of to Lviv on the soon-to-be-official EuroVelo bicyclepath EV4

The Instagram, Polarsteps and APRS-links are still up-to-date.

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Galati – Odessa

Leaving Galati behind me it was only some 15 km to the border with Moldova. After two controls on both sides of the border some 3 km’s along the road or corridor the Moldova/Ukraine border came into view. Passing the last border took me a full hour.

From the border to the first Ukrainian city Reni was some 10 km. An old communication-tower with some +30 year old horns in it was the firdt I saw. The main road was quiet ok but this was an international highway E87.. In Reni I bought for some 16 euro or something a all-you-can-eat simcard from the national provider Kyivstar. The shop was located in between its two rivals but the three of them were rather close friends behind doors.

Weather was still +30 degrees and blue skies everywhere all the way to Odessa.

From Reni to Izmajil lead me along a more local road of about 90% on a scale of 100 😉 It would get worse, much worse. The city was located on the banks of the Danube before it spread out into the estuary closer to Chilia.

Talking to two bicyclist in Izmajil learnd me that the small road to Tatarbunary was bad. The best option was to follow the main road E87 towards Odessa. This road was only a bit more than a year old.

After some sleep in Izmajil I cycled to the beachtown of Rasseyka. From Tatarbunary on the local roads were very challenging. Asphalt disapeared and solid driven earth appeared as the main road .. Sometimes drivers made themselves a ‘road’ through the fields instead of following the crazely potholed road.

After some bumpy 15 km the small town came into view, nicely spread out along the beach along the Black Sea. No high-rise buildings, no modern houses or roads just a town that came into life during summer and probably slept during other seasons. I had some difficulties finding the hotel due to the location on google maps and the big amount of hotels here. In the end the receptionist of he Afrodita-hotel came looking for me around the corner and led me to a restorant and showed me the beach. Nice beach and small-town-mentality.

In the morning I had to find my way back to the T1610 to cycle to Zatoka. A nice but immensely big tourist destination like the town of Kurotne. All located along the south-stretch of a peninsula bathing in the sun and cars which were parked on the beach. Roads were 70% and weekend-traffic made the last stretch kind of dangerous.

Bucarest – Galati

Quite early I left the hotel after breakfast at 0830 heading northeast out of the city. Trying to find small roads was not partially succesfull. Mostly I ended up in some desolate neighbourhood with a potholed pavement but after 2 hours I reached the end of the city.

From there on I followed smaller roads towards Mizil. Trying to cut through to Buzau on smaller roads was rather impossible. These roads ended up in swampy grasslands. From Mizil I had to cycle on the national road 1B for more than 30 km. No shoulders, heavy traffic and stormy clouds to the north of me decided to stop this suicidal mission and take a local train for this stretch.

Buzau was not really appealing as I descended from the station. Pouring rain and thunderflashes everywhere still in some 25° heat in the late afternoon. The storm continued until after midnight. Downtown was dark and wet, no-one to be seen. Laid me to rest in the motel and woke up around 7.

Towards Galati it was another 130 km over alternative roads. There was no real alternative than another national road 2B. Trying to hit the smaller road North of the buzy road was a failure. Shabby roads everywhere. I cycled 20 km towards Galati over the main road and then decided I had to stop before I cycled out of luck. The wind was heavy NE and kept me from cycling faster than 14 km/h. Most of the driver’s of big trucks didn’t really took any notice of me and there was still no shoulder. I took the local train once again this time in Faurei after cycling 65 km with a local tour included.

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From a distance of about 20 I’m I could already see 6 big cooling towers near Galati city as this train, which consisted only out of 1 wagon, closed in onto the city trough farmland and nothing else than flat farmland.

Galati itself had a nice boardwalk along the river Danube leading towards the TV-tower. The tower was open for businesses (resto+café) but some 200 schoolchildren had the same idea at the end of their class year. As the elevator wasn’t from Star Trek’s Enterprise, I stopped my effort after some 20 minutes or so.. Had some pasta and beer someplace else and went to sleep.

Boekarest

I arrived in some kind of flashflood in Boekarest around 5 o’clock. Finding any bicycleroad leading into the city had no result. It seemed that most of the dozen or so bicyclist on shabby bicycles preferred to cycle on the footpath. The speed was about 5 km/h and extremely dangerous doing so. As it was also extremely crazy to cycle on the road which looked as a expressway all throughout the city on 2×3 lanes. The right lane was reserved for trolleybuses and taxis but were mainly used for parking and stationary waiting for someone or whatever… Every other driver was talking on the phone in every other way than handsfree.

The city itself was concentrated around this Central lane. Walking around it in +36° C had its negative sides but to walk around in parks and eating icecream kept me cool. Visited the surroundings of the ever impressioning palace and visited a local music festival next to the palace.

On the second day I visited 15 bookstores or so and none of them had any other roadmaps than Roumania or some holiday country. Strange.. I succeeded in finding another pair of magura pads, leaving the city probably without any stock for the time being. As I walked about 8 km north of the city I tried to score a tramticket back downtown. This seemed harder than in any other city in Europe and the lady behind the counter never tried to look on Google translate. A cabdriver – for 20 lei (4,5 euro) – brought me back downtown. According to him most of the tourists came here to gamble from Israël and the there types were businesses people. He made about 700 Euro’s a month. Soldiers only had to work upto an age of 45 years as it was considered heavy duty work. Good money had to be made on missions abroad.

As I’m on the road now for a month and slept two times in the tent and used radio only three times in good conditions it had no rational use to keep that extra weight with me. It was and still is, simply explained too warm to enjoy camping out and doing radio in a relaxed way. It only costed me more energy, sweat and bites than it was satisfying. I send it back home for about 30 Euro’s and now weight 9,9 kg’s less than before.

Orjachovo – Roese

Orjachovo was a rather dull place at first sight. Depraved looks of quasi all of the buildings and roads. Old port and people but sunshine and food 100%.

As it was located on the southbank of the Donau at a height asl of abt. 50 m it had on its eastside leaving town a very nice view towards the lower slopes and Esperanto Island.

Cycling accross Baikal and Gigen towards Nikopol I encountered a Suisse girl for the second time in 5 days, it really doesn’t matter how fast you cycle but how long you sleep in the morning. Rather dull roads and wonderfull views as above.

Belene was the spot for the night. It had a desolate downtown but rather new electricity grid.

As Bulgaria joined EU it had to close it’s old nuclear powerplant. Plans to open up a new one did came into effect but halted somewhere halfway into it’s construction. No-one in town knew if it would ever finish. From my perspective never, as trees were already growing trough some concrete blocks..

Nice buildings are spread out all over some towns.

The only drilling/pumping oilwell I saw along the river.

There was no shortage of old canons for the last 100’s of kilometers as were comemoration-statues for all three wars where Bulgarians were part of.

Blocking of a road while we are asphalting it ? No way sir, just continue please 😉

A local playground is even more attractive with some kind of old jetfighter in it..

View onto the Donau in the hotel in Belene. Great view/food/birds and a motivated young manager who spoke fluent French as he studied in Brussels.

Once again superb views from the curby and hilly roads.

The main road out of Belene nuclear plant cycling to the north along the river. Not much traffic but even more trees and weed.

Just enjoying the quality road from time to time.

A donkey guarded the entrance of the garage where my bicycle was parked.

As I learned streetdogs weren’t as nasty as thaught. The just behaved like cats on the road. The most nasty were the guard-dogs which were on the loose and not chained up. Barking back always worked up to now 😉

These roads would lead me in Roese, next to the Donau and for me the bridge to Romania again !

Roese – Boekarest

Yesterday I crossed the 2000 km without noticing it. Only at night when I logged the trip it came into view, never too late for a party so I had a spaghetti with a Carlsberg. As the size of it was rather let’s say disappointing, I visited a Chinese resto around the corner until it came out of my ears. Roese was a port-city with in it’s park a real bicycle road ! It stopped abruptly at the end of it leaving it’s users in full state of dispair looking for the gateway to the bridge over the Donau.

Roese city central square.

The view from my Bucarest hotelroom, as I always imagined it would be !

Signalisation for workers and their living habitat on this highway aka bridge ? Never heard of ..

At least temperatures didn’t rose accross the 45° range today above the asphalt. I drunk once again more than 5 liters and ate bananas, yughort and bounty’s until my stomach said stop. In the last part of the day, as usual cold cola did the rest.

Another solo-slim cyclist going for Bucarest-city.

Crazy view and weather downtown Bucarest.

The old bridge over the Donau, over it’s exact width can be argued but it’s not much wider than two pkw’s.

Local Romanian means of transportation I encountered a bit more than a dozen times this day.

A view to the east from the Donau-bridge.

Rain came and went into 20 minutes to clear the road from some dust and temps rose again past the 30-marker.

Checkpoint before crossing into Romania to buy a road-vignet. Not applyable for bicyclists as I found out.

5 km south of Bucarest city the roads looked like this.

Montana – Orjachovo

On my 100 km trip from Montana back to the Danube area I didn’t encounter many interesting things. Other than cows, horses, dogs and donkeys on rather strange places and the reassuring statue in some very small and dreadfull towns I encountered the real haaghoek and the lange munte over here.

Should it be that we have a copy of the real one ? Not encountered one real factory that employed living people. Not much living people to be seen here too, some houses were empty or in a complete state of devastation.

Arriving in Orjachovo shops and schools popped up again. A few resto/bars and a small motel were enough for the night. One of the shops had some nice wines.

In the evening I hung up the endfed antenna from the window, slooping to the west. I had to wait until the local youth and don’t-know-what other guys went away from the square were my end-point of the antenna should be. I expected buzzing activity on the bands, checked swr and everything was perfect ! Only S9+xx on all the bands and choppy man-made noise -again- made any qso impossible. I do suspect the landlines and poles as above do make some TX I don’t really like.

Tomorrow I’ll try to make a 140 km more to the east along the Danube !