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I love the smell of mould in the morning, especially when it's right at the level of my nose.

We tour the old Lviv on foot, merely scraping the surface of all the things this city has to offer. Flea markets, alleyways, churches, marketplaces, parks, palaces, museums, cobblestone, pavement, statues, monuments, townhouses, manors, old and new, from 18th century to 21st. Nearly everything about the city speaks more West than East to me, but with a twist that's completely unique. It's too bad we're constantly in a bit of a rush.

Crossing borders to Poland takes quite a while, apparently because at one point they completely forget about us and we have to go knocking after our passports to get going.

Poland is mostly what I remembered, and bears a striking resemblance to most of Ukraine. Fields, towns, fields, trees, fields. I leaf through the Polish part of a phrasebook and find the pronunciation actually mostly doable. Mostly.

Today seems to be the official get-hitched-day, since both in Lviv and in Poland we spot couples (with entourage) and cars decorated with pink ribbons and/or balloons.

Driving in Poland is surprisingly uneventful. Roads are in mint condition, straight, and traffic is low. I'd be bored if I wasn't thankful. It comes to mind that actually, with these roads and what most houses and other buildings look like, Poland is starting to look a lot like Germany, probably due to EU standardisation. S.O. says how this seems to be the EU's agenda—to make everywhere like Germany. And that sounds kind of familiar... Well, my only wish is that they never pass a directive limiting the appearance of bus stops.

The only hotels available in Bialystok, the originally planned cite of accommodation, are four and five stars and therefore far too expensive, so we booked a cheap hotel at Gmina Wasilków some ten kilometres north of there. Arriving at Nad Zwelem proves easily the single most surprising experience of today; there's a dog strongman—strongdog?—contest going on right here on the on the grounds (this facility serves both as a shabby hotel and a camping area). Dogs bark and people shout and cheer and laugh drunkenly. It's not exactly a nightmare, but something very close to one. Our room is silly-shaped and very big, and the bed springs have definitely seen their better days. The dog contest seems to know no end, the barking continues, and it's nearly midnight. Posting this tomorrow at dawn when we leave for Tallinn, because the Wi-fi only reaches the common areas and I'm dead tired.

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A Journey in the Dark

March 2016

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