Jun. 7th, 2013

khar_muur: (khar_muur07)

Godsdammit the Tactical Missile Museum was worth every hryvna. Not only were the tactical vehicles, heavy machinery and missiles outside incredibly impressive, but we also go to go inside the actual base, walk the cold concrete tunnels and climb ladders and cram ourselves into a tiny lift and end up in the bloody command centre itself, 35 metres below surface, and there was the red button of doom on the keyboard of doom, blinking lights and switches to flick, and we got to sit in the actual seat where the komendant sat. The guides were old military guys, which was very apparent from how they spoke and behaved, but under there they suggested all kinds of cool photos we could take (by speaking Ukrainian and waving their hands a lot)—and boy, did we.

As soon as we left the missile museum, we were taken by a massive rainstorm, and knowing the locals would be about as safe to drive among as nuclear warheads, we took a small break by a flooding petrol station. Heading south now. A hailing strikes, too, and we wait some more.

Lightless cars bug us severely, and surpassing lorries proves difficult at times. Slowly but steadily, the vegetation shifts from very familiar to familiar to slightly strange, and at times the landscape greatly resembles northern, rural Italy. Indeed, the word 'rural' describes the southern part of Ukraine quite precisely, as the vast fields (sunflowers, wheat and corn) are only sparsely punctuated by little villages, and in them, people selling goods on both sides of the road. Stray dogs wander around nearly every petrol station and market stall, crows and hawks fly over our heads, and butterflies flutter on and beside the road. There's a hillock with a numbered door in the field every now and then, presumably a bunker. The golden light of the setting sun forms a ukrainian flag together with the perfectly blue sky.

A few close calls happen with the traffic, specifically after nightfall in Sevastopol', where we also see the aftermath of a small car crash.

A vigorous search, consulting the map, and several language barriers later we arrive at the small village of Kujbyshevo near the mountains, our destination for tonight (and the night after that).

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A Journey in the Dark

March 2016

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