khar_muur: (khar_muur07)

TOP 3 best (omni) restaurants

1. Khevron, Odessa, Ukraine
2. Café Pushkin, Bakhchisaray, Ukraine
3. Rustic, Baia Sprie, Romania.

TOP 3 worst border crossings
1. Lithuania – Belarus
2. Belarus – Ukraine
2. Ukraine – Romania

TOP 3 most English spoken
1. Lviv, Ukraine
2. Vilnius, Lithuania
3. Sighișoara, Romania

TOP 3 accommodations
1. Casa Olarului, Baia Sprie, Romania
2. Hunting House, Kujbyshevo, Ukraine
3. Hotel Telecom Guest, Vilnius, Lithuania

TOP 3 most impressive cities

1. Minsk, Belarus
2. Odessa, Ukraine
3. Lviv, Ukraine

TOP mammals
1. Cow
2. Dog
3. Horse
4. Goat
5. Chicken
6. Cat
7. Sheep

Bonus mammal:
+ Donkey

TOP birds
1. Pigeon
2. White Stork
3. Sparrow
4. Western Jackdaw
5. Barn Swallow
6. Rook
7. Hawk

Bonus bird:
+ Peafowl

Achievements unlocked
⭐ Drove through the Carpathian Mountains during thunderstorm
⭐ Swam in the Black Sea
⭐ Sat in the chair of a missile base command centre
⭐ Saw the elusive city of Minsk
⭐ Bribed a police officer in Ukraine
⭐ Climbed the Potemkin Stairs in Odessa
⭐ Saw a white stork in a nest on the roof of a house
⭐ Saw a flock of bats flying over us on a dark forest road in Transylvania
⭐ Visited a crypt in Transylvania

Cases of blatant animal suffering witnessed
😡 a man striking a horse hard with the blunt side of a pitchfork (Bonțida, Romania)
😡 multiple cases of tying horses' legs together (to prevent them from wandering away, one assumes) in Ukraine, Moldova and Romania; saw two horses hopping down a road with legs tied in Romania
😡 dozens of strays everywhere, the majority of them ill and/or malnourished
😡 dog strongman contest; the animals were made to pull very heavy loads, and kept alone in small cages inside cars. Judging by the picture in the event poster, the dogs are pumped with steroids. (Gmina Wasilków, Poland)

Things the border guards inquire after or search for

- girls, tasers (Ukrainian; Belarus to Ukraine)
- petrol (Polish; Ukraine to Poland)
- gifts for guards/Finlandia vodka (Ukrainian; Ukraine to Romania)

Craziest drivers:
Kiev (Ukraine)

Best roads:
Belarus and Poland

Most white storks:

Most Hesburgers:

Easiest hotel to find:
Vila Chesa, Romania

Most difficult hotel to find:
Vilari Guest House, Ukraine

Most horse carts:

Most strays:

Coolest museum:
Strategic Missile Forces museum, Pervomais'k, Ukraine

Most insane memorial:
Dzyarzhynskaya Hara, Minsk, Belarus

Best cemetery:
The cemetery of the Church on the Hill, Sighișoara, Romania

Best overall service:

Best starry sky:
Crimea, Ukraine

Greatest bird density:

Lushest lands:
Middle Ukraine

Most epic memorial:
Батьківщина-Мати (Mother Motherland), Kiev, Ukraine

Most impressive church:
The Church of the Saviour at Berestove, Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Kiev, Ukraine

Highest temp 30°C (Polish-Ukrainian border, day)
Lowest temp 13°C (Kujbyshevo, night)

khar_muur: (Default)

11 hours of sleep. We have breakfast at the incredibly picturesque hotel yard.

Driving through the sleepy Vilnius towards the border, we spot plenty of construction work, and notice how the roads worsen the closer we get to Belarus. Just before the actual control we're told we need an entry ticket from "a yellow, yellow, yellow, yellow wagon" one kilometre back—this turns out to be a tiny construction shack slightly off the road. A young guard hands us a small ticket without saying a word.

Waiting. A crucial document is missing, so we have to go back, (queuing on both ends for approx. 2 hours for nothing) and arrange so that we get the bloody paper delivered from Finland by tomorrow afternoon. We get a proper old-fashioned road map, since TomTom only recognises two roads in the entire country of Belarus. Sister, brother and dad get to go cross through, eventually, and travel ahead to Minsk; our visit there shall be brief.

My S.O. and I go find a hotel wait for the delivery. We wander around Vilnius, shooting pictures in old town, and find an excellent raw vegan restaurant—just think of that!—where we dine ourselves silly on soup, sushi, lasagna and pizza. A short trip to a local supermarket/ shopping centre, then back at the hotel. Lithuanian TV is in no way more interesting than I expected.

Tomorrow we'll just hang around until the letter arrives, queue at the border for hopefully no more than two hours, and meet with the rest of our troupe at Minsk; then we drive through the white spot on the map of Europe that is Belarus, and spend the next night and several days at Kiev.

khar_muur: (khar_muur07)

Napped all the way from Turku to Helsinki, having spent the night packing and tidying. A nightingale was trapped inside the tax free shop, between the window and soda cans. The buffet served mostly meat, but sister let me have some of her watermelon slices. Brother attempted death by bacon.

Saw a huge stork's nest, with the stork, standing there like nobody's business. Forgot how to language at gas station, but S.O. found beebi porgand there. Walkie-talkies randomly pick up russian channels. I have to constantly feed the driver with chocolate to keep them awake. Crossing borders just happened, no controls nor queue. A wind turbine had dropped its rotor on the field. "Moses taps drow" —sorry if that was rude.

Roads aren't half bad. BMW drivers are reckless and we warn each other whenever we spot one. Always give way to an east-European BMW. A motorcyclist decided to practice slalom on the motorway. Small falls of rain wake us up from the sun coma.

Another border in sight, and with it the remains of the day. I'm tired, but I sing along to my favourite tunes and watch lighting crack. Stupid jokes (selfish shellfish etc.).

Dozed off after finding a set of old jets and woke up in Vilnius just before arriving at the hotel. A nice, clean place, with a very friendly English-speaking receptionist. Wi-fi. Dad, sister and brother went shopping.

Exhausted. Need sleep.


khar_muur: (Default)
A Journey in the Dark

March 2016

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