zondag 18 mei 2014


On the way to Kiev
One of the many checkpoints
Some vodka anyone?

Selfmade canons for molotov cocktails

Maidan square is realy a warzone. It made quite an impression, and you become very quiet looking at all the pictures of all the young people that died there.

I didn't spend too much time hanging around, as the situation was still very tense and in a few days I was back in Europe, entering via Moldava into Romania.

donderdag 8 mei 2014

All the way to Ukraine

So this trip has started. First stop was Praghe, where I found out that my GPS with west-europe cover left me in the dark. Smartphone and Mc Donalds Wifi to the rescue. After I downloaded a gps map on the phone I set course for the center of Praghe, but as it was way too crowded and touristy I didn't linger around for long, way to many Japanese for me.

In Poland I made good progress on the toll highways, untill, just before the border I noticed a forest area on the map, tucked away in the complete Southeast of Poland. I remember this area from a documentary I once saw. This forest area in the Karpatian mountains is one of the oldest forests in Europe. The  Bieszczady National Park  is home to bears, wolves, bisons and lynx. 
The road to Lesko, Poland

But I was glad to spot just a deer crossing the stream I was camped by and a black stork, a species of bird I hadn't seen before. By now I had become quite nervous of crossing into Ukraine, as for the last days, camping in the woods, I had no updates on the security situation. For the last months, Ukraine has been prety close to a civil war, with Russian speaking separatists occupying goverment buildings in at least 10 eastern cities. By now, dozens of people were killed, with over 40 dead in Odessa just this week. 
It just took me 1,5 hours to cross the border at Kroscienko and as soon as was on Ukrainian roads it felt I was back in Africa, there were more holes than road and the going was slow. Over the last days I made this comparison to Africa more times, the street sellers, big open markets and colourfull woman all confirming this. Of course once you get to the bigger cities, you realise just how western Ukraine is, Lviv, is just as modern,beautifull and busy as my hometown Antwerp.

Unfortenately, Lviv , as so many big cities,has a bit of a parking problem, so I just parked out of the center and had a little tour on my foldaway bicycle that I'm carrying. The hostel I was looking for didn't seem to exist anymore (sun hostel/lonely planet) so I made my way out of the city and back to the forest, where I would be at peace again.
I had a gps point of a abandonned old army fort near Brody and this place was just amazing, with huge fortified buildings and tunnels. One of the creepiest place  I've ever been.

Next gps point was the so called 'tunnel of love'. West of Rivne a factory train made a tunnel out of the surrounding forest, which gives it a very romantic air, but you be the judge and just look at the pictures....

Next stop, Wolves Land, near Tjernobil.

maandag 7 april 2014

Going East

In may 2014 I will be on the road again. This time I will be going East, first to Prague in the Czech Republic and then to Ukraine. I am well aware of the troubles at the moment, but in stead of being afraid maybe this an interesting period to see the country. After Ukraine, I will descend over Romania and Bulgaria to Greece. All of these countries had a hard time in the last years, but all of them have wonderful scenery and unspoilt nature. And all of them could use a boost in tourism.

I will be using my VW camper van, that prooved itself so well on the last trip and just had some TLC and is ready to go another 10000 km.

This is a preliminary route: