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.