Five days in Ukraine

October 5th, 2012

Somewhere between Sighet and Cluj, Romania

Having never properly travelled other post-Soviet countries (except for my own), I had never realized how much alike they had all been at some point in their common history, and how far apart they had drifted ever since.

But that wasn’t the only thought on my mind as I looked for a clean spot between the piles of cow dung all scattered around the grass plain that was meant to be our home for that night. It was my last day of camping in Ukraine – I still wasn’t sure whether or not I was happy about that.

During our regretfully short time in Ukraine, we came across one surprise after another, and I think Ukraine was no less surprised by us. I saw more puzzled faces during those 5 days than in my previous lifetime altogether as we were driving through tiny villages with our huge yellow bus, home to some 58 people. In return, we were amazed by the numerous horse carriages on the streets, and even more numerous potholes on the roads.

We spent the nights camping on some remote patches of nature by lakes and rivers, or alternatively, asking people if we could camp in their backyard. Occasionally we would later find out that the lake had been used to process sulphur, or that the backyard was a minefield of dung piles, but to make up for that, Ukraine welcomed us with endless apple and walnut trees, and as long as you could squeeze out a few words in a Slavic language, everything was possible.

Last night I left the jolly company of the yellow bus, and headed out to spend some quality time alone with my backpack. As there was too much temptation just across the border, my time in Ukraine was cut short, and my impressions of that country are no deeper than the shallow section of Tisza river that separates Ukraine from Romania. But let’s see, perhaps I will have more insight to that place after I’ve gotten to know its neighbour a little better.

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Published in: on 6. okt. 2012 at 00:59  Lisa kommentaar  

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