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From Transylvania to Vlad the Inhaler
Submitted by Tiffany on 18 May, 2009 - 18:40
I left my friends Greg, Ligia, little Tiffany and Oliver heading eastwards- it was a boling hot day and my route took me through what is affectionately known as "the frying pan of Romania" - there wasn't much affectionate about me as I rode with the sweat pouring off me, and thinking it's only going to get hotter.
I left Transylvania behind, crossed the Danube Delta- a huge expanse of wetlands that looked more like a Louisiana swamp with trees standing in water and everything spookily still. I was keen to see what are allegedly Europe's only pelicans but they were keeping a low profile, possibly due to the heat.
I entered Moldova- one of those countries that I wasn't sure actually existed until recently, there was an impossibly glamourous customs officer wielding a handbag that was bigger than her skirt - I'm sure you get the picture. Soon after I was across another border into Ukraine as darkness was falling. I don't usually like to ride in the dark when I am overseas, but there was no accommodation available so on I rode, dodging potholes the size of which I haven't seen since Mozambique. I was getting tired when I came upon a barrier across the road, I couldn't understand what was being explained but it seemed I had stumbled upon somewhere that I really shouldn't be and the security guard escorted me the three miles back to the correct turning.
By now drooping with tiredness, I was about to pull over and put up my tent when more armed soldiers appeared out of the darkness, these ones looked like they were out on patrol, guns at the ready- perhaps not a good spot to camp in. I rode on for another 15 miles before putting up my tent following a pathetic attempt to conceal Thelma behind a ridiculously small tree. It was a disturbed night's sleep as I could hear animals nibbling on the guy ropes by my head.
And now I am in Odessa, changing money, hanging out in cyber cafes and getting ready for the ferry tomorrow- 2-3 days on the boat across the Black Sea and then I'll be in Georgia. My ferry contact is Vlad who appears to have a breathing problem- or maybe it's just his Ukrainian accent - he has not been easy to understand on the phone and details have been sketchy ie the tribvial details of departure and arrival times. I'm looking forward to the ferry, I'll be looking upon it as more of a cruise, food is provided but somehow I don't think Ukraine cuisine goes a bundle on vegetarian food - not to worry I've come armed with my jar of peanut butter.