Monday, 24 October 2011

81 Further into The Ukraine

Sunday 23rd Oct.
We set off from our hotel in Uzhhord (we forgot to mention the town in the last post). We were headed for L'viv, which I believe is the countries second city. The drive there was a complete nightmare. I have never see a road in such bad repair. The only good thing about it was that there were no roadworks to hold us up, it appeared that there have been no roadworks since the Russians pulled out 23 years ago. What did hold us up was the 250km slalom course that is laughably used as a road. At first we thought all the drivers were drunk but quickly realised they were avoiding the biggest holes. 
The start of the road and the first of the pot holes

It just got worse and worse till it was completely destroyed. Motorway.

ЛЬВІВ = LVIV, where we are headed

We thinks this poor little sod had a damaged wing.

A Ukranian version of a rest area. Note the destroyed road.

A war memorial

Crap yellow cars this way..

One good aspect of the journey was the local churches and graveyards (is that good ?), they were immaculate.

Gold and silver/chrome roofs

Another funny aspect was the plethora of Lada's. The old communist mainstay of cars is absolutely everywhere. On top of that they all have knackered front kerbside springs. All the Ladas dip to the right front of the car - wierd.
We drove over a mountain range and when at the top we came across a Military check point. The soldier on the gate threw up a quick salute and used probably the only word we would understand, "Passport".  A quick showing said documents and the usual "Tourista" plea and we were on our way. I saulted the soldier as we drove off and he seemed chuffed.
On the top of the mountain the road had completely broken up and the verges were better to drive on - that was fun.
We eventually arrived at L'viv and drove to the centre, also called "ЛГEНТР" and were immediately pulled over by the police. A quick "hello" and "Hotel" said as a question  did the trick. He waved us on with a blank face, particularly when he saw that Karen had a cat as opposed to a steering wheel in her hands. The City was a but run down and not very impressive.
The centre of Lviv

We found a hotel, a very plush 4 star gaf. 600 huffs or  £47 to you and I. The hotel was on a hill, and our 7th floor room had a balcony view that looked out over the city. 2 floors above us was a bar - nice.
We trotted off for the 10 minute walk into town. By this time it was dark and the centre of the city took on a whole different flavour. There was a huge group of people of all ages standing in the main square singing along apparently spontaneously. It was very charming. The city was alive with people and it felt very safe, there were the occasional beggars but the street musicians outnumbered them.  
The place came alive at night

Dunno what this was at the edge of the main square

We wandered around for a while looking for somewhere to eat and eventually found a Whiskey bar that served very good food. It is called 4 friends, which is a take on the american program Friends. This show seems to be very popular out here.  How much ?, food, 2 large whiskies and 2 pints of Stella - £15.70 to you sir. We then wandered back to the hotel and sat in the 9th floor bar overlooking the city. Then it was off to bed.

Monday 24th Oct.
Before we set off I wanted to get some piccys of some Russian Military equipment that I had seen yesterday. Old habits die hard.
View of the city from our balcony

Another war memorial, opposite these.....

A Russian T55 tank

A Scud missile. First one I have seen.

A BM21 rocket  launcher

Off  again, this time South-Eastwards on the road  towards Moldova. Due to the distance we had to have another overnight stop in The Ukraine at a town called Chernivtsi. The road was  a lot better than yesterdays and we saw some funny things, some of which we managed to photograph.
The old ways are the best !!!!

We missed it in the photo but this had a GB number plate on it.

The autumn colours were still here in abundence.

Russian industry, now dead.

An LPG bus, note the cylinders on the roof and under the back.

These were everywhere, mainly ambulances.

With no road markings, it was every man and woman for themself.

We saw a lot of these, half finished buildings, all in the same state.

What you got when the horse died. A rotorvator to pull your cart.

This guy and his cow were walking around a roundabout, the wrong way !

A local waiting for God.

2 Ural mororcycle sidecars units. They are 2 wheel drive and the first motorcycles I have seen in The Ukraine.

A new church, roof finished, walls ect to be done.

Our new Hotel was more of a Motel and Gromit was parked outside our room.  The Hotelier spoke perfect German so at least we could understand them. This time the cost was a massive £23, about the same price as a camping pitch in Hertford - He He.

We had a quick trip into the town, but sadly we found no shops for souvenirs so I might not be able to get my fridge magnet or the flag for Gromit.  We had a meal in a German bar and then a Ukrainian Vodka in a Ukrainian bar. 
Apart from the bits that we have already mentioned, (roads, traffic, churches and very old plumming, even in the so called modern hotels), life here is still very Russian.  We had a guide to Lviv which stated that the Government was a bunch of clowns, freaks and magicians who would conjure millions of local currency and make it disappear with no visible results.
Smoking is a big industry and every room we have had was classed as non smoking but they stink of stale smoke, so I can only assume that they became non smoking for us. 
I have not enjoyed this as much as the other countries. Infact I am anxious to leave.  It all seems a bit sneaky beaky, people stand on corners looking at everything. Cars have windows that are so blacked out, which is probably why they drive all over the road,(MP). It has it's charm, but it is not for me, give me western indugence any day.

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