The Carpathians now definitely behind us, we first drive along the Dnister. The river forms the border between Ukraine and Moldova for several kilometers.
We quickly notice, the hills become flatter, but they pile up extremely 😊. Up, down, up, down, the altitude meters do not get less! This can be seen well on the elevation profile:
In the first days along the Dnister everything was right: nice weather, roads that were passable to a certain extent, tailwind and beautiful wild campsites. Once we made it ourselves comfortable on a football field that was apparently no longer in use. Shortly after, half the village gathered on the square, the older guard for evening gymnastics, the teenagers to chill. Interested and slightly nervous, two teenagers approached and wanted to chat with us. It quickly became clear that we could only talk via Google Translate. So the smartphone wandered back and forth for almost an hour and exciting conversations ensued. That we camped in the middle of the village bothered no one 😃.
Due to the hot temperatures we finally decided to bring our bike sandals from the bottom of the bag into the daylight – ATTENTION, now it’s getting sexy! Which variant do you find best 😂?
Number 1 in particular has proved to be practical:
Here are a few impressions along the Dniester:
Normally / most would now follow the Dniester through Moldova, as the route would be flatter, shorter and probably more scenic. Well we choose thanks to Corona (so we avoid two PCR tests) the route along the border and remain in Ukraine. We quickly realized that the border is heavily guarded.
– At a hydroelectric power station with a possibility to cross into Moldova, three border guards stopped us, one saluted and introduced himself, the other wanted to see our documents and the third laughed his head off and said we were the first bicycle travelers they had ever seen on this “road” 😄. Again they did not speak English, but with the translator they gave us to understand that we may continue, but in no case we may cross to Moldova, otherwise they would arrest us. As if we could swim with the bicycles 🤷♀️!
– A few days later and a few kilometers further on, we met a young man who seemed slightly strange to us. Normal clothes, in his hand a plastic bag he approached us and inquired where we came from and what we wanted here. With his three bits of English he told us something about “border control and documents please”, which we found very weird. Because we couldn’t communicate, he contacted someone by phone who helped him translate. Before we handed over our passports, we wanted to see his documents first, because it was really a completely abstruse situation and we did not trust him. We checked his ID, which indeed identified him as a Border Control Assistant. Shortly after, a car stopped and the man who had previously translated on the phone now joined them in uniform. They apologized for the inconvenience and after checking our passports we were finally allowed to proceed.
On our further way towards Odessa we drive through rather monotonous areas now that the Dnister can only be admired on the Moldavian side. The landscape has changed a lot, huge fields, intensive agriculture, EXTREMELY bad roads, a small village every 30 kilometers and no accommodation within 200 km. Also the weather will be rainy and cold again (11°C during the day), which will make the unpaved roads a mud fight and bring us to the physical and physical limit! In the video also a few short scenes about it…
Below is the cabinet of horrors of the various “normal” roads between the small villages:
Completely at the end, we finally landed back in civilization yesterday and take a “break day”. We celebrate Nicole’s birthday, plan the onward journey to Odessa, look for a Warmshowers host, wash clothes, Skype with families and friends, write the blog post, book the ferry to Georgia and for more than two hours we are busy arranging an appointment for the PCR test.
Tomorrow we continue, another 190 km to Odessa 😃, where we will board the ferry to Poti (Georgia) on 22.6.