08.10.2012 Against all advice

When we woke up it was still raining heavily, and aware of our location we immediately checked the floor of the tent. Arjun had a bittersweet night, struggling with large lumps but waking to a relatively dry mat and sleeping bag. Kieran hadn’t been so lucky, and found himself at the lowest point of the ditch and in a shallow puddle.

The rain didn’t let up, but seeing as things were wet anyway it wasn’t really an issue, so we packed and walked non-stop until we reached a garage which didn’t sell anything. There we waited for a while, checked the map and found we were really close to a large town. The rain stopped and we continued.

On the way in Arjun spotted an advert for a restaurant promising to accept card and have free wifi, which coaxed us into what appeared to be a rather dangerous town. There were many broken windows and abandoned looking cars, and the place was busy with a lot of dodgy looking people, but we found the restaurant and got all our stuff inside without issue.

The staff were friendly but spoke very little English, and in trying to explain our order we caught the interest of the owner. He also spoke little English, but was good at charades, explaining that they didn’t accept card and that the wifi was down. He tried to direct us to the nearest atm by car, and laughed when we explained we were walking before very kindly offering us a lift. With limited options, Kieran agreed. Arjun gave him the GPS unit with the SOS button, and wished him luck.

The car opened via a string in the boot, had no seatbelts and all sorts of medication on the dashboard, all minor concerns once the guy started driving. He took pedestrian footpaths between blocks of flats, struggled with both hands to change gears, frequently, and was seemingly oblivious to other traffic. That said, he got to a bank a distance away in very good time, and got back to the restaurant with Kieran in one piece, where we enjoyed a really nice meal of traditional Ukrainian dumplings.

Aware we had to find camping, we didn’t stop too long, and with Kierans new knowledge of the back roads we left to find a supermarket before heading out of town.

In the supermarket Arjun got a few looks, and sat outside Kieran got approached by a couple of men. In common Ukrainian fashion, Arjun then was helped by a friendly member of staff, and Kieran got into a conversation with the two men who took a card and wished us both luck. Very nice people, but they all look dangerous.

That night we made it out to good woodland and discrete camping (the photo below is of the ditch we woke up in).

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