Having been stopped for so long yesterday, we weren’t close enough for the early entry we’d hoped for, and were close to spending another night in Ukraine when border patrol stopped us again not 15mins into walking. Luckily they received something over the radio and let us continue, and we spent the day walking, not getting within sight of the border until after midday.
We rather wastefully stopped at a garage immediately beforehand to buy biscuits and sit down for a bit, and then at about 2pm went to face the music.
The first man was friendly, spoke English and directed us to the passport booth. The man at the passport booth spoke a bit of English, asked if we had any more paperwork, and then after we’d explained our situation asked Arjun into an office just off the road. Arjun enjoyed having an awkward 15mins explaining the situation to a woman and man inside, then a laugh with them both about everything, soon filling out forms and being told we would unfortunately be fined 850 hryvnia each (approximately £85). In our case as we had no money on us other than US dollars, $100 each.
Staggered by their friendliness (we suspect the low fine was due to their understanding of our unique circumstances), Arjun came out smiling, and Kieran was in the office afterwards for no more than 20mins confirming the story and filling out more forms.
We left with everyone smiling and wishing us luck, wondering what fortune would befall us at the Russian border station.
We were asked to fill out a form by one man, who then sent us through to the actual border, where another man asked if we had any guns or drugs on the carts (didn’t ask to look), and then sent us to the passport booth. At the passport booth, a man checked our paperwork, asked if we had any guns or drugs (again, didn’t ask to look), and then waved us through enthusiastically “go on! go on!”, and we walked into Russia…
It took us about 5mins total, and that was mostly spent walking across. Incredible. Everyone was friendly, smiling and happy, and we managed the entire crossing on foot in less than two hours with no hassle or bother.
More than surprised (and relieved), we made it along the road out of sight and into camping just as it was getting dark to ring home, explain to our parents we were in Russia, and camp.