2nd to 5th August 2013
As we have said before there is just no easy, or logical way to drive around Europe, it is so big and round and there is so much to see that you can’t help but loop back on yourself several times.
We hit the road from Lithuania to Poland on our way back South towards the Ukraine.
We had weddings planned already in The Ukraine, Romania, Austria and Switzerland and then in Italy and even into eastern Europe. We still had so much ground and so many countries to cover and we had already been in Europe for 2 months.
So much to do, so many miles to cover and so little time!
When we could drive no more we stopped for the night in the middle-east of Poland in a graveyard car park. It was so dark and peaceful (the key to wild camping successfully is finding somewhere no-one else wants to be) and we slept so soundly until we were woken very early in the morning by a very angry priest.
He was shouting and pointing at Alex as he opened the door to see what was going on. Alex didn’t know what to say or understand a word he was shouting but once the Priest had finished ranting we worked out he was angry because we had stood our rubbish bag outside of the van door as it was too dark the previous night to go searching for a bin.
We looked around at the state of the car park and there was rubbish everywhere. Bags of litter, dead flowers, faded silk blooms and smashed lanterns littered the floor all around us, so we could see why he was angry. We apologised and, as intended, took our rubbish to the bins and he strutted off towards his Church.
As I wandered back to Peggy (in my Pyjamas) I noticed a small cubicle set back from the carpark in the trees. I guessed it must be a toilet, which is ALWAYS a bonus when wild camping, so I went to have a look and this is what I found!
Content Warning : This video contains scenes of a disgusting nature and is not suitable for viewing when eating!
As we packed Peggy up and drove away we could hear the congregation in the tiny church singing. We couldn’t help but wonder what good singing would be doing when they allowed litter and filth like that to continue all around their place of worship!
The horrific toilet escapade had started the day as it meant to go on and as we sailed along on route to The Ukraine, Peggy’s support bar completely snapped. It is not the first time this has happened, you may remember it happening in Belize, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and several other places.
Its not too serious but it makes such an awful racket as we drive that we stopped to get it fixed rather than carry on creating headaches. As the mechanic raised Peggy and me into the air on the vehicle lift Alex got chatting to the gentleman that was fixing her. In broken English he told Alex how he used to race The Dakar Rally and Alex told him about our adventures in Peggy, our van all the way from Canada.
Once Peggy was all fixed and ready to go Alex tried to pay the bill and our racecar driver refused to take our money. He was so thrilled with our adventure and that we were visiting his small town and even gave us a map and directions to lots of places in the area to visit.
Again we were so touched by the generosity of complete strangers that we left with our hearts filled and looking forward to be able to make gestures like these in our future.
We completed our trek to Lublin, Poland and wandered the streets of the brightly coloured, pretty town, a stark opposite to our next visit, the concentration camp museum in Majdanek. We don’t visit many tourist ‘attractions’ on our trip but the war history is so prolific in Poland that it would be unjust not to visit whilst there.
I visited Auschwitz 13 years ago and it has never left my mind. I think everyone should visit a concentration camp/museum to ensure that any kind of mass genocide never occurs again.
Worn out after our emotionally charged day we settled in a carpark by a lake for the night, the boy racers kept Alex awake most of the night but I slept pretty soundly knowing that we would be arriving in the Ukraine the very next day.
We had been planning a Kosack wedding there and found a cafe with wifi to get in touch with Michael at AdamantStudio and to find out where abouts in the Ukraine he was based. Alex tends to overlook these factors when planning and it turned out that Michael was another 1200km away and that we would never make it in time!
Michael was very calm about the whole thing, told us it wasn’t a problem and suggested we fly there in the spring! We agreed that it would make more sense for us to fly in and visit another time and thanked him for his understanding. I royally rollocked Alex and we decided that as we were so close to the border we should definitely pop in and visit the nearest town in The Ukraine, L’viv.
We got to the border and after the lack of European border control we were not prepared for the 3 hour ordeal of interviews and vehicle checks that getting into the Ukraine entailed. This meant that we arrived in the pitch dark night.
We found yet ANOTHER car park to spend the night in and waited for daylight to venture further into the great unknown!
We spent the day getting lost in L’viv, soaking up the sights of the city, testing Peggy’s new support bar on the old cobbled roads and trying to find an elusive camping site as we were desperate for a shower. We drove up and down and up and down the street where the camping place was supposed to be but could we find it?!
There was just one place that it could be but it was behind a HUGE wooden gates, but after driving around aimlessly for hours on end we bit the bullet and pulled up at the gate, which swung open and a man waved us in. We drove into what appeared to be the set of the Game of Thrones (GOT)!
We asked about camping and realised quite quickly that although the name CAMP was in the title it was definitely not a campsite. We enquired about the room rate as we had been on the road without a shower or a bathroom for days on end. It was $30 a night so we checked in and called it a treat.
We found our room in a wooden building decorated with sconces lighting up dark corners, animal skin throws and carved wooden furniture, it was so surreal but we settled in fast, ran a bath, got clean for the firs time in days and collapsed onto the bed.
Deciding what to do with our evening of luxury we planned to eat in the restaurant but that was pretty GOT too, serving eel and selecting live fish from a tank to eat which really isn’t our thing, so we cooked in Peggy instead. As we prepared our food we heard some incredibly loud disco music start in the restaurant and as the night fell we saw the lights flashing along to the beat.
We went to explore and found a wedding party in full swing!
Do we follow weddings do you think or do they follow us?