Header image

Ernst's Velotouren

Bicycle tour 2008 - 2013
First stage Switzerland - Thailand
Part 2: From Budapest to the peninsula Crimea, Mai 2008
After 14 days riding bicycle without any break I decided to take a one day rest in the small city of Hatvan, roughly 50km east of Budapest.
Picture: A day rest in a guest house in Hatvan
From Hatvan I continued trough the plain of the Great Hungarian Puszta, a vast marshland which today is used for agricultural purpose.
Picture: Original marshland of the Puszta in the Hortobágy national park
Picture: Rest on a shady place shortly before the ukrainan border.
The eastern border of the European Community is also an economical border. Within only a few kilometers the economical situation of the people changes dramatically. First impressions of the Ukraine reveal a run down country with a big difference between the poor and the rich. Just a few enjoy richness, most of the people have to make their living with a small piece of land and some animals.
Picture: Signpost to Khust (36km) and Rakhiv (137km). It is quiet easy to decode the russian letters with the help of a comparison table. But without being able to read those letters it is quiet difficult to find guest houses or specific shops. Communication with locals is limited to gestures - unless I would speak Russian.
The roads led me further through the oblast (= province) Transcarpathia to Rakhiv where the official geographical center of Europe is said to be (At least a small monument from the year 1887 confirms this). After the days riding through the hungarian plains I enjoyed being in the Carpathian Mountains which remembered me of my home.
Picture: Shortly before Rakhiv at the river Theiss
To get further into the Ukraine I had to cross the Carpathian Mountains where I travelled through a huge national park which contains the biggest copper beech forest in Europe. In the afternoons many times heavy rains poured over the landscape and gave life to beautiful little brooks in the forest.
Picture: Little brook in the copper beech forest of the Carpathians
Picture: Bazar in Yasima, Carpathians
In every bigger village of the Ukraine stands a patriotic war and worker monument from the old Soviet times. But the admired war heroes are dead since long time and the communist worker heroes are unemployed since the breakdown of the Soviet Union.
Picture: War monument (with a Kalashnikov) in Yaremcha, Carpathians
Almost every day I ride past some huge industrial ruins from the old Soviet times. On my whole way through the Ukraine I have seen only a few working factories.
Picture: Industrial parks from the Soviet times are today nothing else but run-down ruins
My way led me further to the city of Czernowitz and along the moldavian border towards the city of Odessa at the Black Sea. In the hilly landsacpe every day I had to climb a total of more than 1000 meters.
Bild: Up and down and up and down in the hilly landscape of the Ukraine
Bild: The sleep under this cherry tree was well-deserved (close to the city of Sokyriany at the border to Moldavia). The place would have been really heavenly if this flight of filthy birds would not have finished its morning toilet in the tree over the tent!
Bild: A look back to the valley of the river Dnister. Left side of the river is Moldavia, right side the Ukraine. The city of Mohyliv-Podilsky can be seen in the background.
Still in most of the cities and villages of the Ukraine Lenin monuments can be seen. Vladimir Iljitsch Uljanow, called Lenin, was the leader of the russian October-revolution from 1917. During the following 7 years he founded the first communist country and used the so-called "red terror" to implement his ideology. Members of the political opposition and people of the so-called "Bourgeoisie" (the upper class) were shot dead on the spot or "isolated" in concentration camps. Lenins politics, led by blind ideology and violence, demanded millions of victims.
Picture: "Comrade" Lenin. His barbaric politics demanded millions of victims.
The quality of the Ukrainian highways is very often so bad that it it is better to drive besides the road. Even cars and trucks prefer to drive certain stretches through the meadows.
Picture: Ukrainian highway (bad cobblestone pavement with big potholes)
Picture: Everything clear where the road leads to? Only 73km are left to Mykolaiv and the Black Sea.
After a bit more than 2700km I have reached Mykolaiv at the Black Sea and will ride in the next days further to the peninsula Crimea where I plan to rest at a nice beach for a few days. In the meanwhlie my body has developed the requiered fitness to begin the next big stage of the tour: the vast and endless plains and deserts in Kazakhstan.
Picture: A look out of the window of the hotel room. Downstairs is a Pizzeria what helps a lot to recover the weeks in the Ukrainian Province, which I crossed due to missing restaurants (and I was too lazy to cook) only with the help of plain bread, cheese, bananas and snicker bars.
Next page / Part 3: Peninsula Crimea