After crossing the ukrainian border, it was like driving through an unseen curtain!! Feeling this “negative aura”, I was just not prepared for that! At least Jakob was cheerful the whole time.
Taking a short-cut drive from Cop via Dobrin to Mukaceve wasn´t a good idea either – poor roads and no roadsigns, we didn´t knew for about 50 km, if this is the right direction or not. Seeing those people driving with their horse-drawn carriages and their very poor lifestyle wasn´t something I expected from a land who wants to belong to the EU in a couple of years and also is the co-host (with poland) for the european soccer championship 2012! After getting the right direction onto our next destination L´viv, we travelled through the Schidny Carpathians for about 140 km.
Nice countryside, good roads – my mood was getting better and better. After a heavy rainstorm from Stryj on, we arrived at the suburbs of L´viv in the afternoon and got right into our second police control, since we´ve been in UA. The cop was nice but the roads got miserable and a change to the worse followed again.
After being controlled for third time near Zboriv, I have had my share of the day! Sitting in the police car out of nowhere and leaving Jakob by himself again, I payed them cops 5o € under the table for not being hassled anymore. The offence was: driving 300 mtr. on the left side on a two-lane highway while no traffic was on the right side! O.K.! After a 3 h´s drive (for 130 km!), we arrived at the suburbs of Ternopil´. It got dark already and I didn´t know where to turn to, because of the horrible roads I didn´t wanted to drive by night and I also didn´t wanted to stay over night somewhere out on the pampas. Jakob and I decided to find a petrol station where we could stay for the night. We also decided to turn around the next morning and travel back home for good. Because we had a deadline visa for Russia, we knew we wouldn´t make it in time to Wolgograd. After two days driving about 1400 km, the decision was hard, but having the same distance still to go on those poor roads, there was no realistic chance to make it.
After finding a place to stay for the night (which is a story for itself in Part III), I remembered myself why I was doing this?! Yes, my uncle Martin died at the battle of encirclement during world war II close to Stalingrad (today Wolgograd), but I still don´t know how they made it so far and even for what reasons? Imagine if you are not even 22 years old, being away from your family for a long time (my father has been 15 years old this time) and being away about 3000 km in an foreign country, which is still strange (for me) these days? How must they have felt? how they have survived every day? not knowing if they would survive or not? for a war that was the idea of an dictator? These things I tried to puzzle out – but it should go worse the following night! End Part II