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Ride Report: Moldova

Well, it wasn’t anything that prevented us from continuing. I did worry the first day, that the pannier would come off, but it didn’t. It held through potholes, gravel, and dirt for the rest of the trip. It is always a good idea to carry extra zip ties and a few straps.

We were heading further east to cross the border with Moldova on the north side, directly from Ukraine. But first, we had to visit a few places along the way. In addition, we didn’t really expect to reach Moldova before the following day.

We rode a little while, and at some point – being the front rider – I got stuck behind a car that I felt was going far too slow. So I started to pass him. In the middle of it, the speed limit went down to 3o km/h and all of the sudden: a police checkpoint.

Now, this is a check point, and they don’t have the equipment to actually measure your speed. But that doesn’t prevent the official bandits to try get money from you. Luckily Vova knows his way around, so we ended up just showing our documents and not paying anything.

On our way to the Upside Down house, we quickly stopped by the “Stairway to Heaven”. It is wooden stairs going up a couple of meters and just ending, not going anywhere. There is a new view from the top of it, though.

It was a short visit, and just a few kilometres later, the arrived at the Upside-down House, which is – as the name implies, a little house with the furniture stuck to the roof. It was fun. Including in the entrance is a visit to a “3d museum” where pictures are painted and you are supposed to pose in front of it, so it appear as if you are part of it.

We had a quick cup of coffee before we continued. It was getting close to lunch time, and we were getting hungry. Vova knew a place that he recommended we’d go to. So we did.

It was an interesting place, a lot of woodwork and great service. Our server was a young girl, who by herself has been studying English in order to be able to go to medical school. She wanted to become a medical doctor. We were all very impressed with her English skills. Not having English as first language, I know very well how hard it can be to articulate when not having the vocabulary to really express myself without sounding retarded.

Having a great breakfast slash lunch, we carried on. The rest of the day was just scenery out the Ukrainian Carpathian heading east.

A quick photo next to a Taras Schevchenko statue outside Dzhuriv

We were heading towards a town called Chernivetska, which was supposed to have a very nice historical centre. But once we got there, we were so warm, the traffic terrible, so we ended up just finding the closest hotel with available accommodation. It was about 10 kilometres south of Chernivetska.

Hotel in the middle of nowhere 10 km south of Chernivetska

It was an okay hotel, nothing fancy, but clean and comfortable. Cold beer. That is important after a warm day’s ride.

Breakfast next morning was a little problematic for me, as shortly after I had my breakfast, I felt bloated and a bit under the weather. The others, having had the same as I, had no problems. It went away after a couple of hours, so my immediate conclusion that there had been something in the food, appeared to be wrong. I was relieved. I did not want to get food poisoning.

We were heading towards a nice historic castle at a town called Khotyn. I have been there a few times before, but Michael and Thonny hadn’t so I figured it would be worth a stop.

Khotyn Castle, Khotyn

About 30 kilometres further north, you’ll find Kamyanets Podilskyi. I had been there back in 2013, and 2016, and is definitely worth a visit, particularly if you want to stay the night. We didn’t go there this time, as we wanted to meet with Denis across the border, in Moldova later in the day.

Just before the border, Vova recommended this viewpoint he once went to. It was a very nice point, a little gravel and dirt road to get there, but it was quite easy.

Viewpoint looking over the Dnister River

On our way back, my front wheel got stuck in a rut that I didn’t see as it was covered with grass, so I lost balance and fell. On initial inspection, nothing much had happened, just a fog light bent, that could easily by straightened. But as it turned out when I got back home, the whole rack had been pushed inwards (impact on the left pannier) and pushed the rack on the right side outwards as well. So looking at the bike from behind the line along the top of the panniers were not horizontal. I didn’t see that on the trip as the right pannier had already been bent from the impact the day before.

When I got home, it was something I could fix by brute force pushing and pulling, so no costly repairs. The pannier itself got bent as well, but that was also fixed with a little hammering, pushing and shoving.

A rut I covered in grass, that I didn’t see, caught my front wheel and I fell.

I don’t have any photos nor video from the fall itself, but I was not going very fast and I was surprised how much damage done. After all, it was a relatively soft surface.

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