Friday morning dawned, and after a few things I got under-way. The weather was glorious, the bike was behaving fine as I suspect it had dried out nicely from being in the sun for 4 days, and all was good. On the way from Kiev 5 days previously I had removed the lining to my jacket and trousers since it was so hot, and all the vents were open. I even rode with the jacket zip half way down in order to get even more air.
Everything was going well. I decided to take a slightly different route back as I didn’t want to go on those really remote roads, just in case. So I found a dual carriageway and headed North West. It was a normal working day now, so the traffic had picked up a bit. You get a right mix of cars on the roads, from old Lada’s to new Land Cruisers and X5’s. I found the best thing to do was to find a new’ish car which was making progress, and just sit 100 yards behind him. This worked well most of the way up and I made good time, arriving into Kiev around 5pm and finding a McD’s and free wifi on the city outskirts.
The roads up to Kiev are ok, nothing great, bit get near Kiev and they are 8 lane motorways, very nice indeed!
The Hotel Ukraine was too expensive this time around, so I found Hotel Kantoor in the city centre and booked it out. Then I had the only road rage of the entire trip with some arse in his Daewoo hooting at me because I pushed in front of him, fair cop, it was half my fault but he proceeded to follow me at about 1 foot between us, flashing and hooting. After a minute of this I had had enough, being on a bike you feel quite vulnerable sometimes, so just dropped the bike down a gear and wove in and out of the 4 lane traffic into the city, not a hope he would be able to keep up and soon enough he had vanished. Some of the driving may be a little nuts in Ukraine, but you rarely hear any hooters going, they’re quite laid back I found.
I found my hotel which was a little more, erm, soviet like. The rooms were old fashioned and the staff militant, apart from the doorman who was about 60 and just kept chatting about motorbikes and the UK. What a nice bloke, even though we struggled for words we got our point across. After a quick shower I went and checked the bike over and went out to get some bottled water and snacks for the following day. The little corner shop I found had everything, so I grabbed 2 bottles of water (6.50 hyvna’s each) and then said “twix” to the lady which was also 6.50. So I expected about 19 hyrvna. But no, when she realised I wasn’t a local, the price magically shot up to 29. I couldn’t be bothered to quiz her, so just paid the money and left. It does annoy me though getting ripped off.
Fuel stations in Ukraine are fun. They’re all staffed by a nice man (or woman) who will put fuel in. 50% of the ones I came across will happily fill up for you, but the other half want you to specify, in hyvna, how much you want to put in. So I would have to guess most times at the litres and then multiply that by the cost per litre. Thankfully it’s about 10 hyrva per litre so it wasn’t that hard. it just always took a couple of mins to explain what I wanted. I really should learn more Russian.
They do have V-Power 100 octane in some places though so I spoiled my bike! I think it made up for some crap fuel too that had been through it.
All was well with the bike, so I went to bed knowing I was about 4 or 5 hours from the border tomorrow morning, I wasn’t looking forward to it…