Day23: Kolomyia to about 25 km north of the Romanian border, UA: A nice riding day in Ukraine

I had a really good last full day of bicycling in Ukraine. After a slow start - I couldn't get breakfast till about 8:30 - nothing was open - so I worked on finishing - placing the pictures in the text - my last three web pages. Breakfast was good and rather fun since we - the waitress and I - had to guess what was what. We did well and I got two eggs sunny side up with some small pieces of ham, some good bread, and good coffee for about 3 E. If I just knew how to say 'do it again' in Ukranian, I would have had a second round.

I didn't get out of the hotel till nearly 10 AM and I rode till about 6:30 PM. I checked my watch at the first place I looked at for camping and decided to ride for another half hour. After I set up camp tonight, I can't find my watch so it may well be back at that first possible site. I have an alarm clock and my GPS will show me the tine and the date, so the main loss will be my pill alarm reminder. Only once recently had it actually reminded me to take my, twice daily, heart medicine. Usually I've taken the medicine before the alarm goes off. On tour, I take a pill just before I start my riding day and a second pill before I get ready to sleep. Since I sleep about ten hours, that spaces the pills pretty well.

N-10 this morning

Views from N-10 looking south

This is a good Ukranian highway

The road out of Kolomyia was not fun, but once N-10 really got started it was good, by Ukrainian standards, for most of the day. N-10 is replaced by city streets in the towns it goes through and, as in Kolomyia, the quality is usually a lot lower in towns. One town today, Khlibysbyn, has such bad streets that I wondered if my bike and I were going to make it through there in one piece. It also had very heavy traffic. I had to take a break when I finally got through that town to recover from the trip. Ugh! Most towns were OK and most of the riding between towns was enjoyable. It was a pretty day with light winds, lots of sunshine and generally decent riding conditions. Every one I interacted with was nice and, even with no common language, I was able to get people to help me meet my needs during the day.

Euro2012 info at the small cafe where I ate lunch

The valley right after I left the small cafe where I ate lunch
Climbs like that aren't good for the digestion!

I first went out this morning at 8 AM since that was when the restaurant was supposed to open, It actually sort of started opening about 8:10. Since I couldn't get breakfast, I joined the general flow of people towards the center of town. It was a really varied group of Ukrainians all about their morning business.All of us were on foot and, mostly, walking on streets that were closed to vehicles. There was one intersection devoted to people selling flowers and lots of people were buying them. There were other places where small quantities of local produce were being sold. Stores were just beginning to open and people were using the Bankomat to get money. It was a very pleasant environment to be in and great people watching.

Another stork family
I didn't see them at first
I heard their beak clacking and looked back
to see mom and dad hitting their beaks together

Stork family
Doesn't junior look just like dad?

The atmosphere in the cities I passed through later in the day varied, but it was always very alive with lots of street markets and people everywhere. It reminded me a bit of Turkey. Speaking of Turkey, I was surprised to find that one of the more common kinds of businesses in Ukraine were travel agencies. Ukraine's economy, after collapsing in the 90s, has been doing very well - over 7% a year growth for a number of years - and people are going on holidays, just like they do in other, wealthier, European nations.

Nice riding

This situation is potentially
dangerous for me since cars
will pass into me

My routing today couldn't have been simpler: get on N-10 and stay there for about 65 km, then get on E85 and ride it into Chernivtsi. That worked fine for 65 km, then it got a bit strange as my GPS got confused. I did end up in Chernivtsi, but then I had to make my way across a river valley and through a big city. It was a pain cranking up into the city, but then it seemed easy just to go downhill to get across another river. That didn't work out. I ended up having to climb back up - a good bit of 10% up ;-{ - and then ride for 6 km across the city to get back on E85. My GPS routed me on some truly horrible cobblestone, but I finally to a major street that led to E85. Now my problem was finding a place to eat and get water before I headed out of town. That turned out to be more difficult than I expected.

Steep climb that I shouldn't have had to do

Leaving Chernivtsi

When I finally found a place with restaurants, they were all located on the second floor of buildings. There was no way I could safely leave my bike to eat. Finally, I found a very small pizza place that had its counter and its oven on the first floor. Its owner, pizza maker, dishwasher, etc was a very nice guy who had some English. I had a large veggie pizza and a beer and he filled my water bottles for me. Life was good again.

Looking back at Chernivtsi

Telephoto looking back at Chernivtsi from E85

Climb to the second ridge
I camped near the top of that climb

The road, E85, climbed over those three ranges of hills I have been seeing in the south as I rode east. I camped near the top of the second ridge. When I stopped, in the woods, it was still a bit warm in the tent. That lasted till after my bedtime, but cooled down nicely before morning. Today was much warmer that the last week in Ukraine.

My tent and bike are in the middle of this image