Przemysl, Poland to Dobromyl, Ukraine

A church in a small town near Dobromyl
Note the pretty county behind it

Folks waiting to get into Poland from Ukraine
I hope I don't face this sort of line tomorrow!

One of my objectives on this trip was to ride in Ukraine. It has been a difficult country to for US folks to get into, requiring a visa and a local contact like Russia and Belarus. Now it is relatively easy, so tonight I'm in Ukraine. Tomorrow I'll probably go to Slovakia,

On highway 28, heading for Ukraine

This morning, I finished yesterdays report and then went out in search of breakfast. I didn't find any places serving breakfast at 8:30, so I bought half a liter of yogurt and two pastries for 5 Z from a mini market and took them back to my room . It was a good breakfast, better than many I've had that cost twice as much ;-}. Then I packed up and headed east.

There are two routes from Przemysl to the Ukraine: 28 and 885. I picked the big road route since I figured that way I'd be able to change my money at the border. If I had gone on 885 I would have reached where I am tonight in about 20 miles. Instead I took 60 miles, with 1740 feet of climbing to get here. I wasn't actually trying to get here, so I didn't take 885 ;-} If I had know what I know now about Dobromyl, I might have routed this way.

On my first try to ride out on 28, I got lost. Sheesh! I backtracked and found 28 again and had no problem riding to the border. At the border, cars and truck were backed up a long way, so I rode around them and the guard at the Polish side told me I needed to go trough the pedestrian border control. I rode back to where that started and walked my bike among a lot of people entering Ukraine on foot.

When I got to the Polish check, I had to wait about fifteen minutes. I also had to put up with some really pushy women breaking in line in front of me. The border control fellow wasn't friendly, but there was no problem other than the usual lookup delay. Then I walked to the Ukraine checkpoint. This time the wait was more like half an hour. It was awkward getting my bike through the checkpoint and I had to fill out a visa from in duplicate. If I had realized that this border crossing would be the most tedious one I've ever done, I might not have bothered. When I got into Ukraine, I saw that the line going back into Poland was much longer. In the no man's land between the border control station, I saw many, many people who were smuggling cigarettes into Poland. I bet at least half the folks crossing the border had packs of cigarettes taped all over their bodies ;-{}! They were quite open about removing them after they got past the Ukraine border control. That area was littered with tape and packaging material from the smuggling,

On M 11 in Ukraine

Once through the border, I changed my Zlotys to Ukrainian money and rode east on the main highway, M 11. I wasn' at all impressed, but I didn't want to go back through that border ;-}, so I rode on. I stopped at a fancy service station to check prices and buy some icecream. I noticed that most of the fuel customers were from Poland. Like cigarettes, gas is cheaper here than in Poland, so there are a lot of service stations near the border. None of then offered what I wanted - lunch - so I rode on.

I finally found a place that looked like it might serve food - remember we are dealing with Cyrillic alphabet as well as a Slavic language - but it turned out to be mostly a bar. There was a rugged looking camper/truck there that had a 'European Tour' graphic on its side and I got to visit with the Norwegian family that was taking a three month tour. They were headed for Istanbul via Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. Then they were going over to Bilbao before heading back north. Neat folks. They are in Lwow, the big town on M 10 and M 11, tonight. I could have been there to, but I decided I'd rather sample the Ukraine small towns and get away from the big road. Note that traffic on the big road was minimal - where did all those vehicles waiting at the border go? and the road itself wasn't too bad. Riding it was boring, even though the country it ran through was getting prettier as I went east.

The small road heading south from Mostyska

After lunch at a pizza place in Mostyska, I went south on a small road that runs to Sambir. The road has no number and, with Cyrillic signs, I had to ask someone how to find the road. The pavement started out really bad - Romanian bad - but got better. The riding was much more interesting than on M 11 because there were many more people and animals along this road. Most of the traffic on the road was trucks and buses, but there were horse drawn wagons and herds of cattle using the road as well. People tended to be on foot or, less common, on bicycle. In some ways, it felt a lot like riding in Romania, but the people interactions were quite different. Ukraine folks act pretty much like Polish folk when they see you. They are open to interaction, but not pushy. Romanians tend to stare at you with totally neutral expressions on their faces.

It was hot and hilly riding
The folks in that wagon have gotten out to lighten the load on the horse

Cattle in the road were common
There were even cattle in the main road

There were many churches along the road, both Roman and Orthodox

I rode south toward Sambir through a series of small towns. These towns are spread out along the road and have no side roads. There are a few roads running east-west, but so few that I could count them on one hand. About 20 miles south of Mostyska, there is a road running east to Chyriw and then to the Polish border. It took me more than two hours to cover that 20 miles because of hills and road conditions. I even had to walk along side the road for about half a km because that section of the road was being resurfaced using large gravel, oil, and an earth mover. I stopped for a break after that and contemplated the wisdom of riding small roads in Ukraine ;-}!

Waiting on a train just before I turned west

When I turned west, I had headwinds as well as hills to deal with, so my riding got even slower. The road also got worse with large sections of bad pavement and potholes. There was little traffic, but sometimes it looked like drivers were drunk as they swerved all over, or even off, the road avoiding the worst pot holes. It was better being on a bike since I could often navigate between the pot holes.

Workers rebuilding a, very old, Orthodox Church

The right road

The wrong road

I rode east, through several towns, but then the road was out in the country. It was also heading too much to the north. Somewhere, I missed a turn! That was easy to do since there were no road signs and intersections tended to have very bad pavement, so I was focused on the pavement, and might miss the intersection. I rode for about 15 miles, hoping that I was on the right road, but knowing I wasn't. Finally, I came to a small town. I found a store and went in. The folks there were very nice and, after a while, we established that I was in Nowe Misto, a small town about 7 km from Dobromyl and that there was motel in Dobromyl. I bought some ice cream and orange drink at the store and, refreshed, rode to Dobromyl.

A small railroad station on the way to Dobromyl

I found the motel - new and very nice - and, after some initial confusion - these folks are new at running this place - checked in, cleaned up and had a very nice dinner. Now I'm ready for breakfast, but I'm not sure breakfast is ready for me. - the restaurant doesn't open till 11 and, although I was promised breakfast at 8, I'm not at all sure that is going to happen.

It happened at 9, took 25 minutes to get an omelette, and I was charged - it was supposed to be included with the room - 6 UA. It was still a bargain and, other than getting up too early for a breakfast that was late, it was a good night in Ukraine. The too early part was partly my fault. I forgot about the time zone change and asked for breakfast at 8, then, in the middle of the night, remembered that my 8 was their 7 ;-{

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