Our way to Odessa

I sit shivering on my motorcycle and curse our decisions. The thermometer shows two degrees, the wind threatens to blow me off the road again and again; at every coffee and warm-up stop we harvest pitying looks.

Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to drive north in the cold and rainy April instead of going to the warm south. Wolfgang’s idea to sail the Black Sea coast extensively and include Odessa as a highlight was too tempting, so we headed north.

In Tulcea in the north of Romania we book several nights in a hotel, we want to see pelicans in the Danube Delta. After we sat out 48 hours of continuous rain, it finally clears up, although (almost) only for the way to the boat. Mid April is not a good time for birdwatching, we did not see any pelicans, but we did see herons, cormorants, kingfishers. Besides, the rough, wintery Danube alone was worth the trip.

The journey continues via Moldavia to the Ukraine. We had already feared that outside the organized EU border crossings, communication, food and much more would become more difficult. This fear proves to be unfounded. More unknown and exciting in any case, not more difficult actually. Both Moldova and Ukraine have surprised us. The Moldovan border officials, when they absolutely had to find the 2nd place where the chassis number is attached to the motorcycle; the Ukrainians (about whom we had already heard horror stories) about their well organized process of border crossing (including the routing slip stamped at each station).

But our ignorance of the language(s) is a pity. Food orders or invitations to dance in Comrat also work via Google translator as long as we don’t know all Cyrillic letters yet. At the Ukrainian border, however, two old women approached us and we did not understand them at all. But they did not understand us either. “Germania” was probably the only term we could agree on. Many smiles and gestures later they give us bread – we are thrilled (fortunately we already know the Russian word for thank you) and decide to learn more vocabulary.

A realization of the last frontiers: the roads directly behind them are usually in poor condition.

Now we sit in sunny Odessa and look forward to two quiet weeks. But that is another story.

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