The first thing that struck me this morning when I woke up was how much colder it was, I guess what with it now being nearly mid autumn I should expect the mornings to be a little more on the chilly side.
However I was in, as most mornings good spirits knowing that I'd be in Kiev later that evening. The first café of the day turned out to have no food which I thought was a little strange what with it being a café. It turned out to be a good thing mind as a few kilometers down the road I stumbled across a chain restaurant offering all kinds of delicious nosh. I was almost spoiled for choice but in the end plumped for some rather tasty pancakes and fresh cream. I'm loving the food on offer these days.
The road itself to Kiev was pretty straightforward and bar a couple of run ins with some local dogs it was plain sailing or riding that should be.
My original plan was to arrive in the city around six but I'd made really good time and was there by two thirty. I had a bit of time to kill and found a café to have a coffee. It was also the chance to contact my host Natalie. I don't have a Ukrainian SIM card so via a rather crackly line on Skype I was able to inform her that I was now in the city and would be at her place within the next hour and a half.
I had however forgotten to factor in just how much more difficult and slower it is riding in cities. My first job was to cross the Dnipro river which runs through the heart of the city. I had Natalie's address on my GPS so it was just a simple case of following the directions. I don't have a mount for my GPS so using it often involves holding it in one hand while I ride. I'm usually pretty good at following directions but on this occasion I turned too early. The road across the bridge has three or four lanes and it's therefore not so easy to backtrack if you make a mistake which is what happened here and before I knew it I was riding back round up a loop and back onto the bridge and heading for the second time back over the bridge! Ten minutes later I was back going the other over the bridge for the third time!
Becoming familiar with the bridge
Kiev is known for being a city of hills and legend has it that the city stands on seven of them. I can certainly testify that this is true as I immediately found myself hauling the bike up a number of them. I don't mind the odd hill here and there but after a long days riding it's the last thing one really wants.
I didn't really get to take in much of the city as I was much more concentrated on simply getting to my destination and with grey clouds on the horizon I really wanted to get inside before the heavens opened.
I eventually arrived at Prospekt Svoboda (Freedom road much) with it taking much longer than the hour and a half I originally planned. Then came the difficult task of locating the actual building I needed. After much searching I eventually, more by luck than anything else stumbled across building number 32. I spotted a motorbike parked outside and as I tried to lift the waterproof cover to check for a UK number plate a voice from the balcony above said “you found us then”
Derek and Natalie both came down stairs to greet me and helped me up with all my bags. Soon myself and the bike found ourselves in the confines of yet another comfy apartment and to top things off I was presented in true British fashion with a cup of tea in no time at all.
My host and Derek's business partner Natalie outside here apartment
It was great but somewhat strange to see Derek once again, this is the third time we've met on the road. He is staying with Natalie at the moment before finishing the final leg of his epic motorbike journey back to the UK. I was also introduced to Natalie's daughter Olya and her recently acquired ferret by the name of Brian.
By now it was getting on and tired and hungry I was really grateful for the delicious meal of Spaghetti Bolognese expertly cooked up by Derek.
My plan is to stay in Kiev for 3 days and do some sightseeing as I've heard it's incredibly beautiful, my only hope is that the weather improves as for the first time in a long time I'm beginning to see rain. I've become so accustomed to seeing bright blue skies everyday that I guess I've taken the weather for granted slightly; heres praying for more of the good stuff.
That's all for now folks.