Day Seven- Moldovan Wine

Had a lie in today to make up for the fact that I’d had very little sleep whilst staying with my grandad. Despite the hard floors didn’t sleep too badly, apart from rolling over every few hours to stop the pins and needles running through my arms and legs. When I finally ventured out of bed, the hostel owner got me out some bread so I could make myself breakfast despite me missing breakfast time by a good few hours. Much appreciated considering I hadn’t ate since 3pm the day before when I got on the train.

  When I finished my breakfast the owner told me that a bed was now available for tonight if I wanted it, I snatched at the opportunity, I’ve been travelling through cities way too fast to be experiencing them fully.

The hostel here has a very social aspect to it, and everyone seemed to be socialising with everyone despite the many language barriers, we went to the local supermarket bought some nice Moldovan wine and brought it back to the hostel for everyone to enjoy, for £2 a bottle you can’t complain. After indulging through one bottle we were told about a nearby lake which lay in a park so we arranged to go that to cool off from the heat, not before finishing a second bottle of wine of course. Beginning to think the bloke from Manchester I met on the train may be a bad influence.

   At around 4pm we finally made it out of the hostel, when you travel around on your own for a while you forget how long people spend thinking about doing stuff before they actually do anything. We took the short 1km walk to the park and down about 100 steps to the lake, it was worth it, the lake was stunning.

  There was a small beach by the side of the lake, which I used to go for a swim, only quite realising just how much the two bottles of wine had gone to my head when I reached the farthest point of my swim and realised I’d have to swim back. Everyone else backed out on the swim, suppose some people are much more sensible, I didn’t care too much it was way too hot to be sat around all day.

  After the swim we walked back ascending the stairs back to the hostel, walks such as this are starting to make me miss the longboard aspect of the trip. Being able to cover distance much faster is something you take for granted. Looking forward to getting to Bucharest to go to the skate shop there. 

When we arrived back at the hostel we were greeted by more wine of which we gladly partook. I also gained a new friend, in a puppy from the house next door, which must’ve barely been 8 weeks old, she got herself cornered by the local cockerel (that wouldn’t shut the fuck up), I picked her up and helped her out and  from then on she was quite happy to play with me whilst we all sat outside drinking wine.


    In the evening myself, an American, a Canadian and my friend from the train all decided that we would go to a steakhouse in the centre of town as a treat. For around £10 this was by far my most expensive meal of the trip so far. However, it was 700g of steak with sides, salad and soup for starte,r complemented with more wine and beer ofcourse, there’s a bit of a theme to today. As can be seen from my selfie out the taxi window on the way back to the hostel. 


  On return to the hostel I began to sober up and tire, we sat around chilling and talking till about 1am before I decided enough was enough and went to bed, all in all a good day with great company. 

Day Six – Another night on the floor

Up early again this morning to go into Odessa again, chose the French shower option again today. Was hoping to get to explore Odessa more this time. Iryna went off to church, they offered to take me, I politely declined. Didn’t have the heart to tell them I’d actually rather drag my balls through hot coals than sit through a church service, never mind a service in Russian. Besides, if I get told off for swearing one more time I’m probably gonna explode. 

  The drive into town felt like I was risking life and limb, Ukrainian roads are dangerous enough without Grandad and Iryna bickering like 5 year olds over the sat nav. 

  We then went to look for a dentist to fix Grandads dentures, you know the day’s going well when you’re looking forward to sitting on a train for 5 hours. 

  Iryna spoke for me when I booked the ticket into Moldova yesterday, so I didn’t have a clue where in Moldova I was actually going. The ticket was written in Russian, I would’ve asked her what it said but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. 

  After Iryna got back from the church she told us a story from her friend who said that she was taken up to heaven by God for a moment through the service, and everything was all happy clappy and wonderful. Guess I’m not the only one who sleeps through church services then. 

  We then went for a meal before I had to get on the train at a small restaurant in Odessa, tenner for four meals, might not be as insanely in debt as I thought by the end of this trip.

  Got onto the train which turned out to be going to Chisinau, I suspected it would be going there as on google maps it seemed to be the only thing in Moldova. Spoke to an American couple on the train, started great until it became them just talking at me and having no hope of them ever being quiet again. Best of all he defended US gun laws so common sense isn’t particularly working there either. Had an interesting analogy of Putin putting hot pokers up Obama’s  ass, this is gonna be a long train ride. I got the last laugh though, gave them a link to this blog. I arrived rather late and due to lack of internet I had no hostel booked so I hoped I could find a night train to pretty much anywhere in Romania possible. 

When I arrived in Chisinau there was no train to Bucharest till tomorrow. However I met a guy from Manchester on the train into Chisinau, nice bloke, told me about a nice hostel he was staying at, so I got a taxi with him there. There were no beds left so I ended up sleeping on the floor, wasn’t complaining, just happy to have a place to stay.

Day Five – Furniture Shopping?

Was out late last night due to going for a walk to the beach then getting majorly lost on the way back. It wasn’t student night as I’d hoped. However I enjoyed getting lost cause it meant I got to see a lot of the city, there was very little signs of life except the occasional Kebab shop. Crawled back into the hostel at about 3 am and was out like a light.

 6:30am woke up by the hostel owner demanding I paid him despite him saying the night before to pay when I checked out. His English wasn’t great so he didn’t seem to understand get fucked. He then proceeded to try to rip me off, he seemed to understand more this time, I went back to sleep.

7:30am I think it’s fair to say grandad and Iryna’s happy to see you hello wasn’t met with equal emotion, I hate mornings.

 After this me Grandad and Iryna went to the train station to get me a ticket to Chisinau for tomorrow, can only stay with them for one day unfortunately as I’m already a day and a half behind. Although I’m sure grandad must have some great plans for the day if he’s calling this early.

 The next activity for the day was furniture shopping… I came on holiday for this. So off we went to a small furniture market somewhere in the outskirts of Odessa.    After what seemed like an age they came to a decision of what cupboards they wanted. Whole time I’m wishing I’d simply forgot to get off the train and woke up in Bucharest. However life goes on and we went back to granddad’s house via a small market to buy some worms for fishing. Enjoyed this little stop as it gave me time to fuss the stray dogs that were waiting for the fish market’s scraps. Also the hour journey allowed me to catch up on some much needed sleep, or so I thought, rookie error forgetting about the giant potholes that make up the Ukrainian roads, woke to the feeling of my head nutting the window. Beginning to see a pattern here of these potholes causing me pain. 


 Once we got to my Grandads house, which is still in a bit of a state of disrepair, he showed me round. He showed me the outside toilet (hole in the ground) and to the shower, of which I was told ‘it’s okay you can have a shower at my place’, only difference being my shower at the hostel wasn’t a water butt attached to a garden sprinkler. Cheers grandad.


 

  Funnily enough I skipped the shower. Then we were onto some jobs because I promised him I’d help him with his house, so I ended up climbing his tree to cut branches down. Most fun I’d had all day.

  As the day went on grandad decided that as I was only staying for one day, we should go and have some fun.  So we went down to the estuary near his house for a swim, great laugh despite the cold. Then he showed me how to fish in the river.

  Spectacular scenery and 12 fish later we came back for a woodfire BBQ and I’m happy to say they saved the fish for the next day, they didn’t look very appetising. Was a lovely evening and just showed me that despite the floors of his past he’all always be my grandad. Cheers for a great evening. 

Day Four – Broken Wheels and Long Train Rides

  Missed the 6am train this morning due to a taxi I booked not showing up, suppose I can’t complain it took me nearly half an hour to book it, sign language doesn’t work very well over the phone. 
  So I went out early this morning on my board to take advantage of the quieter roads which was all fun till I hit a pothole and was sent completely arse over tit, but still nothing more than grazes and damaged pride. At least I thought, till I looked at my board and realised there was definitely something missing. 

I guess after a few years of wear and tear the urethane gets quite brittle, completely snapped to the core though guess I must’ve ate shit harder than I thought. 

  Most of the remainder of my time in Kiev was spent searching for a skate shop in order to replace the wheel, however this was all in vain because the only skate shop I found appeared to be of the poser ‘stussy’ kind, with about 4 complete boards in the whole place. I was a tad disappointed to say the least. Although I did expect that the skate scene wouldn’t be incredibly popular out here. 

  I went back to the hostel checked out and started the trek to the station. I call it a trek despite being merely 2km, I was now carrying everything, including a 3 wheeled longboard so it seemed a lot further than it actually was. 

  On the subject of leaving Kiev I’d like to say thank you to Anton and Marianna for helping me get my phone fixed so quickly.

  Despite the mishaps of the day the train itself was a reasonably pleasant 7 hour ride through the Ukrainian countryside, with wifi working the whole trip. I got into Odessa at about 11:30pm with an extra night in a hostel booked due to Granddads ‘it’s too dark to come pick you up’ excuse. Probably would’ve appreciated a more honest ‘can’t be arsed’. However every cloud has a silver lining and this allows me to see what Odessa has to offer on a Thursday night. Please let it be student night.

Day Two – Putin Toilet Paper

Day two: Up early this morning despite getting in so late due to the shear heat. Another thing I hadn’t planned for. Anyway ‘seize the day’ and all that shite had me motivated, so I unpacked most of my stuff into my locker and went out for a few miles of longboard sightseeing.

  My first and favourite sight of the day has to be Putin bog roll found in the markets which lie in the metro under the roads.


 

 Further riding and google maps led me to the Rodina Mat Statue, usually at this point I’d go to google and write some bullshit acting as if I knew everything about it. However Ill keep this honest, all the signs were in russian so I basically just went, took some photos and enjoyed the fact that the surrounding park had very smooth paths which made weaving in and out of pedestrians as fast as you can all the more fun. There were however some stunning views from the statue overlooking Kiev. 


  After a few miles of battling uphill longboarding, combined with the summer sun, I can honestly say I was knackered so I found a bar with free wifi and refuelled for the trip back. Home comforts of arguing with flatmates about who’s gonna ring the landlord via Facebook make the trip all the more worth it, I now have the best excuse.

  On my way back to the hostel I found Kiev’s equivalent of Big Ben (a clock on a hill). I would’ve gone down to read what it was about, however I assumed that it would follow suit and be written in Russian and leaving my belt at the hostel made this a race back to the hostel before I showed Kiev my arse.

  Also discovered an ‘international marriage agency’ assume that’s basically where you can buy a wife, until they get citizenship of course.

  In the evening I met up with Anton and Marianna and they took me to a park where we rented electric bike/scooter things. Great fun, small tip, don’t attempt snapchat whilst riding, potholes and no suspension don’t go well together. RIP old iPhone screen.

Day One – Winging It through Europe

Day One: Sat on the train apprehensive for the trip ahead. Vague plans in mind of where I want to go with simply a flight to Ukraine booked, an interrail pass and a longboard to make my way home.   This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long while now. I don’t enjoy plans and find that they ruin the real adventure of trips such as this, so here I am, putting the “failing to plan is planning to fail” mantra to the test. Reminds me of times spent at Scouts as a child willing the leaders to spend less time condescending and more time actually doing the activities. Suppose that’s what happens when you have your bollocks tied by health and safety. 

        Currently on the flight perplexed by Russian pronunciations, coming in at 00:40 I’ve got a taxi booked to take me to my hostel which more than likely I will be unable to check in to. Beds are overrated anyway.