Organic vegetable salads and beehives

Day 11 – Friday 5th of July – Kiev to Rus’ka Lozova (517km)

Today was a quiet and pleasant day. I had a lot less trouble than I expected to get out of Kiev, as the traffic was not bad and I did not have to cross the center again. The only slight problem to report is that I have lost one of the Touratech straps that attach the rack pack to the top of the spare tires, probably when I had already dropped my stuff at Sofia’s apartment and her friend lead me to his car park. Well, I have spare ones, so no big deal.

The road was quite passable and despite being a rather long distance, it felt very short, the only problem was the heat. I had removed the waterproof layers and opened all ventilation on the suit, but it was still hot. The water on my plastic bottles was undrinkable, and when I stopped for petrol I bought cold water and poured it into the bottles, but in an hour it was hot again, despite getting air.

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I made it to the small town near Kharkhov were I was staying by six in the afternoon and called my host, who was still at work. He got there in half an hour, while I took the chance to sit down at the church’s entrance and enjoy a bit of reading for the first time in the journey.

Denys arrived and lead me to his house, which was up a narrow dirt track in the village, a bit challenging after a long day’s ride and with the bike fully loaded, but I thought it was good off-road practice. He let me ride the bike into his garden and I had time to clean and grease the chain and check the oil leak – which had not got worse – while he prepared a salad from the vegetables he grew in his enormous back garden.

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He also had three beehives where he was producing honey. He was a really nice guy, and after dinner he took me for walk in the forest around the village and told me about the plants and animals that live there.

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Back in the house, he showed me some pictures of his holidays in the Altai mountains, in Russia. I will ride through that region before crossing the border into Mongolia, but unfortunately will not have time to visit it properly, and it is a real shame, as the pictures showed a place of the most outstanding natural beauty. We talked about it in Spanish, which felt a bit strange after almost two weeks of using only English everywhere, and I have to say that his language skills were excellent. He had only studied for six months in preparation of a one-month holiday in South America, and his Spanish was perfect.

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