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.
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.
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.
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.