Monday  Dateicon  31.8.2015  Tigericon  368km Total:6765km

Since we didn't go to Bucharest as planned the next overnight stay on our itineraty Cluj-Napoca is now to close (170km) and Uzjhorod on the Ukrainian side is to far awy (500km with a border crossing late in the day) the compromise is Satu Mare which is pretty much exactly halfway to Lviv.

I'm very grateful that we didn't opt to go further since I for some reason have stabs of pain in my right eye which leaves me temporarily blinded and not able to focus.
Not really optimal in Romanian morning traffic.

I don't know if I've scratched my corne messing with the contacts or if all the dirt and grit from traffic that has finally taken it's toll but regardless of the reason all morning is just a constant pain.
I've previously ridden roads so beutiful they almost left me with a tear in my eye but this is the only time I know of when I have actually cried in my helmet while riding.
After the stabs of pain I can feel the tears flowing down the right side of my cheek and there is nothing I can do about it.
Eye droplets somewhat eases the pain but first (probably because they contain salt) after causes even more pain. It was like dropping molten lava in my eye but I was all I could do.

We get to Cluj-Napoca and turn of into some kind of mall to get some lunch.
After dinner I go on the hunt for an optician to get someone to take a look at my eye, the ones I talked to (who luckily spoke very good English) all referred me to doctor so I guess I was out of luck finding an optician here.
But the last one I talked to offered me a single-use droplet from a different make than what I had and it was pure bliss having something that offered relief without first inflicting excruciating pain.

He lamented about the fact that the bigger pack cost as much as 55RON (about ten euros).
Like a drug fiend who got his first fix for free I would have paid any ridiculous amount he might have asked to me it was probably the greatest find of the whole trip.

We arrive at Hotell Villa Bodi in Satu Mare where I for once get a genuine single room up on the attic.
A small, dark and rustic room with a clothes closet, make up table and a well stocked minibar (with Heineken unfortunately so they are obviously barbarians around these parts but beggars can't be choosers).
All of it framed by two windows overlooking the Cathedral. Far from the biggest but by far the cosiest room of the trip.

We get supper in the hotels summer garden before we hit the sack.

 

A room with a view. The cosiest room of the trip.
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Supper in the summer garden.
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Tuesday  Dateicon  1.9.2015  Globeicon  Countries:17  Tigericon  336km Total:7101km

The maps in the GPS have left a lot to be desired for some parts of the but regardless I go in complety blind, we're obviously riding in the right general direction towards the border so how wrong can we go?
Well, we did go in the right general direction and we did arrive at a border crossing... in to Hungary.

Hungary wasn't part of our plan at so we have no idea what the rules are regarding road tax so once again I consult our support crew and get the message back that yes, a vignette is requiered for this country. But we sort of sneak just inside the Ukrainian border on some kind of moonshine route so we never even get near a place where we would be able to buy one.
After riding a few dozen kms we arrive at the border crossing at Tiszabecs.

The border police's english vocabulary was obviously as limited as his sense of humor so when he barks why you go?! my standard reply of why not? does not apease him. It does not apease him at all.
So on the next round of why you go?!! I adjust my reply to that I of course wanted visit his beutiful country in general and the city Lviv in particular.
That was obviously the right answer so I get a snappy OK!

Next problem. He needs to register the temporary import of the Tiger which is obviously of an unknown make to him since he points at the bike and asks, what is, what is, to which I reply that it's a Triumph motorcycle.
He's obviously got some kind of index he's flipping through and counts out the letters loud in this for him probably very confusing game of scrabble but when he get's to tah,tah,tah and then jubilantly exclaims Trabant! I had a pretty hard time keeping a stright face.
We did finaly agree on the post a few clicks further down in the index that said Trihumphf!.

After this he refers me to the niiekst windov pliiis misstarr Tohmie Frunkk! with an absolutely bad ass accent worthy of even the most diabolical of Bond villains.

Now it becomes completely obvious we're entering former communist territory because the second guy (in the same both just separated from the first guy by a wall) did the exact same thing the first guy had already done with the only addition being that he gave me a note with the registration number of the Trabant which he stressed was extremely important that I didn't loose.
I would have to be a very disorganised person to be able to do that since we were to part with the not to uniform #3 just 20m further down the road...

Pretty much right away we realize that the detour into Hungary had been time saving since the roads are in such a state it mast almost chocking.
And I had even been warned by a friend of the sad state of the Ukrainian "roads".
It's apparently a fact that in the former Soviet states the roads where built on banks of dirt instead of gravel which causes frost damage in winter and bleeding asphalt in summer which causes the road to get deep ruts lengthwise.
He also warned us about potholes large enough to hide a small cow and even though it never got that bad I still don't understand why they don't remove the asphalt altogether, a dirt road can at least be raked into drivable condition.

Because of the on-going Crimea conflict our normal traffic insurance doesn't cover Ukraine and you normally get traffic insurance at the border, in Kosovo it was obvious we're we should get it.
There is no such place here and trying to get any kind of directions from Mr. Why you go would quite obviously be completely futile.
We never got to any place that looked like they would supply what we needed and perhaps because of this we saw police absolutely everywhere.
I have never ridden so painstakingly legal in my whole life as I did from the border and all the way to Lviv, almost 300km.

In Lviv they have sorted the bad asphalt dilemma by instead paving with cobble stone... everywhere.
I sure glad it didn't rain when we rode into town because that would have been like riding on ice, now it just turned out to be a full body massage.
The Swiss hotel was one of the more luxurious places I've ever stayed, the whole place just exuded pure class and the doorman didn't just offer he proptly demanded to carry all our gear and the receptionist was so cute I almost proposed right on the spot.

 

A warm reception in Lviv
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Supper on the terrace.
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Wednesday  Dateicon  2.9.2015  Tigericon  0km

The absolute first thing on our agenda for today was sorting out the traffic insuranece for the bikes, even though it is a relatively new phenomenon in this country (it was optional up until 2013) I don't want to give a police corps notorious for it's corruption a free pass to demand completely arbitrary fines for riding without one.
The receptionist offered to get their insurance agent to come to us at the hotel but that sounded like a good way to blow the budget to smithereens so I looked up a few places online and said I'll get back to her.

The TAS insurance company had an office less than five minutes walk from the hotel so we stumble in and ask if they can help us but regretfully they'll have to charge us for at least fifteen days insurance even though we only really needed one.
That would mean that they would have to charge us 82 Hryvnia per motorcycle and her expression looked as if that was expensive.
I just look at the bear who is just as ignorant about the local currency as I am and we simply conclude that our options are non existent so we strike the deal.
I now know it cost less than three euros.

The bureaucracy was apparently extensive since it took her at least half an hour to input all the data which means an hourly charge by the company of no more than twelve euros.
I don't think the employees are very well paid in this country.
With the paperwork sorted we need to do a quick stop back at the hotel to drop them off, mainly because I have laminated all the documents for the bike.
Even so I maintain that it was a stroke of genius considering I often I have had to show them during this trip.

Now we can start up with the sightseeing and first stop is the Lychakiv cemetery which is so popular a tourist destination that we had to pay an entrance fee of 10 Hryvnia.
That converts to about 40 cents and was money very well spent.
The cemetery is completely ancient and partly overgrown without looking abandoned or mismanaged in any way, this is the final resting place of the Lviv elite and it shows with one magnificent grave trying to outdo the other.
Some graves have monuments and statues that would not look out of place in a museum.

After that we make our way into the city centre and grab some lunch at a grill. I make the huge mistake of ordering the pineapple chilli believing that it would be a chilli with pineapple in it.
I guess I probably looked a bit disappointed when I got a plate full of sliced pineapple with chilli spice sprinkled on it.
The lady promptly saves the day, sharing a piece of her oversized steak because a plate of fruit for lunch is more than enough to make a grown man cry.

After lunch we go on an absolutely ridiculous hunt for the Rynok square, ridiculous because it took us far to long to find it considering it's an enormous square slap bang in the middle of town.
But at least we got to see most of the city centre on the way including the Latin cathedral with it's rich ornament was supposed to be the most beautiful of all Lviv's churches.
I'm not sure if I really liked the aesthetics of it much. I pretty much immediately drew the conclusion that they must have gotten a great price on gold leaf.

One of the best finds on our merry way was a market with so many curiosities that I'm glad I'm riding a motorcycle and thus have a very limited space for souvenirs because I could quite easily have filled up a pannier here.
Judging by the supply of a certain article the best selling product seem to be toilet paper with varying depictions of Vladimir Putin which I must admit also thought was pretty funny.

We eat our supper at an "Italian restaurant" overlooking the square. It turns out to be a glorified pizza place but the food turned out to be pretty good.

We save dessert for the terrace at the hotel, we didn't really get out fill of the view yesterday.
I didn't mind that I got a cream cake after ordering crackers and fruit that I donated to the needing, with a dark beauty in my right hand and a twelve year old whisky in my left I was happy enough anyway.
When you can get a twelve year old whisky for less than €4 I'd rather drink my dessert anyway and considering the chewiness of the steak at the pizza place I could at lest make out to need some internal disinfectant.

 

Lychakiv cemetary
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Rynok square
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Latin cathedral
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The neighbourliness in this part of the world doesn't seem to be all that good at the moment.
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The terasse
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