View Full Version : General Impressions

03-01-2009, 19:30
Just got out of the Ukraine in my Hymer so thought I would post a few impressions.

We crossed from Northern Romania one evening and encountered problems at the border because they did not seem to have processed a British vehicle before. They consulted a file and then took everything a way for further inspection. After an hour we started to get cold (-15 outside) so we turned the heat on and settled down to watch Top Gun on DVD which kept the van rocking with the soundtrack.

After another hour they returned and seemed agog at our relative nonchalance, but insisted the "papers" were not in order. The picture in their file showed both pages of the DVLA form and we had sent in the right hand side for change of address. We explained and they disappeared again. After a further hour another batch arrived to inspect for contrabandski. Actually they seemed more interested in the van and finally asked me how much it cost to buy one. They also wanted to know where the DVD's were kept.

Finally 3 hours after arrival they grudgingly handed the papers back which indicated some flexibility since it did not match their file illustration. They also studied our green card carefully, which fortunately includes Ukraine.

The roads form the border post were appalling and navigation tricky with the Cyrillic alphabet. We stopped in a town and were reading names off a road sign when a white Passat pulled up and two cops climbed out. They could obviously not speak much English but were very unpleasant and order me out of the van. The long and short of it was I was not permitted to stop where I was because of danger to traffic (11.00 p.m. at night) and penalties were severe. They demanded I get in their cat which was unmarked and with my wife in the Hymer I refused. The more they insisted the more I stood my ground figuring if I got in the vehicle it could only get much worse.

It was a stand-off and realized that really wanted to discuss the "bribe" to avoid the aforementioned penalties. By this stage I was pretty fed-up and told them to F+*& off and said I would be writing to Yulia Timoshenko and Yushenko about them. I don't know if it helped or not but they finally seemed to figure that it would not go easy and they descended to ordering me out of town and were at least gratified when I obeyed immediately.

After that we had no problems anywhere and the motorways proved super. I loved the towns (we stuck to the southwest) with their markets and fine traditional coffee houses. Food supplies are exotic and cheap and Ukrainians seem to eat exceedingly well. Everyone wears fur to keep warm and I bought a fine Russki type hat for about 20 euros, so even as a newly impoverished Brit I felt quite wealthy there.

We wild camped and had no problems and people are generally friendly and warm (except the cops of course). We will be back for sure since the small portion we saw has given us a taste for more.

Oh yes - to fill my tank: about 20 quid - read this and weep :)

03-01-2009, 19:39
OMG sounds like a spy movie, good luck with the travels, weldone on standing your ground witht the police.

Take care and good luck Tom

03-01-2009, 20:18
Sounds like you talked yourself out of a dodgy situation Undersiege:eek:, you say their English was,nt good:(, I just wonder If the fact that you mentioned the nameTimoshenko scared them off, maybe they though you knew her personally:eek::rolleyes:,. I dont suppose they often see expensive vans like yours in these parts;)

03-01-2009, 23:01
It struck me that some members may not know about Timoshenko so I supply a link of the Ukrainian PM. I think you will agree that she looks slightly better than our own Jaqui Smith.