Sisua Rajalle! - Osa 6 - Ukraina

Sisua Rajalle! - Part 6 - Ukraine

Finally in Ukraine! We didn't manage much besides breakfast in the morning, as we had parked the cars in a schoolyard and promised to move them before 8 AM. Since parking is scarce in central Lviv, we just had to pack up and leave.

One of the vehicles—a green Peugeot Expert van affectionately named "The Royal Beast" by the drivers—would stay in Lviv, so this was our last chance to take photos with the entire convoy. We had permission to use the yard of the Pravda brewery for our photoshoot, so we headed there and began setting up. It took some time with so many cars, but eventually, we got them neatly lined up with some camouflage nets and Finnish flags draped over them. Then it was just silly grins and a few hundred photos. We also used a drone to take pictures from a higher angle.

After the photos were taken, we set off towards our final destination—Kyiv. Getting out of Lviv during rush hour tested our patience, but soon we were on the highway with the entire convoy behind us. I was in the first car writing a blog post when we were suddenly pulled over by the police. It turned out to be a speed check, and we had been doing 81 km/h in an area that had just changed from 80 to 70 km/h. It wouldn’t have been too bad, but the driver didn’t have his license with him, as he had temporarily joined my car and the license was in his bag, in another car that had left a bit earlier on its own. Fortunately, the police were sympathetic and agreed that a picture of the license would suffice, even though it took them about 30 minutes to come to that conclusion. Result: a speeding fine of about 9 euros and a reminder to keep the license handy in the future.

We were now quite far behind the rest of the convoy, but with a light passenger car, we didn’t have to stick to the speed of the heavier vehicles and could go full speed on the highway. We caught up with them just as they reached our first rest stop. Speaking of rest stops, Ukrainian gas stations are quite something. Sure, there are shabby ones like those we’re used to at home, but many are actually large, with a wide selection of food, alcohol, and other products. One we stopped at on this stretch even had a small pastry shop, which I haven’t seen anywhere else before.

One of our stops was in Rivne, and by chance, we encountered the mayor there, who knew Andreas from before. We had brought a pickup intended for their armed forces, and apparently, the mayor was unaware of this plan, as he was visibly moved when we suddenly drove it up and handed over the keys. This was the first of our actual handovers (the vehicle in Lviv had just been left at a location for pickup).

We slowly approached Kyiv, passing through lush, winding landscapes that were almost fairy-tale beautiful in many places. There were many beautiful churches along the roads, with their golden onion domes shining in the evening sun. We also saw a couple of military convoys along the way, but much fewer than I had expected.

By evening, we arrived in Kyiv at our hotel, which was right next to the highway and specially geared towards truck drivers. This meant large, supervised parking and easy access to the highway to reach our destinations in the morning. We had a modest dinner in the small café, and then went to bed. We had a long day behind us and an even longer one ahead.

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