BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Civitavecchia, Italy. 
Right back where we started from.

Then Kiev, Ukraine, at last.


We awoke this morning in Civitavecchia, Italy. Last night was the roughest night of the cruise and the ship was really rocking and rolling. I had to grab my pillow a couple of time to stop it falling out of bed. I had a lousy night's sleep due to a constant bloody banging I could hear all night. It sounded like a bowling ball in the next cabin rolling from one side to the other all night. Or possibly an unlocked door that was banging. Whatever it was it was bloody annoying and I hardly slept a wink all night.

Over breakfast Kev smiled and said "You packed last night didn't you?" To which I replied "Yes". We all packed and put our cases out so the stewards could take them below to be unloaded early in the morning. Kevin laughed and said "It was your coat hangers in your wardrobe that were making all the noise." I felt like a real goose. Thirty seconds and I could have had a good night's sleep. D'oh!

We said goodbye to Kevin and Annie and promised to catch up back in Oz. It has to happen as they are great people. Our gang of six boarded our transfer vehicle and tore off down the freeway toward the airport. Ukraine here we come.

Bob and Nina were heading home while Lily, Ron, Suzanne, and I were going to Ukraine. Now, a brief bit of background. Our dad is from Ukraine and was forced to leave after the war (It's a long story) because of the communists. He settled in Australia and here I am. That really is a very short version. The bottom line is we know very little about our grandparents or any other family members, but we're going to try and find out anything we can. What are the odds? Who knows? But if we don't try we'll never know.

Touchdown Ukraine. Please remember, it's not "The" Ukraine, it's just Ukraine. The same as Australia isn't "The" Australia. OK. Got that? Let's move on.

We were ready for all the horror stories about visiting Ukraine to come to fruition. You have to declare all your cash, you have to declare all your jewelry, you have to swear allegiance to the god of borsche. What a load of codswallop. Getting into Ukraine is exactly the same as arriving in Perth, except you'll get through customs and immigration a lot faster that Perth. We were met by or transfer driver and taken to our hotel, the Riviera on Podol. The hotel was very nice and once we settled in we sat up in the lounge and enjoyed our complimentary champagne. We then had our first authentic Ukrainian meal, Borsch, Vareniki, pork fat, and Carpaccio.

These three shots are from our hotel. There is a lot of construction work going on as they are converting the road outside the hotel to a mall. The river in the background is the Dnieper.

It very soon became obvious that Ukraine is the home of high heels, mini skirts, and tight pants. Taking this into consideration, along with the food, I think I'm going to like it here.

We meet our Kiev guide in the morning and start our whirlwind tour of Ukraine. What will we find?

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