Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Day 27

I didn’t have a very good sleep in Chappie. The fact that my mattress has malfunctioned again doesn’t help matters. Once I’m inside through, I always feel quite secure. 

I set off at 0900 and passed a campsite where some bikers were packing up. We exchanged enthusiastic waves and I continued on the downward slope full of potholes. 

A van pulled up a little further down the road and a man and woman got out. I executed the “standard conversation” and they opened their van and filled a bag of fruit and veg for me. 

Unlike previous stages around the world involving mountains, I was relieved to leave the climbing behind. Perhaps it was the wilderness and isolation rather than the steep climbs that I wouldn’t miss. 

I reached Vyhoda at noon which was probably the most populated area I’d seen since Satu Mare. There was a nice park there and a few families enjoyed by the sunshine. I found a little cafe and had an Omelette. I had a Google Translate conversation with the lady in the cafe and her final comment translated to “Godspeed”. 

I saw one of the most unusual road signs in Vyhoda. I’ve no idea what it meant. Answers to please. 

I’ve often been inspired to write a poem on numerous occasions around the world. In relation to the looks that I’ve had on this tour I posted the following to my Facebook page. 

In English it reads: 

“What is this thing? 
Who is that being? 
Is it from outer space? 
I should be careful. 
It may see me looking. 
Will it eat me? 
It’s waving a hand. 
He is smiling. 
He is a human like me. 
Everything will be ok in the end.” 

I appreciate that it won’t win any awards but it hopefully captures the feeling that I have with the curious looks in Ukraine. No sooner had I written it then a small child and his mother looked suspiciously in my direction. One wave from me and then from them and the world was a happier place. 

After 13 miles I reached a landmark point on this tour in Dolyna. I had been travelling in a north easterly direction since Belgrade. Finally, I got to turn East and head in the direction of Kyiv. 

The remaining 10 miles of the day involved many steep climbs and descents. It was hard work but I got stuck in and churned out the miles. This section was very similar to the Military Road in Northumberland. 

I took an occasional glance southwards (my left) and I could see the very impressive outline of the Carpathian Mountains. They are another range to tick off along with the climbs in the Rockies, Pyrenees and Alps. 

I stopped at a garage for water and a randomly chosen bottle of pop. I randomly discovered the Ukrainian version of Iron Bru. 

I eventually reached Broshniv-Osada after 21 miles. I had my own welcoming committee. That’s Misha at the front of the photo below. He passed me on the road earlier and thought I was homeless. 

Soon after we took that photo I met Ivan who asked, in English, if I needed any help. I said that I was looking for somewhere to eat and watch the England match. He made a few phone calls and eventually directed me to a local hotel/restaurant. I thanked him for his help and he went on his way. I was very pleased to have ran 23.7 miles for the day. 

I ordered soup, chicken, fries and salad from the restaurant. I scoffed the lot and was totally stuffed. It was much better than the ration packs that I’ve been eating. 

I sat with a group of people in the restaurant who were interested in my run. There was one English speaker and we had a good conversation. 

Misha arrived at the restaurant and drove me to a local bar to watch the football. I met many people here and talked about my journey so far. As per usual, the people that I spoke to struggled to come to terms with the distance that I’ve travelled around the world so far. 

I enjoyed the match and my prediction of penalties transpired. When the winning England penalty went in I leapt up and down. My feet, in the state that they are in, shouldn’t be subject to such behaviour but needs must. 

I won’t forget this World Cup viewing experience in a hurry. It was nice to see the locals get in the spirit of things too. 

Tomorrow, I have just less than 9 miles to travel to Kalush. I think that I will be taking 3 instead of the planned 2 rest days. This is based on the fact that I’m running quicker and getting more daily miles in. This also means that I’ll be able to watch England’s World Cup quarter final. It’s all about priorities!