Breakfast this morning was the most disappointing yet. Without providing a menu, a presumably-new waitress, who was being shadowed by a less-than-helpful guy asked what I wanted to eat and then shrugged when I asked what they had. So, I asked for an omelet (everywhere has omelettes) a coffee and an orange juice. Each arrived at different times and the omelet was stingy to say the least, perhaps two eggs and no filling.
In a rush to get moving to avoid the hellish heat like the day before, I put up with it ate and decided I’d grab some bread etc on the way to Tartarbunary which was 100km further southeast on the coast shortly after the Danube melts into the Black Sea.
As I left and paid, the waitress then ran over and told me that I needed to pay for the coffee and orange juice! So the ‘breakfast’ was simply a half-hearted omelet and no drink. I was less than impressed.
The road to Tartarbunary was flat, muggy and quiet but also quite strange. Ukraine’s infamously bad roads are in such bad condition here that the cars and trucks have moved off the road altogether and created their own, smoother tracks either side of the tarmac. So, for about 50km I was in the unique but odd position of riding down the middle of the road while cars and lorries passed in large clouds of dust either side of me.
The potholes made life hard and occasionally uncomfortable when I lost concentration or went to fast and hit them, but generally they are easier to avoid when your on a bike so it wasn’t unbearable.
Again the road leads through some small villages and the further I got from Izmail the poorer the villages became which is hardly surprising given that many are 30km from the nearest town and almost entirely cut-off thanks to the unusable roads.
I was in a very remote part of Europe and today I really felt that, but I was enjoying the solitude and listening to some podcasts I downloaded from the RSA and finally making progress through the ‘teach yourself Ukrainian’ course.
Arriving in Tartarbunary was less exciting than I had hoped. It has an exotic name (obviously linked to Turkish/Tartar tribes) and none of my Ukrainian friends new anything about the city, so I felt like a real explorer. It turns out however that its just a poor and unimpressive Ukrainan town. Too far from Izmail or Odessa to attract much wealth from either of those two cities and without any tourist infrastructure either. It’s not unpleasant, but not very exciting either. One thing it is however, is friendly. In fact two old guys stopped me as soon as I arrived to ask if I needed help and everyone else I met insisted on fussing over me until I had what I needed …which was a room, a shower and a hamburger.