07 Aug, 2009
The Road to Odessa
Posted by: Scott In: The Rally
It was midnight and pitch black outside at the end of the border ordeal. We were tired, hungry, and dirty. We were also very relieved and very thankful that we had gotten across into the country.
We had looked at a map the day before and saw tat Odessa was approximately a 300 kilometer drive from the Moldovan border. Should be doable in about three hours I thought. Well, I was expecting on doing most of the traveling in daylight. I was also expecting road signs and roads that didn’t look like they had gotten blasted to pieces during some recent conflict. Upon driving that first stretch of road past the border I could only think of one thing: the Ukrainians must really not care about anyone getting in and out of Moldova from their country. Massive pot holes everywhere…simple massive. A semi truck in front of us was having quite the rough time with the roads and we were doing our best to follow its path at a leisurely 5 MPH.
The road eventually got a bit better, and being that there was little if any signage along the route we decided to follow the semi, hoping that it was bound for the closest big city: Odessa. It turns out that it was, and he guided us through the first 50 miles or so until we were pretty sure we could take it from there. By this time we are both extremely sleepy and my eyes are having trouble focusing on the road ahead. After a couple of hours of driving I decide to pull over and get some rest before cntinuing again. I nodded off to sleep pretty quickly but didn’t feel any better for it when I woke up shortly after. What I really needed was a proper night’s sleep. Onward to Odessa.
Once the sun came up it helped a bit with the driving. We were only about 100 kilometers away but I couldn’t drive anymore and passed the wheel to Collin. There had been lightning all night and soon after Collin started driving the rain started to fall. It was pretty much a downpour for the last hour and a half of driving, but we managed to find the city without too much hassle. Once we got in it was another thing entirely to find the hotel we had booked. I had a map and an address….but the street names on my map were in English letters and the street signs, when visible, were in cyrillic. We had both wanted to learn a bit of cyrillic before the trip but never managed to get around to it. We were wishing we had by this point.
It took about an hour of searching coupled with a parking lot attendant’s cellphone call to his English-speaking friend to get us to our hotel. It was about 8:30AM by the time we checked in (we had lost an hour due to a time change crossing into Ukraine). We promptly threw our stuff down, took a shower, and then slept away most of the day.
No pictures since we drove throughout the night in the dark!