Dan says goodbye
Entering Chernigiv

Mountain Bike Trip Map: Aug 6, 2006
Day 32-Ukraine, Kiev - Klpti :
Complete Log entry for Emmanuelle

This was the first time I was not going to beside Chris for this step of the trip. It feels strange but I think it s for the best. I will do the last stretch with him from Chernaviv to Slavutich. This extra day in Kiev gave me the opportunity to rest and relax. So after saying goodbye to Chris early this morning, I went back to bed and slept late.

In the afternoon, Dan and I decided to go to the Chernobyl Church to bring our flowers. The church is orthodoxe so in order to go in, I needed to cover my head with a scarf. The problem was that I had not brought any so Dan and I looked everywhere to find a piece of fabric. We finally found one in a fabric store. I looked like a real Babouchka with it. Chris would have laughed if he had seen me. We put down the flowers by the Chernobyl monument outside of the Church. I looked at the monument and the different names of the people who had given their life to save us and thanked them for their courage and bravery. Then we entered the little Church. I was surprised to see a store inside, selling souvenirs and postcards. We spoke to the woman, gave her a copy of the press release of our adventure and explained to her about the trip. I am not sure if she really understood. She kept asking us what we wanted from her. I thought it was kind of sad to see that she did not think anyone could give her something without asking anything in return. I guess people are conditioned to think that nothing is free. I bought a little icon card from her for my brother as I knew he would appreciate the image of the Trinity. I did not really understand what was written on the card but it was then translated to me as.: Let's love another". I was happy I had chosen that card as I had felt this love all along my journey through Ukraine. People from Ukraine may have not much in terms of possessions or material but they have what can't be bought. And truly this last way longer!

In this evening, Dan invited to of his students who had became his friends. We went for a walk to this amusement park not far from his house. The rides and attractions were quite different from what I had ever seen before. They had a sixties type of style, all in metal with cartoon characters. I was told that there were other amusement parks like this, all from the Soviet Union.

It was nice to relax that evening and get to know the Ukrainian culture in talking with Dan's friends. I learned about they medical, school, political system. From what they were explaining to me, it did not feel really safe to go to the dentist nor the doctor unless you had a lot of money to pay specialists. They also told me how it is difficult even impossible to travel in Europe because it is very hard to get a visa. One has to show all kinds of proof that he or she did not have the intention to move outside of the country by showing proof of owning a car, a job, having a family…Again I was reminded of how many privileges Swiss people have in terms of medical, social and political system.

Sleep felt good.