Day 190 – 192 | Lviv & around

Day 190 | Tuesday September 20

Today Liuda offered me a sightseeing tour through Lviv. Liuda found me on an Ukrainian Facebook page and voted for me to come to her country. The son of the first Ukrainian king Daniel of Galicia was called Lev and in honor to him he called the city ‘Lviv’, or ‘City of Lev’. The city is known for coffee, chocolate and caramel. They have some stores where you can see how they make the products. The caramel one was the most interesting as it was like a museum, they made many objects like houses and even running trains from this sweet good.

Liuda is young, only 22 and already married. She told me in Ukraine it’s common to marry at young age and it used to be even younger, between 16 and 18. We climbed to the top of a church, did a hike to a mountain with a beautiful overview on the city and she treated me with a big lunch. The first decent meal I had since Thursday and my body had a hard time to deal with it.

Day 191 | Wednesday September 21

Nazar, the one that arranged my accommodation came to visit me in the hotel. He is founder of To-U and the Ukrainian Tesla Club. With To-U they are installing the country’s biggest EV charging network, and the good thing: they are all free! They see charging as a service and make contracts with hotels, restaurant, fuel stations etc to install a station. The station is than owned by the hotel for example, they pay for the electricity and maintenance but To-U attracts customers to the stations. A full charge is very cheap in Ukraine so if the client drinks one cup of coffee at the hotel they already make profit. With their intelligent app you can even reserve the stations on your desired time, something I have never seen before.

Liuda had some contacts at a local radiostation and they were very interested in my story. We went there and I told them about my journey so far and my experience with the Polish/Ukrainian border. Which was very funny and interesting, it had something to do with a plastic doll, listen to it here.

Liuda’s husband Dmytro owned a clothing store in Lviv, Like by Look, A store were they only sell locally produced clothing. Dmytro told me that I could pick some new items and I received a complete new outfit! Looking fresh and sharp now.

After that it was time to move, my next stop was in Lutsk were Alexandr invited me. A young guy, 23 and works at the client desk of MacKeeper, if you have a mac you probably have seen one of their advertisements. We charged the car at his parents, than went to a friend, Alexandr had a night shift and his friends took me to the city. Ukrainian beers are definitely worth a try.

Day 192 | Thursday September 22

Alexandr came back from his nightshift, met me at his friend where I stayed for the night and gave me a short tour through Lutsk. We visited a castle from the year 1300 which is pretty iconic, it is even shown on the Ukrainian 100 bill.

My goal is to go to Kiev but that was out of reach. Alexandr had a friend in Rivne where I could stay, 70km from Lutsk and from there it was about 300km to Kiev, so I could make that tomorrow. Alexander joined me to Rivne as he didn’t see his friend for a long time.

On the way to Rivne we made a stop at the ‘Tunnel of Love’. Alexandr is very much into photography and showed me a picture of this tunnel. I had seen this before and didn’t know it was close by or in Ukraine at all, a gift I guess. The Love Tunnel is an deserted railroad in the forest and surrounded by green arches, where you can make the most beautiful pictures, even when you’re not a couple.

In the afternoon we got to Rivne where we met Ben. They treated me with a fish & chips menu at a restaurant. At his home we charged the car and Ben used an extension cord which seemed a bit old and thin. It made me worry a bit. I went for a check an hour later and when I opened the door I saw smoke, heard something crackle, it was hot and the room smelled odd. I instantly thought there was something on fire, ran up to the room to get all the people, ran down again to find out there was nothing wrong. The extension cord did get too hot and smelled burned but the crackle came from the central heating in the room. False alarm but everyone was wide awake now.


Day 186 – 189 | Some weird days

To not distract from the subject I wanted the previous blog to be completely about Auschwitz, so now I pick it up from there.

Day 186 | Friday September 16

I drove back to Krakow where I had a hostel who wanted to take care of me, the Pink Panther’s hostel. A party hostel and when I entered they had a summer-holiday-party-theme going on. I was up for some drinks but still needed to find a place to charge the car, which was difficult I experienced the day before yesterday. I spend a while driving from location to location but they either were not working with my car or already closes, most of them are placed in shopping malls. I knew that there was one mall with a 32A plug so I thought to go there the next morning, charge a few hours and continue. I parked the car close to the hostel and joined in for some drinks.

Day 187 | Saturday September 17

If there goes something wrong on this trip it usually happens in a chain of events, so was this time the case unfortunately. When I got to the car I found it had a wheel clamp, damn! I couldn’t figure out why because I parked between the lines. All the other 5 cars next to me had a clamp too. Apparently there where some temporary signs and it was not allowed to park here. I got pretty nervous because I was expecting a fine of a couple of hundred euros but it was only 100 Zloty, which is ‘only’ like 24 euro. Even better news was that I still had some Zloty’s left from Wouter and Ania so no troubles.

Than I needed to find a place to charge. The shopping mall was fully occupied and the other charging stations in the middle of the city too. I was hoping to find a place in the city and do some sightseeing. In stead I found a shopping mall outside the town and charged there on normal speed. This changed my plans as I couldn’t leave today. I send a message to Magdalena where I stayed in Warsaw. Later that night she replied that she founded a friend who could help me. I could sleep there and charge the car at the university across the street.

Day 188 | Sunday September 18

My goal for today was to reach Rseszow, about 18km from Krakau. It was raining, there was heavy wind and I lost range fast. About 20km from I realized I was not going to make it and needed a pit-stop to recharge. Problem was a pitstop (fuel station, house or anything with a plug) didn’t appear and I had 4% left. I started dring on the emergency lane with 10km/h to safe energy but after 5km my battery was 0%, damn! It had to happen at least one time this trip so that I did only after 6 months is not a bad achievement I reckon.

The car stopped on bend of an exit to a smaller road but passing cars only noted me when they drove by so none of them stopped to see what was going on. There was no emergency lane too so it was even a dangerous situation. I called my insurance in Holland and they would send a Polish roadside assistance. Just when I hung up a nice man stopped and offered to tow me to the city.

When towing the car started to recharge itself, because of the spinning of the wheels it regenerates electricity, and that goes pretty fast actually. When we got to the city after 15 minutes I already had 25%. I thanked the good man for his kindness and drove to a charger. Before leaving Krakau I did some research and there were 3 chargers here, unfortunately the first one I couldn’t find and the second one was closed on Sunday. The third one was available but the slowest option. Again it was located in the garage of a shopping mall and I decided to spend the night in the car as I couldn’t find a place to stay.

Day 189 | Monday September 19

Hungry, sleepy and Grumpy I woke up in the car around 7am. I realized that the last time I had a decent meal was last Thursday at Ania’s place. The previous day I only had eaten some noodles. Today I wanted to reach Lviv in Ukraine. Early morning I crossed the border, on both the Polish and Ukrainian side they were very cautious. The Polish customs went through the car with dogs 3 times and the complete process took one hour. Luckily for Ukraine I didn’t need a visa.

My hosts in Lviv were Nazar and Lena. I met them at the presentation of the Detroit Electric SP-O1 in Oslo. They are installing a charging network in the country and also sell electric cars, more about this in a later blog. Unfortunately they were away from Lviv to install chargers somewhere in the mountains so they put me in a hotel. As I was super tired I slept some hours and woke up around 9pm. Than I was super hungry and made some rice in the bathroom of the hotelroom.