Tanya and I are going to Prague for 8 days. This is our first time in Europe (EU) so rather than try to organize, we are going with a package. What a circus to try and get a package, you cannot believe. Tanya was several days on the internet and talking to travel agents in Krivii Rih, Dnipropetrovs'k and Kyiv. We had found what we thought was the perfect package. It was affordable, and included two days in Vienna. Regardless of the fact that the price on the internet site stated airfare was included, we were informed by the tour operator that it was NOT included.
Anyhow we finally found something close. And started to close the deal.
Tanya needed a Schengen visa. If we go west she needs a visa; if east, I need a visa; Turkey lets us both in for a fee at the border. One applies for a Schengen visa at the embassy of the country of first entry but the travel agent will look after the logistics once we have all the documentation. Along with the usual suspects, we needed a notarized document stating that I was paying for the trip.
So yesterday we went to Dnipropetrovs'k. Can't tell you how many months it had been since I was there. It is spring so the road is full of chuck holes and driving is rather nerve racking. In Ukraine if you see a driver weaving violently back and forth on the road, they are fine. If they are driving in a straight line staying in their lane they are drunk.
The reason for the Dnipro trip was that we have no certified English translator in Zhovti Vody. Our friend Natalia, head of the city foreign relations department, translated my little letter and sent it to her notary friend Oksana to have it notarized. Cost us $30 at the lawyers and coffee, dessert and a visit with Natalie.
I got my McDonald's fix for a few more months - they have a new Ukrainian burger - Pumpernickel bun. And had a look at the winter crops and snow cover. Less snow the farther east we drove. Too early to confirm winter kill from the road but the reports are maybe 30+% will have to be reseeded into summer crops. 10 hour day, four hours driving and I was in bed by 8:30. Driving is no thrill on these roads.
We would have gone to a travel agent in Dnipro but the one we use doesn't have ability to process credit cards. Cash only. So today we drove into Krivii Rih, to see another Oksana at KiiAvia who had done our last two trips to Turkey. This was the first time I drove through downtown KR myself with out someone familiar with the city to guide me. 20 minutes, outskirts of ZV to outskirts of KR and almost two hours to reach the travel agency some 60 km down the centre of the city. New York is the city that never sleeps and Krivii Rih is the city that never ends.
Tomorrow I will sleep in and then do some real work. I have a proposal to prepare.
The pictures are of a metal grapevine outside a restaurant in Dnipro. The vines go up each side of the door than along the wall the length of the building. No idea what they would cost in Canada or in Ukraine but the artwork is absolutely wonderful. Tanya says she wants something like it.