As I got close to the border with Ukraine in the North of Romania, I had a nagging feeling that things might get a bit complicated at the border because I didn’t have car insurance for Ukraine and the EU green card didn’t cover Ukraine either. Sure enough, once I reached the Romanian part of the border they told me that it would be wiser to nor cross as they would probably turn me around without an insurance. They suggested to go into town and speak to an insurance company to see if I can buy some. I did and unfortunately the insurance companies in Romania don’t sell insurance to cars registered outside the EU. But they did mention that they had heard about people crossing on foot into Ukraine, buying the insurance there and then returning for the car.
So that’s exactly what I did! I crossed on foot the bridge over the Tisa river which runs along the border and then walked another 10 minutes on the Ukrainian side until I came across an insurance kiosk. It took about 10 minutes to get the insurance done and it only costed me about 20US$ which is not bad. I then walked back over the border, picked up my car and off I went into Ukraine, not before being asked for some small bribe by one of the Ukrainian soldiers at the border. I pretended I didn’t understand what he was on about and just moved on, thinking there was not much he could do.
From the border I headed towards my first stop in Ukraine, the city of Ivano-Frankivsk. There wasn’t anything in particular I wanted to see here, but it provided a good stop for me to sleep in on the way to Lviv. I ended up walking around the city in the morning and found a few interesting looking buildings, including one which is said to be the only secular building in Ukraine to have a golden dome.
From Ivano-Frankivsk, I drove for a couple of hours to Lviv, got myself into a hotel fairly close to the centre of town and then went out to explore the city. Lviv has a fairly busy history – even the name has been pronounced in many different names depending on who was occupying the city.
The buildings are beautiful and it really reminded me of Prague but without so many tourists. I ended up walking close to 25km that afternoon and the following morning and I loved looking at all the old buildings with some of them having been beautifully restored.
The city was also full of couples getting married and it just seemed that at every corner there was a wedding. I think the last time I’ve seen so many weddings in the same place was when I was in St.Petersburg in Russia.
If you are in Ukraine and you have a bit of time, I would definitely recommend stopping for a couple of days in Lviv.