Day 18 – Planning the next move

Kiev, Ukraine

After another dud of a hostel I slunk out of it at 11am to head over to my new hostel.

Going outside from the hostel and through the archway to the main Kreschatik street I was surprised to see at least a dozen different soldiers and police milling about on the street.

The street was closed too, which, for a major thoroughfare is a significant thing.  I looked down the sidewalk to my left and saw two metal detectors set up as people walked through them.

Um, what is going on?

Should I even be in this area?

Well, none of the soldiers or police rushed to tackle me or even stop me so I just turned right and started walking towards the metro station.

More police.  More soldiers.

And then I happened upon the main Independence Square where it became clear that on this Saturday afternoon they were remembering their fallen soldiers as there were huge banners hanging from street poles with soldier’s faces on them.

Because of my previous trip here in Kiev back in USSR Trip 2015 it was easy to figure out which metro to take and then how to get there from the metro station.

Amazing that after a year and half I remembered things and buildings in a foreign country I had only been in for a few days.

A big smile came over my face as I arrived at my new home.

I had to wait a couple of hours to get into my room but I didn’t care because they had a nice comfy common room to relax in and plenty of toilet stalls I could also relax in.

Yes, travelers diarrhea is a real thing, sigh.

My 4 bed dorm room is literally right next to the lobby so you can hear the people just outside your door but it’s small, it’s comfy and it’s dark.

And there’s only 2 other people in it and neither of them snore.

Yay!

I headed back out into the common room and met a genuine Olympic athlete from Germany.  He had been part of the rowing team the last two Olympics where he finished 6th and 8th.

Pretty impressive in my books but, of course, he lamented on the fact that he didn’t medal.

Interesting the people you meet along the way…

In the afternoon I hunkered down behind my netbook to figure out exactly where my trip was taking me over the next couple of weeks.

My original plan to get to the UK in 13 days on March 3rd could be altered if so need be and I needed to see if I could and if I should alter it.

I should start off explaining that the flight I took to Kiev was actually part of a multi flight deal with a second leg of Kiev to Warsaw, Poland taking place in a couple of days.

As is almost always the case, it was actually cheaper to book a JFK-Kiev-Warsaw flight than just a JFK-Kiev flight.

So, with that in mind, I’ll be in another place I had fond memories of, Warsaw, in a couple of days.

I’ll spend 3 days there which leads to the question of what do I do with the 8 days after that before I head to the UK.

My first thought was maybe I could switch up the order I did things and, since I was already in Eastern Europe, just fly from Poland to Romania and head through the 5 countries I was going to do here in the east and then fly over to the UK in a couple of months.

Sure, I’d be throwing away a couple of non-refundable Ryanair flights I had already booked but, then again, I wouldn’t have to criss-cross the country 2 more times.

There was also the possibility of flying from Warsaw to Paris for a week and then keeping the rest of the trip the same as I would head to the UK and then fly back to Eastern Europe to finish off the trip.

So many possibilities.

In the end I figured the cost of the cancelled flights would be negated by not having to criss-cross the continent and the most sensible move was just to stay here in Eastern Europe and then head over to the UK.

I looked at cheap flights outta Warsaw for other locations in Eastern Europe and, after all the hand-wringing and decision making, there weren’t any reasonable ones.

They were either too expensive or were over 24 hours with a big layover in Brussels.

Hmmm, guess I shoulda looked at that first before deciding what to do next.

Woulda saved a bunch of time…

So, after all that, I went with the Warsaw-Paris-UK-Eastern Europe plan.

The hostels I looked at in Paris weren’t that great so I decided to book a single room in a hotel out of the main part of the city for $80 a night.

Not ideal, but, hey, it’s Paris and things are expensive there.

Next I went to book my Ryanair flight from Warsaw to Paris.

Piece of cake, right?  I mean I’ve booked through Ryanair a dozen times and on this trip alone have booked with them three times.

I went through the maze of add-on sales on their website and went to checkout with the credit number I have on their file.

Declined.

Um…

Tried again and it was declined again.

No worries as I carry a backup credit card just for this reason!

I pulled out my Visa card and entered the payment information and was, yet again, declined.

Damn!

Well, this sucks…

They had a “Payment by Paypal” option so, for the first time ever, I went to pay with the paypal account I had created years ago.

Or at least I tried…

After finally figuring out my login information I was prompted with a message to confirm the account.  This is understandable as I hadn’t used it in eons and I was logging in on a foreign laptop in a foreign country.

The problem was the way they wanted to confirm my account was by providing the full credit card number I had on file that ended in 0882.

This was an old credit card I had used and had absolutely no idea what the number was.

I tried the “other option to confirm” choice but it just brought me back to this one and only option.

Christ!

Eventually, after much hair pulling, I just created a new PayPal account, attached my travel credit card I had on hand, and bought the ticket.

This whole process of booking, by the way, took almost 2 hours.

Two hours of pulling my hair out!  Thanks Ryanair!

Time for a nap!

I was so tired what from the jetjag, the lack of sleep from snorers and the constant need to go to the toilet every two hours that I just crashed on my bed at 5pm.

Of course, like clockwork, I was back up just three hours later as my stomach rumbled and reminded be that Mexico was still with me.

After taking care of business, I headed over to the great restaurant down the street I had eaten at many times during my previous trip to Kiev.

In all actuality, this was the reason I had decided on Kiev (and Warsaw for that matter) as places to go and recharge and reset.

The food!

So hearty!  So good!

Anyway, that was the day.  Not much touristy or even travel related stuff going on.  Just alot of planning and resting and recouperating.

Pretty sure that’s how the remaining couple of days here in Kiev and then the handful of days in Warsaw are going to be.

Doesn’t make for exciting blog content but it does get me where I need to be to tackle the monumental next few weeks as I head to Paris next week followed by London and the rest of the UK just a week after that.

Alot of planning to do as I’m not going into the next leg as unprepared as I was for Cuba.

Gotta learn from your mistakes, right?

Anyway, that was Day 18…

Kiev, Ukraine, Euro Trip 2017, Trip Journal
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