January 12, 2009 GMT

24th September
After a rough nights sleep we are eager to be up and away, looking forward to Moldova, another country!!
The ride to the border was uneventful, we are stopped at the border and taken into the border office as there is some difficulty with our insurance documents. This border is run-down and does not run as efficiently as previous border crossings. The officer in charge explains to us that we are not insured as we do not have a Green Card. Despite long explanations that we are not issued with Green Cards but with a normal document it becomes obvious that we will be required to buy extra insurance or we will not be allowed to proceed further, nor return to the Ukraine.
The bill comes to a suspiciously convenient figure of 100 Euros, cash only. This causes some difficulty as we have little cash on us of any kind, as we try to spend up when leaving a country. We manage to scrape the money together in many different denominations and are issued with official-looking documents. The Head Guard also offers to change some money for us, trying to sell us Romanian Lei for the next leg of our journey.
The whole situation leaves a bad taste in our mouths but we have no other option, just before we ride away we are given a small ticket each which resembles cloak-room tickets. We cross Moldova in less than an hour and are asked for the small tickets at the next border. This is a completely different experience, the guard grabs my throttle, gives the engine a good rev smiles and waves us through.
We ride late into the night trying to find somewhere to stay. Stopping at a roadside cafe/kiosk to ask for directions to an hotel, we are told there are none, but two locals (Andre and Eugene) offer to lead us to somewhere to sleep, we are taken into the town centre to a hostel type building. The area seems quite run down and there are few street lights, our new-found friends are drunk and Nick is concerned as to their motives.
They see that we are settled in and the bikes are securely parked, they then take us to a small bar introducing us to their friends. A guitar is produced along with a bottle of Ukrainian Vodka, a good night is had by all and we arrange to meet them the next day so that they can show us the road we need.
Next morning we are completely loaded before they arrive as they are all nursing hangovers! After a photo opportunity with Lenin's statue we are lead from Sarata onto the road to Izmail.
Later that day we pass through another border into Romania, I am looking forward to high mountains and gothic castles......

Posted by Gill Roger at January 12, 2009 12:45 PM GMT

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