Crossing from Ukraine into Russia

 

On the approach to the Ukaine customs we had to stop, an official looking guy asked,” Do you need a green card insurance for Russia” I said yes and he took me into his office. He had all the documents ready to fill out, he said minimum 15 days, I said ok but I need 30 days and how much? (By this time I was thinking you can only buy a green card insurance in your own country or the country which you are entering). He said €280, I said no thanks and got back into Plodd. Anyway, after clearing Ukraine customs and still in possession of our 100 or so litres of beer, we arrived in no-man’s-land between Ukraine and Russia .What a queue of traffic, wagon after wagon on the right, so I looked at Les and said I would try and pass all the wagons before we get stopped and hopefully not get sent back to the back of the queue. After passing maybe as many as 50 wagons we were about ten or twelve vehicles from the front, I quickly jumped out of Plodd and took our documents to a kiosk close to the exit barrier and the Russia army officer, (complete with Krinkov rifle) gave me two forms to fill in. He said wait in your car, so we filled the Russian forms in best we could, waited about one hour then he let us through to the next stop. We both got out, then we were told to go into the first office where there was about six Russian Army and Customs officers in it, one of them started to speak Russian to us, I said only English, he explained in Russian that they only had the form of declaration in Russian or German. I told him we did not speak or understand either, but we think he said try and fill in the forms, I looked at Les and she looked at me and we went outside and attempted to fill in bits of the forms (mine was in Russian and Les’s in German) that bit was obvious. We then took the forms back to the same guy, I think by now he was feeling a little sorry for us so in Russian he asked us questions, one that we could decipher was have you any drugs, we said no, have you any alcohol, we said no spirits, no wine just beer, knowing full well that after helping us with our form he would be going over Plodd with a fine tooth comb. We knew this, as we could see what other officers were doing to other people and vehicles to the point of taking the carpets out of some vehicles, (do you remember Raine when we crossed the border coming out of Hungary with Mum and Dad, everything out, well this was ten times worst!). The other people did not appear to have anything so we thought just wait when he sees all our beer!  We cobbled the forms together and he then said ok can you open your car, so I opened the side door and he popped his head in and said ok you can go, (this was all done by hand signals).We both looked at each other nodded  our heads and thanked him for his help.. We had cleared both the Ukraine and Russian sides in about three hours, and still had all our beer.!!!!!!!! Result!!!

So we were now in Russia but no car insurance. We drove about 1 Km and spotted a kiosk with Russian writing all over it, we presumed it was insurance. I went in armed with all doc’s and ten minute’s later appeared back at Plodd with insurance that cost us only sixty dollars for the month. (We think had we had bought the insurance on the Ukraine side at €280 it would have been valid only in the Ukraine and had we been stopped anywhere in Russia we would have had big problems).

We set off for Moscow knowing full well we could not possibly make it before dark, so we drove until about 5pm (17.00) then saw a truck stop, we pulled in and asked if we could park up for the night, yes it would be 100 rubles (about £2). I said ok so we parked up with about 40 truckers and their trucks, after about ten minutes, one of the Russian truckers came over and asked me to join them drinking Vodka, I said no thank you I have just opened a beer, so we stood and pulled faces at each other pointing to the stickers of all the countries we had been to and going to, then he left, by this time another trucker had got his long brush and a bucket of soppy water out and was washing the splattered fly’s from our windscreen.

It was amazing these complete strangers were lining up to help us, a little later two more truckers one from Ukraine, one from Moldova showed me on there map where to park for 500 rubles a night, right in the centre of Moscow ( as they were showing me I thought I have seen that red square car park on TV?) then they took me to try and buy two more new tyres (well were getting a little low on tyres and we do seem to be getting through them rather quickly) up to now we have had to buy three and now need another two. (No wonder when you see these roads).

On this night we got bitten a lot by mosquitoes and we decided to stay there on the truck stop one more night, so we would have time to buy the new tyres.

Dave

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