Thursday, June 7, 2012
This is a first. Neil and I are awoken at 10am with a bang on the door and an attractive Polish lady stood smiling and holding two trays full of scrambled eggs, cheese and coffee. Breakfast in bed in a two-star hotel. Nice.
We had rather assumed that Rzeszow would have dozens of daily buses and a couple of daily trains to Ukraine and that we could just show up here with a hangover and get on our way to Ukraine. Down at the decrepit bus station, with barely a bus in sight, we are told that there are only two buses per week to Lviv: on Fridays and Mondays. The train, meanwhile, leaves at 5pm and takes seven hours to complete 150 kilometres. Maybe we should have brought bicycles.
Whilst weighing up our options over a coffee across the road at the Hotel Ferdinand we spot a minibus parking up, decorated with Dutch flags. Neil sprints over and asks if we can get a lift to Ukraine if we throw in the petrol money.
“We just came back from the border. We drove all the way here from Holland and when we got to the border they told us we haven’t got the correct paperwork to take the van into Ukraine. It means we have got to leave the van here in Poland for two weeks and try to take the train to Kharkiv for our first match.”
Setting off today at 5pm it is going to take them around 30 hours to get to Kharkiv for their first match.
With it looking likely we will need to stay in Rzeszow for one additional night, we explore more of Rzeszow Old Town and also pay a visit to its dramatic Lubomirski palace, which is protected by huge stone fortress walls. The city also boats a labyrinth of underground cellars which are open to the general public.
We head back down to the bus station at 3pm in the unlikely hope that the passing Eurolines bus to Lviv, which is officially ‘full’ on the website isn’t full.
Negotiating in Russian we manage to bag two seats with the last of our Zloty and we are on our way to Ukraine.