The road was quite good (at least by Ukrainian standards), I was feeling good, occasionally I stopped for a bottle of water and an ice cream and nothing bothered me. When it got too hot, I went for a swim in the sea in a place called Zatoka which seemed to be a super crazy tourist town where nearly every house had a sign in front of it "rooms for rent" (in various variations, sometimes offering "deluxe rooms", sometimes "ultra comfort", sometimes - nothing special). The last stretch after the swim seemed to take a longer time than the one before it, but in terms of time spent on the road I shouldn&39;t complain - I got to Bilhorod not sooner and not later than I had envisioned that I would.
There was a bit of a surprise when I went to my host&39;s place. Yes, for the second night in a row I was couchsurfing. I was supposed to stay at a guy named Anatoliy&39;s place. When I was in front of his house, I called him on the phone - no answer. I called on the intercom - no answer. I wasn&39;t worried yet - it was just 17:30, and I hadn&39;t given him any information on the time at which I was supposed to arrive. And since it was a warm and pleasant day I would expect him to be spending it on the beach instead of sitting in the apartment. When in doubt about the next thing to do, I usually go and get something to eat. And so I did. Nearby I found a cafeteria and went in. There were many children around, as a girls birthday was celeberated there - in a serious form of celebration with a woman with a microfone managing the birthday party. I asked whether the place was open for general public, and was sent downstairs to a billiard room. The meal that I had was not exactly typical for me - I ordered a pork chop and when it arrived, it turned out that there wasn&39;t any side dish with it - no potatoes, no salad, just meat. That&39;s not what I normally eat, but what the hell - why should I eat just a piece of meat once?
While I was eating, it had begun to rain heavily, almost as hard as on the previous day. Also I got a reply from my host that he would be at home at 8 PM, which meant that I had an hour and a half to see the town. The rain didn&39;t last, so I was ready to go. But there&39;s one thing I always have to do - to get an ice cream. So I stopped at a nearby store and immediately attracted the attention of a local guy in sportswear. The pattern of the conversation was usual: "Where are you from? From Latvia? Wow! Did you come all the way on the bicycle? Oh, just from Odessa. It is still far." But then suddenly came a strange question: "Since you&39;re on a bicycle, maybe you want to get some speed?" As the conversation was in Russian and the last word was also in Russian, at first I did not understand what the guy was aiming at. How can I get additional speed and why should I need that? Then it hit me - it was Speed with a capital S. Quoting Allen Ginsberg: "Speed is antisocial, paranoid making, it&39;s a drag... all the nice gentle dope fiends are getting screwed up by the real horror monster Frankenstein speed freaks who are going round stealing and bad-mouthing everybody." So I replied Thanks but no, thanks! Confirming that I had at least got the message right, the guy asked me a follow-up question whether I didn&39;t want Speed at that current time or wasn&39;t using it at all. When I later spoke about this episode with some of my hosts, their intepretation was that the guy had considered me to be a potential drug user by my strange looks (a beard and hair - longer than considered appropriate there).
Bilhorod is a rather old city. By old - I mean that it was founded more than 2000 years ago, which is kinda impressive. And it has a very impressive fortress. Normally in my travels I observe the main sites just from the outside, but this time I felt that going inside the fortress could be a good idea. So I did. The fortress is indeed huge, and its outer walls have been preserved quite well. Not that there&39;s that much to see inside, basically you should imagine yourself the life that went on in here in the millenia past. Inside the fortress I saw several groups of strangely dressed men and women who seemed to be there for some medieval themed event. I decided that I wanted to find out more about it, so I went up to them and asked them what exactly was going on there. For some unclear reason I thought it best to speak in English and to pretend that I was a German tourist from Vlotho. The guys told me that they were participants at a knights&39; tournament in the fortress and gave me a poster of their competition. Just a few minutes into the conversation I had to regret having told them that I was German (some of them spoke some English, so we were able to communicate) - as they asked me whether my grandfather had fought for the Nazis. In a different setting I would had probably told them: "No, he did not fight himself. Grandfather Adolf lead the war." But this did not seem a good idea at the time, so I simply switched to Russian in the conversation. And I made a promise to myself that the next time when I would decide to lie about my country of origin I would choose the much safer Sweden.
It was time for me to move on, so I cycled a bit around the other locations of Bilhorod, none of which are too spectacular, and went to meet my host. Anatoliy turned out to be a very friendly young man, who made me dinner (I finally got the potatoes and salad that were missing from my lunch), we shared a conversation that went on quite long into the night, and if I hadn&39;t got plans to continue my journey in the morning, I suppose we could had talked much longer. In addition to regular food Anatoliy provided a special kind of honey courtesy of his beekeeping dad, local cheese speciality bryndza and home wine. With the latter we couldn&39;t do much - Anatoliy himself doesn&39;t drink and I&39;m not much of an alcohol expert - it took me more than an hour to drink one small glass of wine even despite the fact that it tasted very natural and fresh, there&39;s just something about alcohol that I don&39;t really understand.
In the morning we shared a breakfast, and then I was off again - I began the next leg of my journey at around 10 AM with Tatarbunary as my goal for the day.