Despite being nearly 1000 miles, our journey through Russia (from Ukraine to Kazakhstan) was more or less a straight easterly line on more or less the same road. For most of the journey all we could see in any direction was a panoramic of fields stretching out to the horizon. Each day Chris would say "that's the biggest field I've seen in my life", only to find a bigger one a few miles down the road.
Our morning was spent with Alan (who was also staying at our hostel) at Pechersk Lavra, also known as the Monastery of the Caves. We bought candles to light our way through the narrow labyrinthian underground passages in which dead monks have been laid to rest in glass topped coffins.
Prior to leaving the UK Chernobyl was already on our bucket list. Leaving the hostel at 7:15 in the morning, we, with another person from the hostel (Alan), got a taxi to the meeting point in Kiev. From there we were put into a group of 12 and loaded onto a small bus for the two hour drive to the exclusion zone.
Instantly Ukraine was like no country either of us had been to before. In Romania, the majority of people we met spoke at least some English, we could make sense of some of the Latin based language, and there was some European familiarity to it all. Just by crossing the border, suddenly nobody knew a single word of English, the writing was all funny, and the cars surrounding us made it look like we had stepped back in time by at least 40 years.
The flat landscapes of Romania, and with them, (we hoped) less rain and hotter temperatures, were calling us.
After being underwhelmed by all that Serbia had to offer us so far, we agreed to visit one more place before we drove into Romania. Probably aided by the glorious sunshine that was beating down on us for the first time in what felt like months, Novi Sad was beautiful.