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CONTENTS

 

PERSONAL SECURITY

Ukraine is a very safe and hospitable European country. Civil order is maintained by a well trained and disciplined police force. The border police patrol the Danube river where it abuts Romania, and we receive a permit from them for our visits. The authorities carry out adequate security checks at airports and the country is not a focus for international terrorism.

Usual common sense, such as not exposing valuables or walking alone at night in dark streets, is enough to avoid petty crime. Organised crime ("the mafia") concentrates on large scale smuggling operations and stays invisible. [Top]

POLITICAL SCENE

Ukraine became an independent republic only in 1991 and has built itself as a nation from scratch, successfully avoiding potential ethnic strife. The country has an elected president and parliament. Government is administered through national ministries, oblast (provinicial) governments, raion (district) councils and town councils. Crimea is an autonomous region with its own Parliament.

After a famous "orange revolution" notable for its peaceful mass demonstrations, final round Presidential elections were held on 26 December 2004. The winner was opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko, who aims to start EU membership negotiations by 2007. The next Parliamentary elections are due in 2006. [Top]

FLIGHTS

Scheduled flights to Odessa can be booked with Austrian Arilines (via Vienna), Polish [LOT] Airlines (via Warsaw), Hungarian [Malev] Airlines (via Budapest), Czech Airlines (via Prague) and Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul). Alternatively, flights can be booked to Kyiv, and transfer to Odessa made by car, train or internal flight. [Top]

ACCOMMODATION

We use our own apartments, and decent local hotels. The hotel rooms have en suite facilities in Odessa and Izmail, the bathroom facilities may be shared in Vilkovo and Reni, depending on party size. In Odessa we use hotels in the city centre giving easy access to shops, cafes, museums and the beach. [Top]

TRAVEL

Depending on party size, local travel is by air-conditioned bus, minibus or 4WD estate car. Boat trips on the lakes and Danube are done in sturdy local boats (weather permitting; life-jackets provided). [Top]

CLIMATE

Mediterranean type: warm or very warm, sunny, with occasional strong winds and brief storms. Sun protection (hats, sunglasses, lotion, lip balm) is strongly advised, especially for boat trips. A light, wind-proof coat can also be handy. [Top]

5-day forecast

FITNESS

Walks will not be particularly strenuous: most are on fairly flat ground and not very long (about 3 miles / 5 km at most). Stops will be taken on the longer car journeys (a maximum of about two hours between stops). Boat trips are in powered launches; depending on water-level it may be necessary to wade ashore. The Danube and its associated lakes are generally calm but life-jackets will be provided and must be worn as instructed. [Top]

MEDICAL

Ukraine has a functioning and adequate health service, including dentistry. Doctors are available at all locations, and each town has one or more pharmacies. In case of serious emergency, repatriation can be achieved within 24 hours from any location. However, travellers should bring with them any special medications. [Top]

CREEPY CRAWLIES

The Lower Danube region is remarkably free of nasty bugs. But, as one might expect, there are mosquitos (especially in shady places like woods) although there are no mosquito-borne diseases. Accommodation windows are fitted with mosquito netting. The abundance of mosquitos varies each year, depending on the spring rainfall and temperature. They generally emerge from mid-June and occur in numbers until mid-September. A good repellent is advised for those sensitive to mosquito bites.

As elsewhere in Europe, the steppe grasslands have some sheep ticks and horse-flies but these rarely bite. Check your midriff and ankle area for ticks after walking through grass. [Top]

OTHER INFORMATION

The currency is the Hrivna (about 6 to €1 and 9 to 1), and can be widely obtained by exchanging Euros or US dollars, or from cash dispensers (bankomats). €100 is normally adequate for private expenses during the excursion (souvenirs, tips, meals in Odessa, entrance fees, etc.).

There are customs regulations controlling the export of large sums of local and foreign currency, antiques and all artworks.

There is cellphone coverage in all of the area for those with a roaming facility (arranged with the service provider before departure).

Ukraine uses 220V / 50 Hz electrical supply with continental two-pin sockets.

Internet access is available in Odessa, Reni and Vilkovo on request.

[Top]


 
Salix Ltd, registered in Kilia, Odessa, no. 328588, is a Ukrainian subsidiary of FIELDFARE International Ecological Development plc.
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