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"How do people survive with such prices?" A Portuguese who came to Ukraine on a bicycle - about the war ignored by Europe, an angry lady from the train and bitter frosts

Manuel Oliveira visits Ukraine for the second time

For more than a month now, Manuel Oliveira, an ordinary 33-year-old Portuguese man, has been traveling across Ukraine by bicycle. He has traveled about 4000 kilometers to reach the country that has been bravely fighting the Russian occupiers for ten years.

In his Instagram blog, the traveler shows how Ukrainians live during a full-scale war, tells his followers about bomb shelters and food prices, and explains why he considers men in Ukraine to be friendlier than women. OBOZ.UA had an exclusive conversation with Manuel Oliveira.

- Manuel, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get the idea to travel the world by bike?

- I served six years in the Special Forces in Portugal. And one day I decided that I wanted to see the world not on TV, but in reality. So eight years ago I got on a bike and traveled to 19 European countries. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to continue. I have already visited Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America. In total, it's 42 countries. I usually work as a bartender in the south of Portugal in the summer and spend the rest of the time traveling.

''How do people survive with such prices?'' A Portuguese who came to Ukraine on a bicycle - about the war ignored by Europe, an angry lady from the train and bitter frosts

- In 2016, you visited Ukraine for the first time, and you were in Mariupol, which was not yet occupied by Russia. How did the locals react to you and did you communicate with them?

- They wondered what I, a tourist, was doing here. After all, the war in the east has been going on since 2014. But in general, I met friendly people and those with whom I managed to communicate did not want Russia.

- Why did you decide to go to Ukraine again at this difficult time for the country?

-That's why I decided to come back, to show Ukraine in this difficult time. Because I have the impression that for Portugal the war in Ukraine is over! The war in Israel has begun, and there is much less talk about Ukraine. I decided to go to show my followers how Ukrainians live during the war and that we should not forget about them and not stop helping them. Ukraine is a wonderful country with delicious cuisine, which I love, especially varenyky, and a rich culture. And that the comparative security in Ukraine and why it has not succumbed to Russian occupation is all thanks to the titanic efforts of the Armed Forces. And what annoys me the most is that the war is right under Europe's nose, and few people are doing anything. It is very sad.

''How do people survive with such prices?'' A Portuguese who came to Ukraine on a bicycle - about the war ignored by Europe, an angry lady from the train and bitter frosts

- What is the hardest part of your journey?

-The cold (smiles). God, it's so cold here! I have never been as cold as in Ukraine. People ask me why you went to Ukraine during the war, and in winter? I answer that I don't look for easy ways.

''How do people survive with such prices?'' A Portuguese who came to Ukraine on a bicycle - about the war ignored by Europe, an angry lady from the train and bitter frosts

- You are currently in Kyiv. What is the end point of your trip through Ukraine?

- I plan to leave Kyiv for Izyum, then Dnipro and finally Zaporizhzhia, where the cyclists' association will meet.

- Don't you think it's not a very safe route right now?

- A Ukrainian friend of mine is supposed to meet me in Izyum and give me a ride to Zaporizhzhia, where I will meet the Ukrainians I met on the way to Ivano-Frankivsk.

- And then you're going back to Portugal?

- No, I don't. From Zaporizhzhia, I plan to go to Mykolaiv, then Odesa, Izmail, and from there I'll get to Romania, and then by ship to Georgia, Armenia, and Iran. Then-I don't know, maybe I'll go back to Portugal.

''How do people survive with such prices?'' A Portuguese who came to Ukraine on a bicycle - about the war ignored by Europe, an angry lady from the train and bitter frosts

- Do you plan to visit the Russian-occupied territories of Georgia?

- I don't know. I'm still thinking about it. On the one hand, I would like to show how people live there, what they say, but on the other hand, it's about supporting tourism there.

- In one of your videos, where you are riding a bicycle, the first sirens for you are activated and it is clear that you are confused and do not know what to do. How do you react now?

- Now, unfortunately, like most Ukrainians, I'm used to it. It's not normal, but it's true.

''How do people survive with such prices?'' A Portuguese who came to Ukraine on a bicycle - about the war ignored by Europe, an angry lady from the train and bitter frosts

- Are you looking for a bomb shelter and is there a shelter in the hostel where you are staying?

- No, I am not looking for a shelter. The nearest shelter from my hostel is one kilometer away, so I prefer to stay inside at this point, away from the windows, rather than going outside.

- Do you think there are problems with bomb shelters in Ukraine?

- Of course there are! But what can I do...

''How do people survive with such prices?'' A Portuguese who came to Ukraine on a bicycle - about the war ignored by Europe, an angry lady from the train and bitter frosts

- What can you say about prices in Ukraine?

- For a Portuguese, it's okay. But for Ukrainians with a minimum wage of 170 euros, it is very expensive. For example, a kilogram of chicken breast costs more than 4 euros, while in Portugal it costs 7 euros with a minimum wage of 860 euros. I don't know how Ukrainians survive.

- What are your favorite cities in Ukraine?

- Ivano-Frankivsk and Kyiv. Ivano-Frankivsk is not only a beautiful and cozy city, but also the cheapest of all the cities I've been to in Ukraine. I also remember a story when I was traveling by train to Tatariv (Ivano-Frankivsk region) because my bike broke down and a lady stubbornly refused to let me go inside with it. It was at this point that a man stood up for me, and we became friends. From this I concluded, I don't want to offend anyone, of course, but... Ukrainian men are friendlier than women.

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