London to Volgograd

Ewan and Charley are finally on the road, all happy and excited to be there. First stop Prague. Ewan and Charley enjoy playing the tourist: having a caricature done, seeing the sights and visiting the Church of Bones at Kutna Hora (both in disbelief as to what it's made of).

After stopping in a fairy-tale town, Ewan and Charley head for the border into Slovakia and their rendezvous with the support team. Trouble arises in the form of forgetting to get the carnet signed at the last border. The difficulty causes tempers to flare and Charley and Russ have their first tiff. 'Negotiations' with the border guards finally grants them passage.

Once in Slovakia, Charley and Ewan admire the landscape and stop to visit a castle in Bojnice which they end up getting thrown out of. Just before the border out of Slovakia and into Ukraine, the guys are warned by a local about 'grossa mafia' in Ukraine.

Arrival at the border yields problems as according to the officials originals of the vehicle ownership documents are essential (their photocopies won't do). The situation becomes a nightmare as Ewan, Charley and the crew are forced to wait for more than 12 hours at the side of the road with only the use of the filthiest and smelliest bathroom in the world. At around 2am they are eventually let through.

Exhausted, they accept the invitation of a hotelier they met during the crossing delay. Deep in the woods they arrive at the expensive and gaudy-looking Kamelot hotel, and are immediately suspicious but uncertain as to whether they should be alarmed. Next morning they realise that the hotelier was really just a nice guy who wanted to help them.

On their bikes again, Ewan and Charley comment on how different culturally and yet so close geographically Ukraine is; like 'stepping back in time'. Unexpectedly they find themselves at in internal border (checkpoint) where Ewan kills the time by connecting with an old woman. Later in his video diary we learn how profound an effect their meeting had on him.

They are now racing to Kiev desperate to keep their 3pm appointment with UNICEF. They are pulled over for speeding but the policeman just wanted to talk about football with them. Once in Kiev, Ewan and Charley visit UNICEF's project with the children of Chernobyl. The visit reveals the importance of the charity's role in the trip (i.e. that it's more than just a vanity project).

A wander round the festive streets and their visit to Kiev is rounded off by sampling the famous Chicken Kiev.

High drama takes place at a petrol station when Charley accidentally sprays Ewan in the eyes with petrol, though in discomfort Ewan manages to crack a joke about it. David raises the grave point that if Ewan's eyes are damaged the trip may have to be cancelled. A full eye exam declares that luckily Ewan is not seriously injured.

On the map the guys judge how far they've come and have to go. They agree it feels like they've covered a lot of ground but it's not actually that far relative to the trip as a whole. There remains a "ribbon of tarmac" stretching out in front of them for miles and miles.

Meeting some 'well-dressed' (mafia) men in a small town, Charley and Ewan are persuaded to come and stay overnight. Contrary to their expectations (small, poor Ukrainian town) their hosts' house is huge and very modern! Owner Igor relates his life story including how he is now an electronics salesman. A nice dinner together is rounded off by Igor dramatically descending the stairs with a guitar and a Kalashnikov in his hands. Cue nervous laughter when the gun is revealed as unloaded.

Backed by Igor strumming and singing a traditional Ukrainian song, we see a montage of Ewan realising there are guns all over the house (and that maybe Igor doesn't sell electronics) and Charley standing with a dinner guest firing into the air outside. Ewan sings a U2 song in return.

Next day the guys are taken to visit a coal mine, Ewan jokes about why they might want to take them down underground. A kilometre down, they see old-fashioned mining methods and working conditions.

Feeling overwhelmed at the events of the last 24 hours, back above ground Ewan is itching to get on the road again but first has to deal with the townswomen wanting their photo taken with movie star Ewan and his bike. Igor's call to the border into Russia ensures that this time they ride right through.

A short hop into Russia and they are on board a ferry heading for Kazakhstan and starting, Ewan's declared 'phase two' of the journey. David comments how things are going to get much harder from here on in; Ewan and Charley agree that what they've been talking about for months "is just around the corner."

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