February 25, 2022, 7:15 am
Despite the gravity of the situation, the overall atmosphere in the van was celebratory. These cousins really loved spending time together, and given how far apart we lived, they only got to see each other a few times per year. The parents may have been worried, but the kids seemed convinced that it was a party!
Our initial plan was to go to Poland, since it was less than a 2-hour drive away. However, we talked with American friends who had headed for Poland the day before, and they were still waiting in line at the border after 24 hours! They said that a worker from the U.S. Embassy had told them they would have done better to go to a Hungarian border crossing. Since we had many connections in Hungary and very few in Poland, this information simplified the decision of where to go. We plotted a southern route to avoid Lviv and the danger of air strikes near that city and headed for the Carpathian Mountains.