Field Trip to Capriana

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September 26th 2010
Published: September 26th 2010
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We have been teaching for about one month, and the theme of our cultural studies unit is Moldovan culture. Kelsey set up a field trip to the Monastery of Capriana, and I brought my Intensive English students along also. Our bus arrived at school at 9am and we loaded up the kids and headed to the Village of Capriana which is approximately 40km north of Chisinau. We were very fortunate to have clear blue skies. The ride was very pretty passing vineyard after vineyard and drove into the forest which used to have bears, wolves, and deer, but they are no longer around. I have yet to find out if it is from over-hunting or some other reason. Heading into the village is a narrow road with a steep grade I was hoping that our bus has had better maintenance than some of the others i have seen. We pulled of at a scenic over look of the village and monastery.

Upon arriving at the monastery we were greeted by a cow that one of the locales put into the field to graze, there are not really any fences just old ladies that herd the cattle and put them in certain areas and stake them down with something an American might use to tie a dog up. Capriana was established in the 1400s when one of the victorious kings said he wanted to build a monastery. He would shoot an arrow and wherever it landed they would build. Legend has it that where the arrow landed it struck and killed a deer, and that is the site that was used. We toured the grounds of the monastery which we very well manicured and all of the buildings are in excellent shape, this I have not found to be the norm here. It turns out that the former President, with EU money spent several million euro renovating. A joke I heard was if 5 million euro was sent to renovate, 3 went to a Swiss bank and 2 was used for the renovation. The highway leading to Capriana was very good and this might be that the presidential palace is in the area, that the former president had built. When he lost power he took all of the furniture and fixtures with him. During his time in power his son became the wealthiest man in Moldova. Now that's communism for you. There is a current interim president but in the 18 months since communist party lost the majority there has not been one group with enough delegates to have a majority.

The church was not open for us to view but the chapel was, and it is beautiful. There are many ornate paintings on all of the walls and ceiling, some of Jesus and one of Stefan Cel Mare (the greatest king and ruler of Moldova). In the Eastern Orthodox Church women are to wear something to cover their head and I dont know of any rules for men, but I would dress nicely to go to church here.

We took a walk around the village and saw the local school, and many wells. During the Soviet Occupation, as it is called here, electricity was installed throughout the country. However, running water was not. So in many of the villages one can see many wells where people still get their water. This is very odd to me as there is high speed internet and phone service in most places. We had a picnic by the lake at the monastery, and before we headed back on the bus a wedding party arrived, and I really hope we are invited to a Moldovan wedding while we are here. The bride was beautiful and the whole party was really dressed up, these weddings can rival just about any wedding that I have ever been to. The bride wanted to take a picture with the kids, they all loved it. After getting back to school Kelsey's students drew pictures of the trip. All of the boys drew pictures of the horse pulled carts or trucks and the girls drew pictures of the bride. Capriana is the prettiest place I have seen so far in Moldova, and I highly recommend the trip if you make it to the country.

Additional photos below
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26th October 2010

Hi Nick. Are those hops in photo 211? Maybe you should start brewing again! Keith
31st October 2010

Yes they are, and they grow wild all over the place here! I am hoping to do some brewing while we are here, just tricky finding all the equipment and ingredients.

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