Edit Blog Post
Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 44.4479, 26.0979
My tour of part of Moldova north east of. Chisinau consisted of a monastery complex set in delightful gardens but what you see are modern reconstructions of buildings that were destroyed during the Soviet period, Moldova. was part of the Russian Empire, in 1918 it became independent and joined with Romania but in 1940 they split again, Romania supporting Germany and Moldova supporting Russia and Russia annexed it. They are ethnically Romanian and the moldovan language is Romanian.
Then went to a historic church complex in caves in an amazing ridge formed where a river does a u-turn when it runs into rocks it can't get through. Nice old priest let me take his photo.
Then we went for lunch at the drivers home in a village, cooked by his wife. Quite primitive, outside hole in the ground loo, kitchen separate from the house, huge garden full of veg, and chickens. Chicken noodle soup then beef stew and polenta with home made red wine. His wife proudly showed me photos of her daughter and granddaughters, who live in Manchester.
Really good hotel in Chisinau by the way, the art rustic, huge room, vicious air con, needed because horribly hot
Next day, that was Tuesday, I had to go to the ministry to get a stamp in my passport because of all the transdiniester stuff, but the place the websites tell you to go, including the British Embassy, is wrong do I trekked across town one way and trekked back the other. And had a brief look at the highlights of the town but they all seemed to be hidden behind an enormous fan zone for the football, which I had avoided the previous evening by watching in a nice open air restaurant over my grilled salmon and beers while comparing notes with Barny in the rosendale by text.
And then for my train to Bucharest which had clearly been sitting in the sweltering sun for hours before they pulled it into the station because it was sweltering and as we went neither far nor fast before stopping for hours, literally, for customs and passport checks, it is the eastern edge of the EU you know, it didn't cool down appreciably before 11pm. And by 7am we were in Bucharest.
That's today, Wednesday.
What was supposed to happen next was that I collected a prepaid ticket from a travel agent
in the station for the train due to leave six hours later for istanbul. But my travel monitors tell me that because of turkish train works that train is stopping at the Bulgarian border at about 1am and passengers being transferred to buses for the five or six hour ride to Istanbul. That completely removes the point of taking the train, so I cashed in that ticket and not wanting to suffer a 16 hour bus ride I booked myself into a cheap ibis hotel by the station and tomorrow will take the train....... to the airport to fly to Istanbul!
So I had some time to explore Bucharest, the booklet the hotel gave me suggested the top of the four unmissable things was the Museum of Houses, another museum of folk architecture. The guy at the desk suggested it was too far to walk (40 minutes in 34 degree heat and 55% humidity, I should say so) so I mastered the metro (not as impressive as Kiev!) only to find it closed, so thank the lord I didn't walk! This closed museum was, however, set in a beautiful park with a large lake and shady walks and close to their
arc de triomphe which is at least twice as big as the one in Paris.
And now I just had dinner which I shared with a Romanian french guy who makes stuff for the exhibition industry and is still working at the age of 82. Good company for dinner.
So istanbul tomorrow evening and, hopefully, the museum of Innocence on Friday.
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