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MOLDOVA    INFO & DIARY

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 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
The Republic of Moldova is an unitary parliamentary republic, covering 33.846 square kilometres. It is home to 2.998.235 people, of which 95% are Christians. The currency is Leu, worth 0,36 Danish Krone and 0,05. The GDP is US$6.084 billion.
Moldova has a climate which is moderately continental; its proximity to the Black Sea leads to the climate being mild and sunny.
Among the more interesting larger mammals are the Gray wolf (Canis lupus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian badger (Meles meles) and the European otter (Lutra lutra). The list of superior plants in Moldova numbers 1540 species that belong to 550 genera and 101 families. I have so far not been able to find any I in particular will search for.

DIARY
11/7 2018. I enters from Romania, over the Donau, and the GPS estimates the 240 kilometres to the first sight can be done in a bit over three hours. Well, the first hour is spend at the border crossing. Real polite officers on both sides, but they just have to punch so much in into some forms - same information again and again . I have to pay 5 for the vignette and show my driving license. At times like this, I really wished I had one. Then again, my truck-driver certificate do nicely, just like in Romania.

Moldova is somehow more rural, at least in the southern half, which I drive through now. Here are huge fields, but no farms at all. A few large villages and small town with a lot of countrysite in-between. The road is terrible! Some stretches are gravel, other real worse; partly sealed, lines of potholes and rocks.

I actually meet a lot of Germans and Austrians, joining the Pothole-Rodeo.com. I don't get to talk much with them, but it seems like a great thing they are into.
The potholes and bumps forces me to drive rather slow and pay way more attention to the road than usually. That cause me to make less pictures, and many of those I make, are too blurry or more window frame than motive. Never the less, I still get to enjoy the great drive in a perfect summer day.

The landscape is huge, flat hills, mainly with farmed fields. Most are with wheat, corn, sunflowers and vine. Some areas are just grass and bushes, but here are no livestock, grassing them. Some areas have a lot of fruit plantations. Some of the roads are lined with a endless line of walnut-trees. I pass some lakes or widen sections of a large river.
The villages seem fairly modern; hardly any wooden houses, but bungalows from around the '60-'70 - at least that is how they look.

I meet some real modern cars, but also ancient Soviet military vans and lorries. Here are horse wagons, donkey carriages and huge brand new trucks.
At one point, I'm at the Ukrainian border, but I rather not take that shortcut. The detour, however, is by a really bad gravel road, and rather long.

I meet the right road, but now, it is copplestones! The next town is rather big, and they are constructing a rather large church. I find a ATM, and withdraw dome local Lei - although I haven't a clue about how much I will need.
it is a tough drive, and I look forward for a stroll around the first sight; the fortress of Bendery.

Then, just ten kilometres before I get to it, I meet yet another border. It is the Transdniestr, and a bit tricky, as Moldova does not really recognise their independence. I was sure the border was made up by the river, but it seems like it runs parallel with it, around three kilometres within Moldova! But the hotels and sights I have around here, are apparently in Transdniestr!

I have read a visa takes forever to obtain, but a ten hour visit can be bought at the border crossing. But then I can't sleep there? The Moldavian officer not only talk good English, he is also really informative and helpful. It seems like I can enter and stay the night in Transdniestr. And when I will return and exit from Moldova, they don't make any notes about I'm leaving - as they don't see it that way. Then I enters Transdniestr. Photos: Southern Moldova. I will return.....

12/7. After having seen Transdniestr, I enters Moldova in the central part. I have to show my vignette, but then I'm aloud in. I head a bit south towards Chisinau in a big arch, through the countryside. Here are small farms in villages, some way out of a gravel road. Their water originates from deep wells, found everywhere.

The farms are almost all fenced in with tall stone- or iron walls, guess they still have wolves? When I reach a valley along the river with horses, ducks and cows, I call it lunch. Further out the trail, I enters a real bad gravel road to get to the Orheiul Vechi area.

The area have some archaeological diggings, but I'm mainly interested in the nature, and the cave monastery. The river have cut itself deep into the old seabed in some hairpins, and from the top of the rocks, there are great view over to the river and the narrow valleys.

The entrance to the rock monastery is under a little clock-tower, and I almost misses it. A long tunnel leads in to some bigger rooms. Here are lots of candles and icons, and a great view from the balcony. In some small rooms in an other section, the monks have sleeps. A few small icons are found way back, with their own little oil lamp.

I head out the other way, and reach a sealed road within long. More huge fields and small villages, and just before Chisinau, I find a market. This one is almost only with car parts and tools. I don't find anything for the Lupo though.
A bit further on, and I reach the capital
Chisinau, which is real calm and relaxed.

I try a latte at a nice cafe, and find out the entrance for the hostel is in the back of the house. And there are no doorbell on the locked door. But some windows are open, and I can shoot! I get a real cheep dorm bed, and head into the city at four.

I should be close to the centre, but is sure don't look that way. I find the main street, and here are some huge, white buildings and a few fancy shops. I find a tourist market, but I have it to my self. I do most of the main street, and then find my way to the huge market.

Here are everything from an entire cheese hall to speakers and cell phones. Clothing, household, vegetables, dry food, books, shampoo, shoos, delicatessen, coffee but I fail to find fresh meet.
I can live without -  actually do! - but I find a real nice vegetarian pizza on the way home.
Orheiul Vechi area and Chisinau.

13/3. The hostel is real quiet, and I get a real good night's sleep. I set off at eight, heading towards Soroca Fortress. It is 150 kilometres through the northern part of the country, and the landscape is familiar. Huge but low hills with farming, villages every 25 kilometres and and a bigger every 100.

The wells in the last bit is more old-school, but the houses slightly newer to look at. Here are several lakes, fields with larger herds of cows and some with a lot of goats. The traffic is light, the road all right, although attention is demanded.

I reach Soroca Fortress a bit before noon, and it is a little pretty fortress. It have been completely rebuild recently, and the location right next to the river make it even more pretty. Here are not much to see, except the buildings, and I head back to the modern city to spend my last Lei on lunch.

I get two different salads and a pot of tea, and are left with money enough for two chocolate bars. Then I set the GPS for the Ukraine border. More landscape just like the previous, real nice, but after 300 kilometres in one day; I kind of know it.

I reach the border, and here are only five cars in front of me. Never the less, it take 45 minutes to process us.
The north with Soroca Fortress.

Moldova is a pretty little country, with some lovely people. However, unless you are really into huge farmed hills, here are really not that much to see. I have driven 599 in total, taken 525 photos and spend a total of 22, this time most on food; 8.
From here, I head into Ukraine.

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