Moldovan Dave

Trip Start May 22, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2007

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Flag of Moldova  ,
Monday, June 11, 2007

The night train to Chisinau wasn't as nice as the one to Budapest. Four beds and we shared the compartment with a Moldovan woman who spoke no English. Didn't get that much sleep, but it wasn't bad. It was about a 12 hour ride.
Arrived in Chisinau and started walking to the bus station where we would pick up a local bus to Criuleni where we would meet Dave. Took about an hour to find the bus station and after about an hour and a half, realized it was the wrong station. Hopped in a cab and for 20 U.S.D., headed off on the hour ride to find Dave. Got to town and were dropped off at the bus station. Wandered around the town for about an hour until going into the Moldovan consalate to ask for directions. Low and behold, a person there knew Dave and led us on the 15 minute walk to his center. Just happened to run into Dave's fiance on the way and then finally found Dave. He took us up to his lovely apartment (about as big as mine for 35 U.S.D. per month) and we had a lovely lunch and chatted Soviet Union.
Spent about six days in Moldova. Dave's town is pretty small, but nice (no pigs though). Woke up most mornings to roosters crowing and dogs barking.
Took a couple of day trips. Went to a fantastic underground winery, Milestii Mici. It's tunnels are something like 50 kilometers long. We got picked up in a van, at the entrance, and drove around the wine town for about 20 minutes before being dropped off and enjoying a fantastic underground meal and wine tasting. I wish I could explain how wonderful it was, but I really can't. I know that if a place like that existed in the states, there's no way I could ever afford it. And when I say ever, I mean EVER. Oh, did I mentioned we got serenaded by a violinist and accordian player. Oh, and we each got two bottles of wine along with the three bottles we drank for "tasting." Phenomenal!
We spent one day going to Vadul Lui Voda. It's the Moldovan beach resort, complete with water slides. Kim's tan (finally). Now, for those of you who don't know, Moldova is not on an ocean or sea. Instead, it has a river, the Dniester. This river seperates Moldova and Transnistria. Transnistria is a communist country that speaks nothing but Russian. By country, I mean not a country. They have their own border guards, own money, own president, but no other country recognizes them. They are seen as part of Moldova. So, on paper, they are just another part of Moldova, but in practice, they are their own country. We didn't go, b/c it can be a bit of a hassle getting out of the country.
Spent much of our time here just chilling with Dave and Tania. Learned a new card game called Stupid. The actual name is Russian, but I don't know how to spell it. It was good to see a friendly face after being on the road for three weeks.
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