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Monday, 29 July 2013

The Real Moldova

So firstly, forgive me for putting 'sex' in all my title headings. I only do it because when i look at the most popular search items, it seems to be all porn/sex related. Any regular posts just don't get a look in. So i can write a load of drivel and put 'sex tourist porno' as the heading and it gets 10,000 hits a day, and write a really interesting piece about the Soul of Moldova, and get 24 hits.

This of course does beg such questions as to what kind of society do we live in, and will I get banned when David Cameron puts in his porn ban...

The railway station was clean and had no beggars or hustlers...

That being said, I will now write a little bit more of the real things about Moldova, since the country doesn't have any information on it elsewhere, and because it is actually quite a nice place (to visit).

...Because they were all outside in the flea market!

After writing about there being nothing to do, my trusty soup making Moldovan friend decided to show me some real things about the city. We went to the Chișinău Botanical Garden where you can hire bikes and explore strange little places, see the 'gates of the city' (which are two big gatelike apartment complexes.) We walked back to the centre, along the main boulevard into town, and there do seem to be plenty cafes, bars and restaurants around there (just west of the city centre, along the road where the railways station is, if you want to explore) - if the tourist places are $1 a beer, then God knows about these places. Maybe they pay you to drink! There are also dozens of slot machine/money laundering places, if throwing money into a bottomless pit in a dark room is what you're into.

This is plainly a very important monument, but I have no idea what it actually is.

What hit me though was how small the city is. Like Tallinn, you can basically walk to the airport. In fact since there is no proper parking there (yes, crazy but true) walking may well be a good idea.

Texans will not be familiar with this, but guys with guns in Eastern Europe are not usually the good guys.

This is the view outside the parliament building,  and probably the nicest part of town to walk around in (because its leafy and flat)

Just outside the city, there are plenty of wineries to visit. I went to Orthei (home a cave monastery, which I didn't have time to go to) but also the home of Chateau Vartely which is pretty amazing if you like your  $5 bottle of wine to taste like a $100 bottle.

The general vibe of the city is what, to me was important. Unlike a summers day in Tallinn, the streets were not lined with drunk people (despite amazing alcohol prices) the taxi drivers didn't try to rip me off, and even the casinos were full of quite nice gun-free people (my ATM card that got stuck there, was returned to me two days later, with no money stolen!) At night, things are more about Kareoke than anything else though. God help them.

While there isn't an organised tourist industry as such, I found loads of lovely people on Couchsurfing who were taking people to Trans-Nestria, and all the other tourist sites on a regular basis, for no other reason than they are very nice people, and justly rather proud of their homely little country.

There you go, maybe i'll get a free dinner from the King of Moldova next time....

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