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Bucharest - Chisinau/Kishinev (Moldova)

Moldova ? I hear you ask . Yup. I asked the same when I looked at a map of how to get from Bucharest to Odessa. Given I would be passing right by it’s front door step it seemed rude not to give it a look. First mistake I made was pronouncing Chisinau with a soft Ch as in Cheese-ee-now. It’s not even a hard Ch as in Kiss-ee-now. It is Key-she-niv. Now you’ve being told.

A supposed 8.5 hour bus trip was in the worst conditioned bus of the trip. Sweat sponged seats, red dollies for curtains,a front windscreen that looked as though it had run the gauntlet in Kabul, a driver who looked as though he had come straight from a Bucharest beer festival complete with bloodshot eyes and tyres more bald than me. However what it did have which no other bus on this tour has had is wi-if. Ridiculously quick wi-if at that and FREE. 

It’s nice to have company when you sleep. 

Romanian highway traffic

The road through northern Romania is very very flat and straight. The scenery is bland and very dry. Almost all of the land is given over to crop farming or vineyards. Yes. Vineyards. You read that right. Following is a selection of bland landscape shots. What was surprising was the lack of foliage . As in trees or forests .

Roadside vinyeard on a 27 degree autumns day in northern Romania.

Spot the trees 

I thinks you get the drift now. It was 9 hours of tedium.

At the “make toilet “ break I purchased a Coke. It was 3.5 RON. I handed over a 5 RON note and got 1 RON back and a mini mint packet. Oh ok. Have traded a few currencies in my time. Never mini mint packets though. 

Despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe it had the grandest border sign of any country I’ve visited on this tour.

Same traffic issues as Romania though.

Crossing into Moldova it became apparent that town supplied water was non existnent . Every house or nearly every one in this town had a well at the front fence.

Facts on Moldova

:it’s the least visited country in Europe

:it’s the poorest country in Europe

with 34 % of the people living under the poverty line and surviving (or not) on less than EUR 1.75 a day.

:it was one of the richest states in the former USSR.

:Mileştii Mici wine cellar just outisde Chisinau is the worlds largest with over 2 million bottles of wine 

:Moldovan wine is banned in Russia

:1940 wasn’t a great year. Chisinau was invaded by the Germans in June, then the City was levelled by a devastating earthquake in October, and at the beginning of the next year the Luftwaffe obilterated anything still standing.

: according to WHO. On planet earth only Belarus consumes more alcohol per capita than Moldova. 

: it’s landlocked 

:the national animal is a big cow

: it’s great for twitchers with over 300 different spieces of bird

: it debuted at Eurovision in 2005

: the National dish is porridge

: it has a National day dedicated to celebrating wine. Well the day spreads over 24 hours into two days. October 2-3.

: they’re strong people.Nicolae Birliba is a 9 time world weightlifter.  In 2011 aged 49 he raised a 16kg kettle bell 2,575 times

: they celebrate Christmas over 3 days. 24th, 25th and 26th,

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