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I know him simply as “Fongy”. In this part of the world they know him as “Stephen The Great”. Which also seems fitting for the man I know

Ol Steve was Prince if Moldavia from 1457 to 1504. He fought basically everyone from the Ottomans to the Polish to ensure Moldavian independence and is regarded by modern Moldova as one of their greatest hero’s. Canonized by the Roman Orthodox Church in 1992 he is venerated as Stephen the Great and Holy. 

What do we think? Another editon of the Trump Tower Hotel chain? An apartment block for Moldavian oligarchs? An ostentatious Orthodox Church? Say yes to any of those and you’d be wrong. It is in fact Moldova’s Presidential Palace. Yes. Go figure.

Not quite Sydney opera house in terms of aesthetic beauty but a opera and ballet house nonetheless. Hosting UFC type cage fighting next week too. Gotta love a communist era building. 

Chişinău’s Metropolitan Cathedral “Nativity of the Lord”

Moldova’s Army Museum. Although an exhibition presented entirely in Moldavian and somewhat disorganised and impoverished they don’t take a step back in being very forward about their military victories against the Russians and Communism in general.

You know you’re in a developing country when there are instructions in the restaurant toilet.

A common theme amongst most of the capital cities visited on this trip. An Arch of Triumph.

Autumnal lunchtime colours. 

Coffee bean grinders in “Coffee Molka”.  A quirky coffee house to start your day should you ever be in this part of the world.


: things are cheap. They have to be in order to be affordable to the public. A coffee will set you back 50 pence (85 AUD cents). 

: stewed rabbit is a local dish and a plate of that with accompany bread will set you back £3.50.(AUD$ 5.80)

 : a pint of beer will be 90 pence (AUD$ 1.50) 

: beyond the main boulevard known as Bulevard Stefan cel Mare Chişinău’s streets are unlit, pothole ridden, and a challenge to navigate. However what they might lack in appearance they make up for with character. You see sights and hear sounds you’d not experience elsewhere in Europe.

: there seems to be an infinite supply of Chinese made shite for sale in the local “Central Market”.

: there exists an elderly woman on most corners selling small bouquets of flowers or just simply sitting. Not openly begging but simply relying on their state of destitution to hopefully be given something to help them through this day and the next. With winter around the corner where temperatures drop to -20C in this part of he world I shudder to think. 

: next time your kids play up tell them they’re lucky they weren’t dropped off at “Chişinău Hospital for Abandoned Babies”. Heart wrenching and then some.

: there seems to be an inordinate amount of 18-28 year olds

: the wealthy certainly stand out.

: anyone blonde haired certainly stands out

: most locals buy their food at a large farmers market or from street vendors who have simply stumped up on a street corner selling everything from bunches of parsley to hand knitted woollen shoes for babies. I mean everything, and anything that hasn’t being handmade looks like it’s come straight from a factory in China.

: the local bus system is a mish mash of mini buses whose drivers clearly haven’t read the “maximum passengers” part of the manual. 

: if it’s such an impoverished country why does everyone own a mobile phone. My Vodafone contract is almost criminal. How do these guys do it? 

: when is this unbelievable Autumn weather going to end? It hasn’t dropped below 22C during the last 16 days. 

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