Dill-ightful Times in Moldova

Noroc and greetings from Moldova! 😀

 


DSC_5177Moldova is an Eastern European country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. 🇲🇩

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courtesy of Google images

It is currently the poorest and least visited country in Europe, but I would have never guessed that based on my experience there. On the contrary, I found the capital of Chisinau (pronounced Kish-eh-now) to be quite refined. 😍

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DSC_5153IMG_3140DSC_5121DSC_5138DSC_5136The city streets are calm, clean, and there are numerous parks with ample green space! 🌳

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solar charging ports

During my visit, I grabbed a coffee at an outdoor kiosk and headed to Valea Morilor Park, a leafy park on a lake, where people were jogging, walking their dogs, fishing, playing chess, and there was even a wedding photo shoot. 👰

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This guy was sitting on a bench below a floating mask. If only he would have scooted over a bit more! Hah!

DSC_5125Since it was the weekend too, lots of locals were out selling their goods, like honey, fruit, and pastries.🍯

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IMG_3030To add to the refinement, the city also has many museums, cafes, and high-end restaurants. 🍴

DSC_5126DSC_5133DSC_5134My favorite coffee shop was Toucan Cafe. ☕

IMG_3147IMG_3152They also have an emerging art scene with spaces like Artcor, and lots of beautiful street art. 🎨

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ArtCor in Chisinau

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DSC_5128DSC_5192DSC_5196DSC_5197Now, since I was so puzzled as to why Moldova was considered such a poor and untouristed country, I decided to take a free walking tour. 🤔

DSC_5141Basically, what I learned about the economy from my local guide was that this country has switched hands so many times throughout the years, they are constantly losing out on all their savings. For example, back in the early 20th century, they were known as Bessarabia and were part of Greater Romania. They had this currency during that time. 🇷🇴

Side note: our guide had all this old currency, which made the explanation much more helpful!

IMG_3011But then, after the war in 1940, Bessarabia dissolved and they became a satellite nation of the Soviet Union. When that change occurred, their currency and all their savings became worthless! After taking that major hit to their economy, they slowly began making savings using this Soviet currency. 💸

IMG_3012But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, they ONCE AGAIN lost all their savings! Their money became useless. Our guide said that these events are a total joke now. People have thousands and thousands of dollars worth of old currency just sitting like stacks of paper in their homes. Anyway, after taking that major blow, they finally became independent and adopted their own currency, the Moldovan Leu. 💰

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Fun fact: The various coins can be put together like a puzzle to form a bull. So cool!

IMG_3016But at this point, people were so terrified of their currency collapsing again, they’ve built exchange places on every corner, just in case they need to quickly switch to something stable like the US Dollar or the Euro. It was crazy…I saw five currency exchanges on one block alone! 💵

DSC_5160Anyway, their economy has been slowly increasing by 5% each year, and the government is making big investments in startup companies as well. We can only hope that things continue to progress in that direction in the future! Anyway, tourism is definitely still new here, and the locals seem very curious of foreigners. This cute, well-dressed old woman would do circles around the block just to watch our tour group. 😂

DSC_5146Anyway, aside from the tranquil environment and beautiful architecture, what made Moldova so DILL-ightful for me was its cuisine.

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DILL-IGHTFUL pastry stuffed with feta and dill

They have fresh dill in so many of their dishes, like plăcinte, a pastry filled with cheese, cabbage, or potato, and mămăligă, a cornmeal filled with beef and topped with ricotta, and egg.🥐

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IMG_3051IMG_3174IMG_3176And although I didn’t get to try any vino on this trip, Moldova is one of the largest exporters of wine in the world! I guess I’ll have to save that for next time! 🍷

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Up next, I went into the unrecognized country of Transnistria, one of the last remnants of the Soviet Union. Stay tuned to hear all about it! Until then! 😀

Getting There: 

To get to Moldova from Skopje on a budget, I took three buses. The first was a 5-hour overnight bus to Sofia, Bulgaria, then a 7-hour day bus to Bucharest, Romania. After spending a day in Bucharest, a city I had explored back in 2016, I took my final overnight bus to Chisinau. The total cost was 50 USD, but I also saved on two nights of accommodation, making it incredibly budget friendly! Tickets can also be bought without advanced reservation. Here are a few shots from my day in Bucharest.

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I didn’t try any traditional Romanian food, but the street eats, like pizza and gyros were phenomenal!

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Where to Stay:

While in Chisinau, I stayed at Tapok Hostel. The host was really sweet and the hostel is trying to raise money for animal shelters in Moldova. They even had a new litter of kittens they were caring for at the hostel. So cute! 🐈

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13 thoughts on “Dill-ightful Times in Moldova

  1. Beautiful pictures! You definitely piqued my interest in finding Moldova on the map. I have never had any ESOL students in the U.S. from Moldova. Great explanation about the monies and good description about the “woman circling around the block to see the tour group again.” The food does look good as does the wine.

    Like

  2. Awesome trip. You have certainly put that part of Europe on the map for me.. Maybe I should be exploring closer to home rather than rushing off to the Far East all the time. Great post with brilliant pictures to make it all come to life.

    Lieve

    Liked by 1 person

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