Posted by: bkropf | April 24, 2008

Oh Moldova

We got on the train for Moldova and were very unhappy to see we had two other people in our compartment. It is just so nice to have the entire sleeping area to yourself. The leg from Romania to Moldova is probably the most nervous I have been on the trip. We have heard of border crossing shake downs, custom forms only in Russian, and general unfriendliness. We immediately panicked when the Romanian guy with us asked if we had gotten our visas. We hadn’t! We quickly started searching the Lonely Planet and found we didn’t need any as of a year ago (We had checked that but we were worried things might have changed).

 

The car we were traveling on was actually very clean and comfortable. It was funny because the train was over 30 years old and there was relatively no wear and tear. The German guy in our compartment was from Berlin and was coming to Moldova for the European Dance Championships (Sounded really European to me). He said he was 15 when the wall came down in Berlin so it was really interesting to hear about his first experience going to ‘the west’ from ‘the east.’ Growing up with Communism he said it was really interesting his first trip to Romania. It was a school trip and when they got to Romania the teacher said, “You are going to see some things they don’t teach in school.” (She said this because in the communist schools they only taught about the triumphs of communism). When they went through Romania the grain fields were dying and were completely black from all the suit coming from the factories.

 

Another guy, a Moldova native wearing jeans with a jean jacket, started talking to us. He seemed very wealthy so I had to wonder if his parent were in the government or something (Moldova is known for organized crime and corruption). He was really nice and said if we had any trouble at the border to talk to him. He had been to the United States and really liked it.

 

We eventually got to sleep and were waken at the border at 2am. The first wave of government officials check all of us out of Romania. Then we had Moldova’s custom officials who searched all our bags (I don’t know what they were looking for, Moldova is arguably the poorest country in Europe, are they worried we are going to bring in some new cool technology that is going to help them?). The custom form asked all sorts of weird questions that sounded eerily communist such as if we had polygraph equipment, etc.

 

Finally at 6am we got through the border with no problems and arrived in Chisinau, the capital. The directions to the hostel were entirely unreadable so we took a taxi to the hostel.

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Responses

  1. So did you make an offer on the Bran castle. That’s the one that was for sale. Have you bought me a gift yet, it better be a good one. 🙂

  2. I offered 25k, the most I figured I could swing. They said no and punched me. I did see an American soldier there so I talked to him and his friends and one of them was from Seattle and just bought a place next to Bran and is now living in Romania. Interesting.

  3. Hey. I just wanted to say that one of my favorite classmates is from Moldova. She’s convinced me that Moldova is the best place in the world. Her parents have a personal vineyard and they make two or three barrels of wine in their basement every year. Anyways have fun, stay out of trouble and bring me back something nice.

  4. Hey, I just wanted to say that one of my favorite classmates is from Sweet Home. He convinced me Sweet Home was the best place place in the world. His family makes timberframe homes.

    Seriously though, Adam, nice to see you reading the blog. Have fun on your trip too!


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