Friday, April 21, 2017

Something different-guess where? With the Wandering Writer!!

This time was a time to get into something more unusual than adventurous, and our wanderings brought us to Moldova.
I will start right away with a small introduction about Moldovan history just to introduce the country, I am going to tell you about.
Since this year (2017), we are also celebrating the centenary of the Russian Revolution, it seems to me appropriate to tell you about this incredible country, which history and the actual political situation is a bit uncommon.
Moldova is the formerly Bessarabia, and it was a part of the Principality of Moldavia until 1812 when it was annexed to the Russian Empire. However, with the Russian Revolution that dismantled the Tsarist regime, Bessarabia became independent under the name of the Moldavian Democratic Republic.
The independence didn't last long, as in 1918 it became part of Romania, which returned it to the Soviet Union in 1940, becoming the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was great news for the Moldovian, who could declare their independence once and for all.
Nevertheless, the country is not united, and since 1990 the strip of Moldovan territory on the east side of the river Dniester has been under the control of the separatist government of Transnistria.
No other countries, besides Abkhazia, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and South Ossetia has ever recognised Transnistria as an independent country, but this didn't stop them from having their own government, president, army, border police, currency and constitution.
At the time we were there, the border was also watched by Russian Peacekeeping operation, so you might understand that the relationship between Moldova and Transnistria is not always very peaceful.
This little introduction is to make sure you get the situation of the country to understand a bit what shaped the culture and heritage of the people.
Talking about the city of Chișinău, the capital of Moldova, I have only nice things to say. Maybe because this city brought me all the memories of my youth, which I keep very dearly in my heart. Of course, we are not talking about SPA's, shopping malls, bustling cities, but about a very relaxed lifestyle, which can bring you back to the life of the small cities in the sixties or seventies.

The city is well kept and offers a lot to the curious traveller, who wants to discover more than just the secret of a perfect tan. Something that got me wanting more was the food experience, and since the value for money is perfect, I would recommend it heartily. I cannot recall all the places where we had a meal, but each of them was an experience, and if you decide to go there, don't miss the chance to taste their game meat (bear, deer, or wild boar). At that time, the country was not yet ready to particular dietary requirements, and whether there were possibilities for vegetarians, the only things offered for a vegan, would have been a plain salad.
From the hotel, we had the chance to have a taxi driver who would have brought us to visit also Transnistria. Of course, if you are in Moldova, you cannot miss the chance to visit its other side of the sky, the part of the country which still would like to be part of Mother Russia.
In a country where most of the population doesn't speak English, we were afraid about our communication with our taxi driver.
Nevertheless, with our great surprise, our driver spoke a perfect English, and we could ask as many questions as possible, not only about the history of Moldova and Transnistria but also about the point of view of the common people. What we got, by talking with him was invaluable information about the reasons why people wanted to separate from Moldova.
As we arrived in Transnistria, we could notice one thing in particular: how the general infrastructure was more taken care of, than in Chișinău.
So the actual border is drawn by the Dniester River:

Nevertheless, you do not need to ask or to know whether Transnistria is made of that part of the Moldovian population, which was not truly happy with the independence from Mother Russia, because already by the architectural style, you can relate it to a typical Soviet style.
That sober and elegant style, which doesn't skimp on richness, when required. As a beholder you will surely appreciate the beauty of the buildings, and perhaps they gained their right to their independence. Maybe one day, the world will realise that recognising Transnistria as an independent country (like San Marino or the Vaticans) won't cause any harm.
I am not here to do politics; my mission is just to bring you the places I have been, hoping you will be inspired and will give a try to each of them.
A couple other things that attracted my attention were the weekly market, which offered a bit of everything, from local food stands to clothing items, shoes and other sort of services like, for example shoe shining.
Once a week, the city centre closes its streets to the traffic, and people can stroll, bike, skate on the streets from dusk to dawn, even if I was too tired to testify this timetable.
For this time, I think it is enough... see you next time and stay tuned!!!

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