My last new country in the Balkans trip, Moldova! It is located between Romania and Ukraine and is the poorest country in Europe. They have already sheltered hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine during the war. For example, RTL News writes; “They give everything, even if they have nothing left for themselves.” I’m looking forward to meet these special people.
My first planned stop is the town of Costesti. The village is located on the lake and looks beautiful, but there appears to be no campsite, which is a pity. Okay, I have to keep in mind that the camping apps here are not completely up to date. Looking for another place to stay!
I stop in Balti at the parking lot of the swimming pool, where I can spend the night. Talk to some people right away and walk with them to the center. On the way back I got lost in the dark, haha what a clumsy action. I don’t have my new SIM card in my phone yet, so no navigation. Oh well, now I have to stop at a restaurant for local wine with tasty cheese and WiFi.
In the morning there is serene peace at this orthodox church and I enjoy a coffee and croissant in the city, what a wonderful start to the day!
The next campsite near Balanesti also failed, it is a 4×4 road to get there, just too crazy for my car. The area is beautiful for walking, what an amazing vast landscape! Please take a look at this video.
Driving is a different story in Moldova. The bumpy asphalt roads are so bad that I often don’t drive faster than 60 km per hour. There is also usually a dirt road in between. OMG so much dust!
Parking at locals, Barboieni
I am now urgently looking for water. Many locals get jerry cans of water from the well in the village, but I’m still looking for a connection with a tap.
I find a parking space with locals in the hamlet of Barboieni all the way in the west near the border of Romania. I can spend the night here and fill up with water, great! I immediately receive home-grown tomatoes, peppers and watermelon. We chat via Google translate and the children play with Leo. How incredibly nice these people are!
I say goodbye to the lovely locals and leave on time for Manastirea Curchi, a beautiful monastery in the town of Curchi. After my tiredness towards monasteries in Romania, I am now interested in new monasteries again!
Orheiul Vechi Monasteries
After half an hour’s drive we arrive at Orheiul Vechi archaeological site. I park the car in the valley and we walk up the ridge to the monasteries. A unique location!
Thérèse is the Cave Monastery with many candles and a beautiful view over the valley, the large stone cross on the top and we also walk to the adjacent church. It’s so hot, oof, Leo is looking for a little shade behind the stone cross.
Across the valley is a campsite with idyllic views and total tranquility according to the camping app. The reality is slightly different: a rock festival in the valley, screaming children at the pool and hassle with two other dogs… Just like a normal campsite 🙂
On the second day everyone has left and it is idyllic. Suddenly Jacky & Mark arrive from the UK with the army truck and the 4 cute dogs! I’ll stay another day and enjoy it to the fullest. Silence and a little breeze in the morning, what a great place!
But it’s time to continue, I say goodbye to Jacky and Mark and we drive to the Tipova Monastery cave.
Monasteries Tipova and Saharna
A walking path has been constructed between the various monasteries in the area. I park in Tipova and enjoy a varied hike with climbing and descending to the old Tipova Monastery cave, what a view of the river!
In Saharna a little further away there is a large monastery complex in the woods and on top of the mountain you can view a footprint of Mary in the small chapel.
Something else, Cricova is a large and well-known winery. There is no form of poverty to be found here.
I’m going out for dinner and can do my own tasting with white, rosé and red, Leo sleeps under the table. What a wonderful evening, I am completely satisfied!
Chisinau is the capital of Moldova! A normal city with all the well-known Western shops, but there are hardly any tourists to be seen.
I look for places where people relax. Lake Valia Moriloras is located in the middle of the city, the lake even has a sandy beach! We walk in Valea Morilor Park and climb the large high stairs with the fountains.
In Stephen the Great Central Park I drink coffee at Bonjour Café haha, it’s just like Paris here. We walk back to the camper via The Triumphal Arch and the Nativity Metropolitan Cathedral, a relaxed city!
What a special country! The locals are very pleased that I am visiting Moldova, all the way from the Netherlands. I have small talk everywhere, we talk hands and feet and in broken English. Prices are low in Moldova; diesel less than €1.10, groceries 50% cheaper, SIM card €2.50 for 40GB and coverage throughout the country!
Milestii Mici Winery
The Milestii Mici Winery has the largest wine cellar in the world. I will also taste the different wines here.
I can spend the night in the parking lot again, which is super convenient with the camper!
It is extremely hot in Moldova in August! Off to cool off a bit at the Black Sea in Romania. Would you like to read the continuation of my journey? Please be patient, this blog is currently being created.