500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The underground wine city of Cricova

Moldova is not a well known country, especially in North America. But if anybody knows it, they know it for it's wines. The tiny country (1/10th the size of California) produces about 66 million liters of wine per year.

There are about 45 commercial wineries in Moldova, and 10 of them are open to public tours. In no particular order, we plan to visit three of them during our time here. Yesterday, we visited the second largest wine cellar in the world, at the Cricova underground wine city!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Orheiul Vechi Cave Monastery in Moldova

For our first full day in Moldova, we had been trying to get in to see one of the two largest wine cellars in the world. Both, are located right here in tiny Moldova! But, you need a reservation, and they were all booked up so there was nothing available for the last minute. We made reservation for 11:00am this morning, so you'll hear about that in tomorrow's blog post.

Instead, we went with our friend Andrei to the Orheiul Vechi Historical Sitenear the village of Trebujeni.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Travel Day - Iasi to Chisinau, Moldova

Well, we are now in the Republic of Moldova...the least visited country in Europe!

We are staying in Moldova for 10 to 14 days, first basing ourselves in the capitol city of Chișinău (pronounced Kish-i-now) (pop 650,000). We have a car rental booked for a week starting Saturday so that we can do some day trips. And after our week in the capital, we will stay somewhere else in Moldova.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Road trip to the painted monasteries of northern Romania

One of the things Ruth had on her Romania bucket list was to see the UNESCO listed painted monasteries of the Moldavian region of Romania.

We were running out of time, and it didn't look like it was going to be easy to do. But that's one of the reasons we made a quick two day stop here in Iasi. And, it's the reason we rented a car here.

We set off on a road trip at around 8:00am yesterday morning.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another shady car rental deal

We arrived in Iasi (pronouced Ee-ash) early yesterday morning and didn't waste any time. We only had the one day to see the city itself, so even though we were a bit tired from our overnight train journey we headed out as soon as we got things settled.

And, we had organized a car rental for our time here. We didn't really need it for yesterday, but we wanted to do a long day trip today so by picking it up yesterday we could get an early start today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A moment of panic...

Well, it was an interesting 24 hours, just as I figured it might be! But, we are now here in the city of Iași (pop 316,000) at the far eastern edge of Romania. We are only about 25 kms (15 miles) from the border of The Republic of Moldova. And we are at our AirBnb guesthouse...just as planned.

But it almost didn't happen that way. And there was the odd moment of panic.

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's going to be an interesting 24 hours...

Yesterday was a relaxing day, just like we planned.

It's tough when you're visiting a new country and you don't want to waste any time. There's too much to see and do and we don't want to miss any of it. But, we've learned that you need to take some down time. Yesterday's weather wasn't the nicest, so we took our time in the morning, got caught up on some computer things, and after lunch I had nap.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Another birthday, another country...

Happy 55th to my beautiful wife Ruth today as we once again celebrate her birthday in a new country. Last year we were in Colombia. We don't expect this trend to end anytime soon, so I wonder where we'll be for next year's birthday?!

We learned a couple of years ago that birthdays are not going to be travel days. Birthdays are relax days. Plus, it's raining today and we've pretty much exhausted the immediate area of things to see and do.

We are, however, going out for dinner!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Arsenal Park and a 2,000 year old ruins site

Interesting day yesterday as we first went to a Soviet military theme park, and then up into the mountains to the remains of a Dacian settlement from 2,000 years ago.

Had to put fuel in the car for the first time. This car is a diesel, and the onboard trip computer said that we were averaging 4.2 l/100 kms. That's 56 mpg! Wow! We had already driven over 800 kms (500 miles) and still had a quarter tank. It cost 150 lei ($49.50 CAD, $36 USD) to fill it up.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Searching for the tunnel of love...

A bit of a late start as we fight with internet connection problems here at the guest house. Frustrating, because the reviews had all mentioned how good the internet was at this particular place, but other than the very first day, we've had nothing but problems. Good thing I have the iPhone with a Romanian SIM card as a back up.

Anyhow, with the blog finally posted we headed out with two destinations in mind. One was to see the oldest church in Romania, and the other was to find the tunnel of love!