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!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Better to be cautious...

Yesterday morning we did some internet and then went to the common room for breakfast. Breakfast is included in our room cost of 60,000 pesos ($28.00 CAD) here at Kaleidoscopio Hostel, and our host Martha even cooks it for you.

She was a little surprised when we asked for arepas instead of toast...most people want the tourist breakfast. And she was so apologetic that she didn't have any and promised to have some for this morning's breakfast.

So we had eggs and cheese and coffee and hot chocolate. Then, we went over a local map with Martha and she showed us some of the things we should see in the area...if the weather cooperated.

Ruth, having coffee in the common area.

Hostel owner Martha, showing us the map.

She explained the areas we shouldn't go to, including the main market. She said if you want to go there, leave all of your belongings at the hostel and don't take more than 20,000 pesos ($9.20 CAD) in cash. Apparently it's a bit of a sketchy area and there are a lot of beggars.

Okay. I think we'll just avoid the market!

Again, we're here at the end of rainy season, so you can pretty much expect that it will rain at some point during the day. We don't have an umbrella (although we may buy one) but we do have a couple of cheap rain ponchos.

The view out of our bedroom window. It is not yet raining!

One of the downtown streets. You can see the steeple of the cathedral in the distance.

Looking towards another church.

See the guy bottom right with the orange hat talking on his cell phone? He made me nervous. We were on a bridge, going in a direction frequented by tourists, and I had the good camera out. As soon as he saw this, he hurriedly got on his cell phone and was staring right at me the whole time. Maybe me being paranoid, but after we were mugged a couple of years ago in Zacatecas, I am very aware of these types of things. I continue to think that he was calling his buddies to tell them of a couple of easy targets.

It started to drizzle with rain.

A neat statue.

The road we were on continued up to some nice viewpoints, and because of the drizzle there weren't that many people around.

Ruth, enjoying the view. No blue sky though!

It started raining harder, and we saw a church down one of the side streets. Hoping that it was open, we headed that way just to get out of the rain. Sure enough, it was open. There were a few people in there and it looked like a service was about to start. It did, so we stood in the entranceway looking out onto the street. But at least we were sheltered from the rain.

A few people came and went, and after 10 minutes or so a couple of guys approached us. One was a little unsavoury looking, and the other one spoke to us and asked (in Spanish) where we're from. I said Canada. Then, he went in the church, and the sketchy looking one stayed outside. A minute later the guy from inside the church came out and went left. The other guy went right, and positioned himself under a tree a few meters away. 

So we're thinking this is not right. Again, possibly paranoia, but we think they were waiting for us to leave the church.

So we did. But not by walking! There was a taxi office across the street and a taxi pulled up and a driver got out and went in the building. As soon as he came out, we flagged him down and got out of the situation.

Better to be safe than sorry, and we feel good about the decision.

We got the taxi driver to take us right downtown to the main cathedral. Cost was 3,700 pesos ($1.75 CAD). It was raining even harder when we got there, so we went right inside. There was a service going on, so we took seats.

After the service, I took some photos.

It is a cavernous concrete structure...but quite impressive!

The stained glass was very colorful.

We waited out the rain for another 15 minutes or so and then ventured outside.

Cathedral in Manizales, Colombia.

One of the main streets leading off the central plaza.

At this point, we decided to walk and look for somewhere to have some lunch. We walked along the street in the photo above, and eventually came to a shopping mall overlooking the plaza in the next photo.

Pretty church with lots of wood. Too bad it was closed.

Looking back at where we came from.

We found a little fast food type of place.

This is an areburguer. A hamburger patty on a corn arepa with all the fixings We ordered one of these, and a chorizo sausage on a stick with chips, and then shared them. Lunch was 8,700 pesos ($4.00 CAD) for the two of us.

Then we went back outside. The rain had now totally stopped.

Manizales, Colombia.

Manizales, Colombia.

We went to a big Exito grocery store and bought some stuff to make dinner in the hostel. Just some salad and chick breast fillets. Chicken is cheap! There was enough for four meals, and the boneless, skinless fillets cost 7,500 pesos ($3.50 CAD).

Watched a movie on the laptop in the evening.

We had better get used to the rain...it's supposed to rain for the next five days!

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The Jackery portable travel battery charger for your smart phone or camera deal is back! Today only...if you haven't got one of these yet, today is the day!


And in Canada, the Braun wet-dry shaver is on sale. Really good reviews. If you can get it to ship to the U.S., it's a great deal for Americans taking advantage of the exchange rate...




27 comments:

  1. Yes better safe than sorry thats for sure.
    Kinda yukky weather here for s few days too, but it will get better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were sorry that we didn't make to the destination that we wanted to visit but with the weather the way it was we wouldn't had much of a view anyway. As you said better safe than sorry!

      Hope the weather improves for you, especially after seeing the picture of your car with the snow on it.

      Delete
  2. too bad you are encountering the unsavory side of the country, yes, it may be simply paranoia but I would always go with my instincts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it is too bad but no matter where you travel this situation can come up. It definitely didn't feel right so we just got ourselves out of it the best way we could.

      Had a great time the rest of the day though. :-)

      Delete
  3. You two made me nervous just reading this post. I think you were right in getting out of their. When our daughter and I went to Italy, we were warned over and over again to carry our purse over our head and in front of us. We did. No problem.

    I love the statue. Very unique.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We feel we did the right thing g too!

      When we travel we always carry our bags or my purse over the head and shoulder and we don't carry much money or any credit cards with us unless we know we will be using them. We try to have as little with us as possible that way if something gets taken we aren't out by much.

      Delete
  4. Always good to trust your instincts and be aware of what is going on around you. Lovely county and I enjoy seeing the pictures of the old churches. I am always in awe of the design and architecture in older buildings and churches. So beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, even if you are a little parinoid about things it is better to follow you instincts.

      We are the same when it comes to architecture, we love seeing the buildings and churches old and new.

      Delete
  5. Interesting looking city and I bet there are lots of alleyways that you should not head into.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is an interesting city with it having two city centres, or at least what looks to be two of them and the way the historical city centre sits on the ridge of the hillside with streets heading downhill on both sides. There didn't seem to be any alley ways.

      Delete
  6. Please tell me that "perro" on the menu was not dog served three ways!!!!!?!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I laughed when I saw that on the menu as well, thankfully they are referring to hot dogs!

      Delete
  7. Don't you just love trying local food? Man, I think it's fun. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've traveled extensively for work in South America and no nothing of Europe. That said, South America has a very European flair.

    I love the view from your window. Very nice. We're in Cancun so I can't complain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we sure do like trying the local food, we just have to make sure that it is gluten free first. :-)

      The view from our window in Pereira is even better, we can see mountains from it.

      Delete
  8. when we were in Columbia in 1978 Alka Seltzer was listed on every menu.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haven't seen it listed on any menus yet, maybe they have improved the food! :-)

      Delete
  9. You were very wise to be so cautious. Good eye you had on those sketchy fellows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We think so as well. We went back today and made it to our destination this time and it was a much better walk without having our bigger camera with us or our backpack. This time we didn't feel so much like a target.

      Delete
  10. The situation could happen anywhere...even in good old USA. I was warned do not go to Harlem in NYC...however not knowing NYC and my first trip there I accidentally got off the subway in Harlem. Soon as I climb up out of station, I knew I should be there...bldgs were burned, men passed out on streets and a couple of fellas tailed me for a block so I turned around and took the subway back to 58th.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are very right on that Rita! Having said that Harlem is quite a destination now in New York, still not sure I would head there in the night though.

      Sounds like you made the right decision too!

      Delete
  11. Always trust that spidey sense! :P

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  12. What's the pink stuff on your burger?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. Not really pink, I suppose,...but some kind of mayonnaise based sauce.

      Delete

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