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!

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!

The church of Densus was built in the 7th century, on top of the ruins of a 4th century temple.

This is an old church!

They say that some of the blocks used in the base of the church came from a Dacian fortress located 10 kms (6 miles) away that was occupied in the 2nd and 3rd century. The Romans invaded the Dacian empire at that time and took over.

Roman columns support one side of the wall.

Once again, we were the only ones there. 
One of the benefits of traveling in low season!

Unfortunately, the front door was locked.

From a distance.

That church was built 700 years before Columbus came to North America!

From there, we went to the tunnel of love. This little known attraction was listed by the European parliament as a "hidden treasure". But finding it was not that easy. We knew that it  was between two towns on a fairly major road, and eventually saw a hand painted sign saying Tunelul Dragostei with an arrow pointing to a path across a field.

Sure enough, this was the place.

We parked at the side of the road, and walked in. Made it to the abandoned railway track and looked both ways. Sure enough, in one direction, we could see the "tunnel".

Very cool. We can see where it would be even better with leaves on the trees.

Ruth, walking through.

The tunnel is located between the towns of Glimboca and Obreja at GPS 45.482402, 22.282266

Scenery along the way.

Holy cow...what kind of bird lives here?? 
Ruth says it's a stork.

We had seen several examples of ostentatious housing in various stages of construction. Research tells us that these are Gypsie houses, constructed with money earned (or not) since the EU was left open to Romanian migration. Apparently many Roma (Gypsies) went to the UK where benefits were easy to get and sent the free money back home to build these fancy homes.

I'm sure that's not the case with all of them, but there are a lot of news stories on the internet about this exact problem.

In fact one story says that the nearby town of Hunedoara (where yesterday's castle is located) had over 50 unauthorized houses go up, or start to go up, in a short period of time. No building permits, no nothing, and sometimes even on land that didn't belong to them.

Romanian "Gypsie" house.

We're learning that the Gypsies don't have a very good reputation with the Romanian people, or anywhere in the world for that matter. We always have an open mind towards these things until we see for ourselves, but boy its tough to find anyone local that we've spoken to who has anything good to say about them.

Interesting stuff.

Today, we're off to see a bunch of old Soviet military equipment scattered through a forest. Sounds like an interesting walk!

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23 comments:

  1. Love the header picture, the tunnel of love. I am sure that it a storks nest, seen them in Czech, amazing.

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    1. I would love to see the tunnel of love in the summer time, it looks so cool!

      Yes, I mentioned to Kevin that I was pretty sure it was a stork's nest. We also saw them with you in Portugal.

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    2. I thought so but wasn't certain without looking at the photos.

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    3. Maybe we will see some more in Portugal or Spain next year. :-)

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  2. Interesting about the gypsies. And love the tunnel.

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    1. We had seen a few of these houses before but just never thought they belonged to gypsies until the other day when we saw a pile of them together, then we put two and two together and checked things out on the internet.

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  3. The arrow pointing to the Tunnel of Love should have had a heart through it!

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  4. Look up the TLC Gypsy Sisters about a Roma family in America, it was entertaining to watch to say the least.

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    1. That was an amazingly fascinating show to me! No longer get cable most of the time since we are traveling full-time in an RV. Is it still on?

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    2. We will have to see if we can find it on the internet to stream or download and watch later.

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  5. I had to google "tunnel love Romania", to see how this place would look with the leaves on - wow.

    We've learned a few things about the Roma (gypsies) too, or at least some of them: they don't let their kids attend school (the reason why they failed to properly integrate in the host societies after so many years), so most are illiterate, and their code of conduct does allow them to work - they can beg or steal, but an honest paycheck is a big no, no. They are resourceful though and the community is increasingly wealthy (especially now that they have access to the "rich" Europe) - hence the horrible architecture that is becoming a blight on the country side. And they never finish these awful houses, because no property taxes are paid on "work in progress". Imagine having this kind of neighbours - yikes!

    We saw scores of storks with chicks in their nests in the Northern part of the country and the Danube Delta - we visited at the end of June. Looking forward to your next post.

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    1. We would love to have been able to see this in the spring or summer, it would have been so cool. Ukraine also has one that I have seen pictures of many times on the internet.

      There is a huge group of these house that we have driven through just on the outside of town here in Hunedoara, they are huge, with lots of bling, and yes many aren't finished. Many houses in Mexico are never finished as well for the very same reason, they don't have to pay property tax. They are also not big houses, they are just normal people trying to have a house and save money, in many cases.

      I think it is too cold at this time of year for the storks to be nesting. Perhaps in Spain or in Portugal we will see some nesting as it will be nicer weather there. Their nests are huge and we see quite a lot of them as we travel through the countryside.

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  6. Wow, I have never seen a stork's nest! Looks like an Osprey nest on steroids! :-)

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    1. Yep, that pretty much describes them! We had seen quite a few of them in Portugal back in March/April of 2007 with the storks nesting in them.

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  7. Good info on the gypsies. Here in Mexico they are the same blood lines and have the same culture. I also found that true with the gypsies in Chile. Interesting culture. We don't have cable but there is a show you can see on YouTube about gypsy weddings in the U.S. and the culture is the same as all the others. Very very interesting.

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    1. We would love to meet some gypsies and actually be able to talk with them, we think it would be interesting. We would also love to see inside of some of these houses!

      Appartently it wasn't long ago that there was a gypsy wedding between a girl about 11 or 12 and a boy 15. The girl didn't want to get married and the family forced her, she ended up running away and finally the grandfather said she could live apart until she was older. I hope that that part of the culture could change for the better.

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  8. Sure appreciate your efforts to post amazing photos and travel adventures every day! It is a lot of work and I imagine pretty frustrating when you have spotty Internet. I'm loving all the architecture from the ancient castles to the city buildings. The history lessons are a bonus, too :) Thank you!

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    1. Yes, it does take a lot of work but it is just habit now. Luckily the internet got fixed yesterday and seems to be working much much better today. We have only lost it a couple of times this morning.

      We are loving it all, the history, the architecture, the scenery and way of life both in the city and the county, oh and the wine and beer. :-)

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  9. Very ironic that there was a storks nest very close to the tunnel of love. Does make sense though.

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    1. Lol, never thought about it that way! ;-)

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