The village of Ducaj near Boge, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Tirana Airport, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sometimes you have to make do with what you've got...

Well, we've been taking a bit of a blogging break the last few days. Just spending time with family, and so we haven't really been doing anything special. Well, it's been special to us...but not really worth writing a daily blog post about.

Of course there's going to be lots of daily blogging going on starting tomorrow when we fly to Spain!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Moldova Tour Guide

Moldova is a very small country, but we recently spent two full weeks there and wanted to condense our experiences into a single blog post so that people who want to visit can have a single reference source.

Despite the fact that we were there for two weeks, we still felt there were areas we didn't see that we would have liked to. So we'll have to return someday.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Only one problem...

Lots of planning going on for the next few months of travel. But, while all of that has been taking up a fair amount of time, we've also been enjoying being with family and friends in Ottawa. After all, this is why we came here!

Christmas Day was really fun. We enjoyed watching our grandchildren open their gifts. At the ages of 3 and 5, they are right into Santa Claus and all the Christmas excitement.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Booked three flights yesterday!

Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions both here and at facebook on where to go after our two month motorhome tour of Spain and Portugal.

Many of you suggested Croatia, and Turkey and of course we really want to go to those places eventually. But logistically, it was going to be too expensive and the flight back to Morocco didn't line up well at a decent price.'s where we're going...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Help us choose a destination!

We had been wanting to visit Algeria in March or April. They don't get many visitors, but every report we have read from people who have been there has been positive. It's a Muslim country, and they have an old bureaucratic Soviet style visa system, so most Westerners simply avoid the place.

But we're not most Westerners.

So I did the research into getting the visa. The first obstacle was that we had to apply from our home country.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Interview on the radio this morning

So, we were up before 6:00am this morning, and walked about 15 minutes from our son's apartment to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) headquarters in downtown Ottawa, Canada. We had slept at our son's apartment to avoid having to drive into the city with possible rush hour traffic problems. We sure do not miss that headache!

We had been told to arrive at 6:30am, and we would be ushered right in for our 6:40am interview.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Woke up to a very Christmas like snowfall this morning. They had been calling for 2-3 cms (an inch) overnight, but we've got more than that now and it's still coming down.

It's all very pretty though. And there's no wind, and the temperature is right around freezing, so it's not really that cold. We can put up with this, especially knowing that it's only for a short time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

One of our goals for our upcoming Spain trip...

My father spent about six months touring around Europe way back in 1954. He was an avid photographer, and he took a lot of slide photographs on that trip. Ruth had scanned and digitized all of his old slides and we now have them all saved on our laptops.

He spent quite a lot of time in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Coincidentally, we will also be spending quite a lot of time in those countries over the next three months.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How we avoid jet lag!

Flying across time zones can be hard on your system. We've done it a lot of times over the past four years, and I think we've learned how best to minimize the effects of jet lag.

They say that going east is harder on your system because your internal body clock has to be advanced, which is more difficult for the majority of people than delaying it. However on this most recent trip, we thought that the reverse was true!

Monday, December 19, 2016

5 Reasons To Bring A Motorcycle Along For Your Next RV Trip

When it comes to taking a vacation, there is nothing that is quite as exhilarating as a road trip. If you want to make your journey much more comfortable (and cheaper), you might decide to get an RV and see the countryside without having to worry about expensive hotel rooms or rates.

While going on an RV trip is rewarding in its own right, one of the best ways that you can maximize your adventure is to bring a motorcycle (or two) along for the ride. Here are five reasons why bringing your motorcycles on your RV trip can transform a great time into an unforgettable one.

The entertainment budget is blown for the month!

Prior to us taking on this lifestyle of travel almost 10 years ago, we had a Christmas tradition with my (Kevin's) side of the family. Many years ago, we used to exchange gifts like most other people. But it got to  the point where everybody already had what they needed, and gift certificates were becoming the go to gift. I didn't see the point.

So we all decided that there would be no more Christmas gift giving. Instead, we would all get together at a good restaurant, and just have a really nice meal and spend some time together.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trip costs...6 weeks in Romania and Moldova

Well, the numbers are in.

This trip was definitely more expensive than our previous trips. And most of it comes down to the time of year that we were visiting. We kind of compared this trip to when we did Czech Republic and Slovakia back in 2012. It was approximately the same length of time. But we had done that trip in the summer...and this one was in November and December.

We were gone for 45 days, and we spent a total of $4,953 CAD ($3,800 USD) including airfare.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Poor Sherman!

Made it on to our Montreal to Ottawa flight at 7:00am, scheduled for take off at 7:10am. It's just a little twin engine propeller plane seating 24 people. They fired up the first engine, but the outside temperature was -24C (-11F) and they had to warm up a battery in order to start the second engine. This took time, and then when that was done we had to go to the de-icing stall.

So, it was about 7:50am by the time we took off. I can't quite figure why they didn't start doing this earlier...they would have known about the deicing. In the meantime, the interior of the plane was also quite cold. Everyone kept their coats and hats on!

Friday, December 16, 2016

An unexpected hotel stay...

When we left you last, we were in Bucharest airport waiting for our flight to Munich. We're flying with Lufthansa for the first time ever, and it won't be the last. Excellent service from start to finish.

Landed in Munich right on time and found our connecting gate to Montreal. We only had an hour until the flight was expected to board, so we didn't have time to go into the city and explore, like we did in Zurich on the way over.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We don't like cutting things that close!

We had a few hours to kill yesterday,  and our AirBnb host Gloria asked if we wanted to go see the Military Moldova History Museum. Sure. We figured it would be a one hour deal and we would head back home. We probably shouldn't have though. We were still a little tired and wouldn't likely get much sleep on the train.

Anyhow, we left our bags at her place and the three of us hopped on the Chisinau city bus downtown.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A great end to our Moldova visit

It's hard to believe that we will be on the train late this afternoon heading back to Bucharest. And that tomorrow evening we will arrive back in Ottawa, Canada! Our six week trip is coming to an end.

Yesterday we did the drive back from Soroca to Chisinua. There were a few things we wanted to see along the way, so we left the hotel around 9:30am.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Exploring Soroca, Moldova

For breakfast, we went back to the same restaurant here in the Central Hotel. Marcel was off duty, and a woman who didn't speak any English looked after us. No problem, we can order breakfast in Romanian! Sort of!

Anyhow, we each had a cup of tea, and a plain omelette with cheese and salami on the side. Total with the tip was 90 lei ($6.30 CAD, $4.75 USD) for the two of us.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Back in Moldova!

Although technically, we never left. The country of Transistria doesn't really exist, and is still "officially" part of Moldova. But, when you have to go through border checkpoints, getting inspected, and showing your passport, and getting permission to sure feels like we were in a different country.

So yesterday morning we had to get out of Transnistria. I had read reports where exiting Transnistira can be more difficult that entering!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A country drive in Transnistria

Transistria is actually a fairly long country, at about 200 kms (120 miles) from north to south. But it's only a few kms wide.

Most people who visit only see the city of Tiraspol. But we are not most people, so yesterday morning we hopped in the rental car and went for a drive.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

And then we heard a crash...

Wow, we walked about 15 kms (9 miles) yesterday. The temperature was pleasant, with a high of about 9C (48F) but there was no sunshine. Overcast all day,

The apartment where we're staying is on the eastern outskirts of this city of 100,000 people or so. We decided to leave the car parked where it was and walk into the city. We were due for some exercise anyhow. And, we've learned that you see a lot more when you're walking.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pulled over by the police in Transnistria

After our Purcari wine tour, we had stayed the night at a small hotel in the town of Stefan Voda, only about 20 kms (12 miles) from the winery. It's a convenient location if the rooms at the winery are fully booked.

Not the greatest sleep, because the bed was hard as a rock...but other than that, for 500 lei ($35 CAD, $26.50 USD) a night it was fine.

Then yesterday morning, it was off to Transnistria!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's not often we talk about politics...

But I felt it was important to give some background on the area that we are now visiting.

We're now in the country of Transnistria. Officially called the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The problem is that this country doesn't really exist.

Oh, it's a country. It has its own border, its own border guards, its own passports, its own government, its own parliament, its own currency, and its own military.  Yes, it's a country.

The best wine in Moldova!

Yesterday, we drove about two hours south of the capital of Chisinau to the little town of Purcari, located on the Moldova - Ukraine border. There, we found the Purcari Winery.

Of course Moldova is famous for it's fine wines. When I began doing research about our trip to Moldova, the name Purcari kept coming up, and so it was one of the places that we really wanted to visit. Purcari is just a small vineyard...but they have a big history!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The largest wine cellar in the world

The other day we visited the underground wine cellars at Cricova Winery. They are listed as the second largest wine cellar in the world. Yesterday, we visited the largest wine cellar in the world!

Yes, the tiny, unknown country of Moldova has the two largest wine cellars in the world.

The one we visited yesterday at Milestii Mici Winery contains over 2 million bottles of wine.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

November Expenses

I was going to wait and publish our expenses for the entire trip. And when we're finished maybe I'll do that anyhow, because it would be a good exercise to show how much we spend per day on a six week journey. But for now, here's where we stood for the month of November...

We started off the month of November in the city of Ottawa, and so I've included our travel expenses for the one way journey to get to Europe. Despite the fact that we actually paid for the tickets last June, they're being expensed in the month we use them to make it a more accurate representation of how much we spend.

Walking tour of downtown Chisinau, Moldova

We walked over to pick up our car rental yesterday morning. It's been pure luck that every time we've booked a car rental on this trip, the office has been really close to where we're staying. This time, it was only a fifteen minute walk.

They gave us a little Ford Fiesta for 18 euros per day. We're keeping the car for nine days. This place accepts credit cards, but when I went to pay they said it would cost 3% extra to use the card. Okay, whatever. Not a big deal. I wanted to use the card because I have total rental vehicle coverage through our Visa card. So, it cost an extra $7 or so for that. Oh, and an extra 20 euros for the paperwork to be able to take the car to Transnistria.

Monday, December 5, 2016

We're all on the same page...

We relaxed for the morning and did some laundry. Just before the noon hour, we hopped on the local bus and headed downtown to meet our AirBnb host Gloria. She wanted to see the refurbished Moldova National Museum of Art, and asked if we wanted to go with her. Sure!

The museum had been closed for twenty years because the building itself was in such sad shape. It officially reopened November 4th of this year.

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.