Destinations: Chişinău, Orheiul Vechi, Lviv
Distance Travelled: 740 km
Recipes Collected: 0
Day 15 started off well with our earliest wake up yet…11 am! After we gathered our gear, our host led us through an abandoned soviet factory area to the bus stop where we began our hitchhiking leg from Odessa to Chişinău.
The journey to Moldova’s capital was a mixed experience. For half of us, it was great; an easy drive with only a few cars that travelled through gorgeous countryside. For the others, a direct ride all the way to Moldova’s capital from the border initially seemed too good to be true – and sadly, it was. Upon their arrival, backpacks were detained until the driver’s demands for a payment were met.
What’s the ultimate cure after a stressful encounter with a driver?
Food. Traditional Moldovan comfort food to be exact.
After our host kindly explained each and every traditional dish on the local restaurant’s menu, we ate our fill of delicious mămăligă, sarmale and plăcintă; which melted away all frustrations retained from our day of travel…
Morning tea and coffee with biscuits in our host’s beautiful garden, walks around the city center whilst counting it’s many malls, a moonlit stroll to the local lake followed by a stressful yet hilarious game of giant chess are all happy memories of our time in Chişinău; but our wine tasting venture in the biggest underground wine cellar in the world, Mileștii Mici, was definitely a highlight of our time spent in Moldova!
From Chişinău, we travelled to the captivating natural and historical complex known as Orheiul Vechi. The views from the monastery were gorgeous, especially at sunset and sunrise. After a night of camping, with a bonfire and some newfound furry friends, we unknowingly embarked on the longest and most exhausting hitchhiking leg of our journey so far.
Getting from Orheiul Vechi to Lviv took a total of 2 whole days; 23 drivers, a dozen confusing conversations, an unexpected stay with a woman who adopted us as her children, an encounter with a drunken wannabe Beatles singer and a loud, 15 minute argument in 4 different languages (none of which we spoke) with the driver of a minibus full of people in 30+ degree heat.
I’ve never been so relieved to arrive at our host’s place in Lviv, use their hot shower and sleep soundly in a soft mattress knowing that all of my photos are being backed up over a fast wifi connection…
What a week!