Back In The USSR (Again)

Chisinau Travel Blog

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The street my hostel was on

Arriving into Chisinau I was met by complete and utter darkness, not a streetlight twinkled in the night sky.  I had heard reports about the capital of Moldova being a little behind in the times but this was a little extreme wasn’t it?  Was I to assume that this country had no electricity?  If this was the case, what I had got myself into?  It’s winter and this usually means cold temperatures, and seeing as I had turned up after a flight via Bucharest from Amsterdam, I was a little nervous how chilly it could get here, and the chances of me being able to have a warm shower to wash off the days’ travel and warm up.

The hostel I have checked into is warm, well my room is, the kitchen area is freezing and the hot water I’m sad to say, non existent.

Walking out of my hostel
  If I want an ice cold shower, I’m in the right place.  However, I would much prefer a nice warming shower where I can leisurely wash my hair.  Instead I have been jumping in, screaming and panting like I’m in labour with a lot of short sharp breathing and ultimately leaving half the shampoo in my hair because I’m just too cold to go under the frigid tap again.  After the long day, it meant my arrival into Chisinau was a bit of a let down.

Chisinau is a city of contrasts.  Janet had emailed me earlier saying she had heard reports of Moldavian people being some of the most depressed in the world.  Perhaps it was from all the cold showers they had been brought up with.  Surely this bathing ritual can’t make anyone happy so I could understand the depression.

  But this isn’t really the reality.

Walking around this capital I have seen a lot of sites (well okay that makes it sound like there is a lot to see, and in truth there isn’t all that much.)  I’m not sure I would recommend this place for its architecture, or convenience, but if you want to see what life was like in the Former Soviet Union, it has that going for it.

Here in Moldova, it seems that time has stood still.  Yes you can see a couple of fancy cars driving along the road, but the roads are full of pot holes and you need to watch you step while outside so as not to fall in, or trip over the lids that seem to lie close to the manholes that require covering.  The houses here range from shabby to only vaguely shabby.

The fancy mall in this poor country - what a juxtaposition
  Yes this might perhaps relate to the area I am staying in, but when hostel is close to a futuristic looking mall (with the witty name of MallDova Shopping Centre) with all the fashion labels you might expect to find on a high street in the west, you wonder who can afford these luxuries.

But once again the people are friendly, in a closed off ex Soviet Union kind of way.  Outwardly they appear cold, but maybe this is because the snow has started to fall here which makes them wrap up tightly and face downwards so as to watch their feet, but when you get lost – which I have done whilst walking around, they do their best to point you in the right direction and even smile.

So it has been while I am walking around this city, with the snow falling and the crackling of it landing into a powder like substance, that I listened to the new Gorrilaz album.  The electronic rhythm of the music, mixing in with my surroundings makes me imagine what this country would be like if it were to join into the future and move forward, but for this to happen they need to invest in some street lighting so people can see where they’re going.

La reverdere from Chisinau

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The street my hostel was on
The street my hostel was on
Walking out of my hostel
Walking out of my hostel
The fancy mall in this poor countr…
The fancy mall in this poor count…
Walking into the city
Walking into the city
Watch your footing
Watch your footing
Lovely view over Chisinau
Lovely view over Chisinau
Dont fall down!
Don't fall down!
Monument to the Fighters and Liber…
Monument to the Fighters and Libe…
This monument was put up in 1969 t…
This monument was put up in 1969 …
Chisinau Hotel
Chisinau Hotel
What other city can you see tracto…
What other city can you see tract…
And old trolley buses?
And old trolley buses?
Grigore Kotovski, Soviet military …
Grigore Kotovski, Soviet military…
The Government Building
The Government Building
Statue of St Stefan cel Mare.  In …
Statue of St Stefan cel Mare. In…
Lovely water feature without the w…
Lovely water feature without the …
Such good roads
Such good roads
Autopsy anyone?
Autopsy anyone?
Eternity - this memorial complex i…
Eternity - this memorial complex …
Ah a lovely street dog - one of ma…
Ah a lovely street dog - one of m…
Getting lost in Chisinau
Getting lost in Chisinau
Two lovely ladies who helped me wh…
Two lovely ladies who helped me w…
At view from some of the fancy hou…
At view from some of the fancy ho…
A fancy house
A fancy house
Me in the supermarket with a cask …
Me in the supermarket with a cask…
Walking along the street - watch y…
Walking along the street - watch …
Using my camera flash to guide the…
Using my camera flash to guide th…
Using the camera flash to help lig…
Using the camera flash to help li…
Chisinau
photo by: Biedjee