Off the Beaten Path


I think one of my favorite things about the Republic of Moldova is that it has the tiniest tourism sector of any country that I’ve been to in my entire life. It’s almost spooky how few “tourist attractions” there are or people who come here to see them.

To give you an idea of the difference, last year in Romania, there were 2.47 million foreign tourists. During the same year, guess how many visited Moldova? 15,668. Yep. You could fit every single foreign tourist in RM inside a stadium.

Therefore, if you do come to RM as a tourist, congratulations! You’re part of a rare breed. Aside from NGO workers, missionaries, Peace Corps folks, Turkish guys, diplomatic corps, and foreign aid organizations people, there really just aren’t many foreigners coming here.

Blood Suckers

And you know what? I think that’s kind of nice. It means there isn’t anyone making a full-time living by ripping off foreigners.

In Romania, the second your plane lands, there’s someone fucking with you. Speak a little English and you’re liable to get shaken down for a bribe by the cops (!). And forget about all those overpriced restaurants and cafes that charge 2-5 times normal prices.

But in Moldova, would you like to know what it costs to get from the Chisinau airport to town with a taxi?

I live in the city centre/downtown area which is roughly 14 kilometers/9 miles (according to Google Maps) from the airport. The set price is 100 MDL or 22 RON or $5.5 dollars or 4.8 euro.

Yep.

And that’s nice. It’s also nice that the prices in one part of town are the same as anywhere else.

In case you are one of the rare 15,000 people coming here for a visit and want to know what to do/see in Chisinau, here’s my ultra-brief guide:

  1. Parliament building/Triumph Arch/Stefan Cel Mare Park (all within 100 meters of one another); and
  2. The Central Market.

See those things and congratulations! You’re done :P

The other big draw in Chisinau is a couple kilometers outside of town. I’m talking about the Milestii Mici winery, literally the biggest in the world.

Note: Unlike how the goof in the video says it, the name is pronounced mee-lesh-tee meetch.

As for the rest of the country, the only thing to see are monasteries. Some are carved into cliff faces and others are beautiful architecturally, but that’s it.

Outside of Chisinau, it’s monasteries all the way down.

HAPPY TRAILS, PARDNER!

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