June 2015

As I live in Moldova, and have been born here, this blog was never intended as a touristy sort of reading. Of course, if anything written here persuades you to visit Moldova on your travels, I would be delighted. However, I’ve always written this blog with the idea of just shining some light on the country. Back when I started writing on the internets, Moldova wasn’t that well-known. Moldova-what’s-that was the usual reply. It’s better these days, but I think for the most part Moldova still remains a mystery to many. You’ve probably heard about our wine, about the abundance of Orthodox churches. Maybe you’ve read about mamaliga somewhere.

What better way to casually highlight Moldova than through the photos from my phone and camera? Not the thematic ones I either take on my purposeful walks or trips around the country or specifically for this blog. The random ones. I snap daily – everyone does these days – and I believe these daily snaps best serve to highlight the day-to-day living in Moldova. At least from the perspective of a lower middle-class female office clerk with a small group of friends and moderately quiet interests.

Go on, then. Seven snaps from June 2015.

June 2015 was the month of yet another corporate party. These days they hold them in July, but back then it was just a random date somewhere in May-June.

I’ve had some fun there, but like this year’s party, it was nothing to write home about.

6.6.15 we were friends then

6.6.15 riparian entertainment

This is Vadul lui Voda.

6.6.15 ice cream

This is Betty Ice Bubble Gum Marshmallow ice-cream. Best ice-cream in town.

6.6.15 trees

This is me being artistic. I was bored out of my wits by then.

8.6.15 patchy mass transit

This is me going to work a few days later. I think the route was A. It has since then been cancelled.

10.6.15 another zone

This is me contemplating the new view. During the last few years a lot of trees were cut down around Kishinev. The administration had its reasoning, some of it valid. Nevertheless, my kitchen has got roughly three times hotter without the protection of the trees, and summers in the city feel much worse.

24.6.15 ministry at night

This is the ministry of Technology, Information, and Communications. Their neon lights died. I find these things ironic.

Saharna, part 1

I keep telling myself that I’m going to publish at least one post a week here, but it never happens. Not for the lack of content, either – I’ve got such a backlog of photos to share with you all, it’s crazy. I’ll spare you the excuses, let’s get on with the post.

Last time I wrote about the corporate summer party of 2016 was in January. It’s August now, and the corporate summer party of 2017 has come and gone. It won’t be missed. I’ve got some photos of that as well, though, so… yeah. Some time this year.

Now. Saharna!

saharna (2)

The grand vessel that has transported us to the final point of our journey – Saharna. Saharna is a complex of religious and natural monuments. You pass by a monastery, then go into the woods, where you see the waterfalls, finally reaching the big one somewhere at the edge of the forest.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

At first we must pass the adjacent village.

saharna (3)

saharna (4)

This is a typical inter-city/ village bus stop in these lands.

saharna (5)

You may have figured out by now that Moldova is quite a religious country, with 90%+ of the population being Christian. Most of these Christians are Orthodox Christian. Such crosses can be found in every village and town around Moldova.

saharna (6)

saharna (7)

saharna (8)

My friend and I stopped to take dozens of photos, so we lost our group and, despite all the signs, our way. We had to ask some wise locals we stumbled across whether we were on the right path.

saharna (9)

The wise locals, however, were of no help.

saharna (10)

We bid them adieu and continued following the signs.

saharna (11)

This is a shop. We bought water there.

saharna (12)

A little further down the road we found another wise local to hassle.

saharna (13)

She was unmoved by our pleas to help us find our way.

saharna (14)

saharna (15)

With one quick glance over the shoulder, she went on with her business.

And they say Moldova is a hospitable country. ;-)

saharna (16)

Judging by the sign, this is a cafe, but we never entered.

saharna (17)

saharna (18)

After a little more wandering, we came close to our destination.

saharna (19)

saharna (20)

Before we could come in, a wild beast attacked my friend. Being the journalist that I am, I took all the pictures in the world instead of lending a helping hand.

saharna (21)

saharna (22)

They say that butterflies follow saints. I would like to disprove this statement right here, right now.

saharna (23)

saharna (24)

saharna (25)

This is a guidance of ethical behaviour and appearance on the grounds of the monastery. In a few words – don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t be too loud, don’t wear shorts and short skirts, God bless you.

saharna (26)

saharna (27)

saharna (28)

saharna (29)

saharna (30)

saharna (31)

I enjoyed Saharna and would like to go there again, but it is yet another heavily commercialised religious sight. Keep it in mind if you’re on the lookout for something ‘authentic’, so to say. For ‘authenticity’, you should probably visit Tsipova (parts one and two) and Old Orhei (see a series of posts here).

saharna (32)

saharna (33)

This is the monastery dining hall, and it had the most peculiar scent in it – not even the scent of linden could mask it.

saharna (34)

saharna (35)

To the right are photographs of the Patriarchs – of the entire Russian Orthodox Church, and the local Moldavian branch. The Russian Patriarch’s photo is outdated – this is a portrait of the previous Patriarch, Alexy II of Moscow, who died in 2008.

Perhaps it’s Saharna’s subtle rebellion against the current one? Lord bless us all.

We left the dining hall, walked around the territory a little longer (they’ve got a smallish aviary!), and ran off into the woods to cool off.

But more on that in the next post.

Chisinau Fountains, June 2017

About three weeks ago I was having a moody weekend. The best cure for peculiar moods is taking a walk so that’s what I did. It was a hot, hot, hot day. I didn’t even feel like taking photographs until I reached the first fountain.

01-fountain in aleea clasicilor

I love it. You can find it in Aleea Clasicilor (Alley of Classics), one of the two central parks in Kishinev. The fountain doesn’t always operate, but when it does, it certainly adds a charm. As you can see, children play in the water. I’m not sure if it’s encouraged, but there are no signs prohibiting it.

I walked around a bit more, then went to buy myself an ice-cream, and moved over to The National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Moldova. There are two fountains, on each side of the main entrance to the theatre. I was coming in from the left, so this was the fountain I occupied myself with.

02-fountain near opera and ballet theatre

03-opera and ballet theatre chisinau

04-fountains in chisinau

I am not sure why, but these photos (especially the third one) basically transport me into the 80’s. Or at least, the fragile peace and happiness of the 80’s that was so well pictured in the technicolour photographs found in the endless books in my family library.

Here, I edited the last photograph for you, giving it a bit of a late 70’s – early 80’s vibe.

05-fountains in chisinau vintage filter

See what I mean? So vintage. If it weren’t for the cars in the background, you wouldn’t even be able to tell the photo was taken in 2017. For comparison, here’s a photograph of the National Opera and Ballet Theatre taken in 1980, according to Wikipedia.

I stood close to the fountain for a little while, being hit by droplets of water occasionally. It felt refreshing.

06-big white bench chisinau

07-modern sculpture chisinau

This big huge white bench is a relatively recent addition to the little square in front of The National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Moldova. I’m not sure how recent – if the sticker in the bottom left corner is of any indication, then the sponsoring bank’s been dead for well over a year now – but I don’t remember seeing the bench there before. The bench is huge – you can climb it using a little ladder to the right. I wanted to do just that and selfie the shit out of the situation (duh), but there were kids at play, and I didn’t want to disturb them too much with my juvenile entertainment.

I then left to the direction of the Cathedral Park, where I met some lovely faces.

08-cow exhibition chisinau

09-cow sculpture chisinau

A cow exhibition! How moovelous. I love these things. I first encountered one over a decade ago in Moscow. This one was organised by a local dairy producer to celebrate its many years in service. (Love their products by the way – not paid to write this.) It was surprisingly busy, with many people taking photographs with the painted sculptures of cows. I took advantage of the two that were unoccupied, and rushed on with my business afterwards.