Well, breakfast went fairly smoothly although it did take over an hour for everyone to get their meal. They brought out 1 plate at time in no particular order that we could find. Didn't matter where you were in the list of sign-ups, didn't go by room #--just randomly 1 plate at a time. And you couldn't have your coffee or tea until you'd gotten your food plate.
Today we are back on the bone-jarring roads to Chișinău (kish-i-now), the capital and largest city of the Republic of Moldova. The city is Moldova's main industrial and commercial center, and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bâc. It's not very far away ( 50 miles) but the roads make it a longer trip.
We arrived in Chișinău at 11:30am. The bus dropped us off at the largest market in Moldova near the center of town so we could buy some food for a picnic lunch in the large park. We had 45 minutes. Jef and Glen went off to find SIM cards for their phones while Margaret and I found walnuts (amazingly cheap and plentiful), bananas, mandarins oranges, grapes, a cheese pastry and a hot dog wrapped in pastry. All of that, for 2 people, was less than $6.
Jef & Glen were successful in getting a SIM card and were happy with their working phones.
The bus then took us to the park where we found a ledge to perch on and eat our lunch. A guide was to meet us there at 1:30 for a walking tour (what else) of the city.
Elenora was promptly there at 1:30 so we started in the park. We spent 2.5 hours walking around Chișinău! She really was a wealth of information and quite interesting but it was a long afternoon with a lot of standing around while she talked. It would have been nice to have benches where we could have sat to listen.
Chișinău has a long and varied history (which I will spare you) starting in 1436 as a monastery town. It's belonged to Russia, Romania, Soviet Union and now Moldova. In the pic section are some of the sites that we saw. It was a very nice day to be out and about, a little humid in the early afternoon as the sun was warm, but we did see a lot. One of the pics is of Stephen the Great, a revered king in Moldovan history. He boasted that he fought 36 battles and only lost 2 of them. After each victory, he built a church. He ranged far and wide in his battles and apparently left a swath of children behind as many peasants considered themselves to be "of his blood".
Another pic is a bust of poet Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889). The most interesting this about this bust is that the sculptor (didn't get his name) wasn't allowed to make sculptures of himself so he put his profile in the hair of Mihai's bust and you can see it from the back.
Elenora left us around 4 and will be our guide tomorrow too. The bus took us to the gigantic, impressive looking, old Soviet hotel--the hotel Chișinău. Soviet it was but not impressive. Our room was pre-soviet I think. The bathroom had chipped and peeling paint (see the pic) and exposed pipes with at least 15 layers of paint. The windows, except for a small 12"x12" one at the very top, were painted shut with many layers, many of them peeling. There was no a/c and no fan and it was hot. The one small window that opened didn't allow any breeze as there was nothing for cross ventilation. The bed was made with a flat sheet thrown over it with no possibility of it tucking in and a folded flat sheet to put on the bed yourself if you wanted a cover. The comrades were not efficient workers at this soviet hotel!
Probably the worst part was, 2 days later after suffering through 2 nights of not sleeping because it was so stifling hot, we found out that other people in our group had rooms with a/c! We just thought everyone had the same bad room as we were all laughing about the horrible paint peeling so never thought to ask for another room. Argh!!
I was pretty tired after the walking in the afternoon so I decided to stay in while Jef went to dinner with some of the others. He had a chicken sausage with a salad.
Tomorrow we visit a winery!