A Travellerspoint blog

August 2018

Chisinau

80 °F

The bus ride to Chisinau, Moldova

The absolute worst bus ride ever! The bus had 25 seats and every seat was taken. No seat belts which would be acceptable if the driver wasn’t so crazy, but then again, all Ukrainian drivers seem to be a little wacko (maybe impatient is more accurate). Seats were as hard and uncomfortable as any park bench, although there was a sliver of fabric on them that kept you from slipping. The lack of air conditioning or the fact that you couldn’t open any windows made you glow with sweat and drip with perspiration. The border crossing was equivalent to sitting for 45 minutes in a sauna. The roads were bumpy to the point that you wondered if you were on dirt or pavement. The only stop we made was at the border so if you wanted to freshen up, you could use the WC which consisted of a hole in the ground - thank goodness I sweated out my liquids. But the most appalling part was when I went to eat my Lviv handmade chocolate bar and it had melted! oh my god, that’s it, never again will I take such a bus again.

Chisinau, Moldova

Every review we read suggested to skip this city because it doesn’t have any historical sights, but we wanted to visit all the countries in the area and we were pleasantly surprised by its charm. They use the Latin English alphabet so getting around was very easy. There isn’t an “old town” but it’s a nice place to recuperate from the hustle and bustle of traveling. We spent 2 nights here and that was enough, but another night would have been fine too.

$1.25 ?
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31 August 1989 St, Chisinau
On August 27, 1989, the Popular Front of Moldova organized a mass demonstration in Chişinău, that became known as the Great National Assembly, which pressured the authorities of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to adopt a language law on August 31, 1989 that proclaimed the Moldovan language written in the Latin script to be the state language of the MSSR.
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Nativity Cathedral, Chișinău
The Cathedral of Christ's Nativity is the main cathedral of the Moldovan Orthodox Church
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The Chișinău Water Tower is an architectural monument of Chișinău, Moldova, located at 2 Mitropolit Bănulescu-Bodoni Street and built at the end of 19th century after a project by Alexander Bernadazzi. It was a main part of Chişinău's water system.
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Stephen the Great Monument
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Triumphal arch, Chișinău
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Ştefan cel Mare Central Park is the main park in Central Chişinău, Moldova. Formerly known as Pushkin Park, it is the oldest park in Moldova and spans about 7 hectares.
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The Alley of Classics is a sculptural complex located in the Stephen the Great Park in Central
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Valea Morilor Park and Lake
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OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
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Embassy
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Posted by joannereyes 03:03 Archived in Moldova Comments (0)

Odessa

85 °F

We had a great time in Odessa, so much nicer than Kiev. The city is definitely a tourist town catering to everyone. Of course we still had our personal tour guide Alona so once again not much thinking on our part of where to go and what to see. She has definitely spoiled us, something we can easily get used to. One of the things I liked about this city is how they are renovating the old buildings keeping the beautiful architecture instead of knocking them down and rebuilding which would be much cheaper and faster. Walking along the pedestrian walkway at night was reminiscent of an amusement park with the carnival games and the street performers who were very talented. There aren’t too many historical sights to see so this was more of a laid back, relaxing part of our vacation which is always a happy time for me. ?

The weather was fantastic and the food was great and reasonably priced.

In my last post of Kiev, I purposely didn’t mention the crazy driving habits, but after more scary episodes I felt it was time to tell all. Was I scared? Yes. But I was more amazed that I didn’t see more accidents or cars with dents.

You know what red lights are in Ukraine? Suggestions (courtesy of C.P.S.)
You know what pedestrians are in Ukraine? Targets
You know what traffic lines in the road are in Ukraine? Abstract Art

We part ways with Cody and Alona for a few weeks as we travel in different directions but will meet up with them in Montenegro. It’s fun traveling with family so we are excited that we will see them again soon. We are also excited that Chad has a week off of school and will spend time with us in Florence, Italy. Yay, the entire family together for a week in October.

The Potemkin Stairs, or Potemkin Steps, is a giant stairway in Odessa, Ukraine. The stairs are considered a formal entrance into the city from the direction of the sea and are the best known symbol of Odessa
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Pryvoz Market
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Monument to Steve Jobs
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Building renovation
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Pedestrian walkway
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Posted by joannereyes 10:59 Archived in Ukraine Comments (1)

Kiev

85 °F

This city has a way to go before it becomes a true tourist stop. Some buildings in the old part of town are nice, but most have been destroyed so what’s left is the 60’s era communist style. We took a tour of Saint Sophia's Cathedral, which was amazing and interesting, but the highlight of Kiev was our visit to Viktor Yanukovych Presidential Palace. The grounds were spectacular but the palace was more of a cabin design which we found a little odd. There were gorgeous chandeliers and the craftsmanship of the woodwork was amazing. The facility included a sports complex (with a 4 lane bowling alley, boxing ring, indoor/outdoor tennis courts), medical facility, spa, movie theater, church, 3 dining rooms, a zoo and much more. Of course that all came at the cost of the Ukrainian people. In February 2014 Yanukovych was removed from office as a result of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. He is currently in exile in Russia and wanted by Ukraine for high treason. Along with billions of dollars that he stole from the Ukrainian people, he also stole the artwork off the walls of the palace when he escaped to Russia.

The food here is excellent and cheap, and that’s always a good combination. We were able to enjoy our visit because of our personal tour guide Alona. You can see and learn so much more when a local takes you around their city explaining everything. A true gift, thank-you Alona.

The day we got to Kiev they were cleaning up from a terrible rain storm the day before (flooded underground, lots of broken tree limbs and debris) but the city was quick about cleaning it up. The day we left we were caught in a downpour as we walked to the train station and got soaked, even our clothes inside our luggage were wet, but C’est la vie. A part of the adventure we could have done without is when Mitch fell victim to food poisoning. So a piece of advice for fellow travelers, don’t assume that the country has a terrible tasting soft serve chocolate ice cream when in fact, that sour taste in the ice cream is just bad cream. Live and learn the hard way. ?

The Motherland Monument
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Independence Monument in the background
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The People's Friendship Arch

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Park of Eternal Glory
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Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. The cathedral is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first heritage site in Ukraine to be inscribed on the World Heritage List
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Yanukovych Presidential Palace
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Appetizers checkers ?
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Posted by joannereyes 02:03 Archived in Ukraine Comments (0)

Providence

rain 80 °F

Another great trip to Providence. Well, that is if you don’t count the 4 out of 6 days of bad weather we had. The rain dampened (pun intended) our fun, but we just bought a couple umbrellas and went on our merry way. We stayed at 2 different hotels (last year it was 3) so we are getting better at reserving rooms earlier. The first place was nice, it was a historic building with 5 floors and no elevators, we were on the 3rd floor so no big deal. The hotel was a 10/15 minute walk from downtown Providence so that was inconvenient especially with the poor weather. We enjoyed our stay there but we won’t stay there again because of the location. The 2nd hotel was in the heart of downtown and we’ve stayed there before so all was good. The highlight of the trip was spending time with Chad and hearing his stories about the different surgeries he’s been able to watch. We took a day trip to Boston and walked the streets, viewed the sights and ate well. Actually, we ate well all week, the northeast has the best Italian food so we indulged - but all is under control because we walked a lot. I love this picturesque city and are already looking forward to our next visit.

Downtown Providence

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State Capital
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Brown University

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Federal Hill - dining alfresco
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Our day trip to Boston
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Next stop Kiev, Ukraine

Posted by joannereyes 20:21 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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