(Sorry this post is long and has lots of pictures)
I took my second vacation from Moldova at the end of June. This time it was with some friends. I was very blessed to have one of my best friends, Theron come all the way to Eastern Europe! We also traveled with two other friends that we both met in college who are also PCVs. They serve in Romania and have been teaching English there for a little over a year. The vacation started with Abby and Jon picking Theron up from the airport in Bucharest and then taking the train to Moldova. I suggested they take the overnight train because I thought it would be more comfortable for them, and it probably would have been if it wasn’t like a sauna inside and had windows that opened. I met them all in Chisinau and we began our Moldovan leg of our journey. First stop being at the PC office so they could drop off their bags. We then got some food then took off to find a Geocache. (It was my first). After spending several hours in Chisinau, we left to go to my site so everyone could meet my host family. My host mom prepared some traditional Moldovan food for us (mamaliga and sarmale). We then relaxed and planned out what we were going to do the next day.
On Sunday morning we woke up, had some breakfast and my host mom called us a taxi to take us to a geological site called “100 hills.” It was about 45 minutes from where I live, after walking to the highest hill our driver tok us out to the border town called Costesti. It is situated along the Prut River, which also borders Romania. It is a popular Moldovan spot for swimming and relaxing in the summer. After we went back to Riscani we stopped by the piata, bought some vegetables and then had some lunch at a local cafe.
The next morning we headed to Suceava, Romania. Suceava has a lot of similar things to Moldova. I think part of this is because about 700 years ago it was the capital of the Moldovian state, which did include part of Moldova for some time. Stefan cel Mare (Stefan the Great) is also a principal figure for town. He built many churches in the area around Suceava. He is very important to Romanian history as well as Moldovan. I took no pictures while in Suceava because while packing I was not thinking well and forgot to pack the battery to my camera, I did buy one in Cluj though, so all wasn’t lost :). While in Suceava we stayed with another PCV, she was a excellent host and tour guide. I also met 3 other PCVs in Romania. One stop on our way to Cluj was the Voroneț Monastery. It was beautiful and was situated next to a cute little town. Check out this link if you want to learn more about it.
*Random sidenote about Romania, unlike in Moldova, it is not legal to drink in public. I bought a beer and was drinking it at the train station and 2 policeman came by and told me they were going to give me a fine. I promptly put it in the trash and apologized, they did not end up giving me a fine, but they did scare me.
We then took the night train to Cluj. It arrived in Cluj around 5:30 AM. The town was quiet. We spent some time looking around and when the shops started opening up, we got a map from the tourist office, found a camera shop to buy me a battery and Abby and Jon found another couple of Geocaches. Around 11 we bought some food and made our way to the botanical garden to eat it. After we walked around it, then made our way to highest point in Cluj to get some pictures of the city. We walked up about 250 stairs, took some photos then rested before making our way down and back to the train station to go to Sighișoara.
O zi buna!