Wednesday Sep 1 — Tirospal
We exit Ukraine :( and enter into Transnistria. Our passports are not stamped and we are given an entry piece of paper. We check into room 312 of Russia Hotel. It is quite nice. Afternoon lunch at USSR canteen and then a walk to the train station, and along the Dniester river. It rains a bit.
We have dinner at the Russia Hotel Terrace, an outside courtyard in the middle of the hotel grounds. It was quite festive when we arrived, so we sat near the side at table 319. Ekaterina M. wsa our host and took our order at 20:42.
We started with shots of local vodka, including the potent Volchitsa vodka (Водка Волчица, 12.00 ПMP) followed by a shot of Pokrovskaya vodka (Водка Покровская, 15.00 ПMP). Alongside our spirits, we shared a bottle of BonAqua (Бонаква, 13.00 ПMP) interestingly made by Coca-Cola.
For starters we shared a Fitness Salad (Салат Фитнес, 25.00 ПMP), which included chopped beet, carrot, and apple, offering a perfect blend of sweet and savory. Then we shared a traditional Gazpacho soup (Гаспачо, 30.00 ПMP). Though not like what one would find in Spain, its cool, tangy flavors still gave a refreshing interlude.
For our mains, we feasted on grilled sturgeon (Осетрина хоспер, 155.00 ПMP) and a portion of Tempura Shrimp Rolls (3би Темпура Ролп, 95.00 ПMP), which added a dash of international fusion to our meal.
We also had some olives (Маслины, 40.00 ПMP) which added a briny, textural contrast to our meal, even though they were from the can. The total cost of our dining experience was a reasonable 385 ПMP, or around $22 USD, which we paid at 22:20. We look forward to our next visit!
Thursday, Sep 2 — Chisinau
Breakfast at the hotel, Indendence Day Military parade in the morning and walk to local market and pictures with an elder solder. I walk by the Dniester river. We drive to Chișinău and check in to the City Park Hotel. Dinner at Vatra Neamului. Desert Delice d’Ange and then we walk around a bit.
Friday, Sep 3 — Chisinau
Breakfast at the Crème de la Crème.
At 10:00a, we meet a driver and visit the Mileștii Mici, a famous wine complex located in the Ialoveni raion (region) of Moldova. The tunnels at Mileștii Mici, which currently house expansive wine cellars, have a history dating back to the 15th century, when they were originally created for limestone mining. Mining activities ceased in the 1960s, and it was discovered that the tunnels’ constant temperature of 54–57 °F (12–14 °C) and 85–95% humidity were ideal for wine storage. As a result, they were converted for this purpose. The winery cellars stretch for 200 kilometers (120 miles), though only 55 kilometers (34 miles) are currently in use.
Our winery tour began at 11:00 am, taking us on a drive through several kilometers of the cellar tunnels. We then walked through some of the renowned wine storage rooms, where we could witness their vast collection, as well as some private collections being stored there. The experience culminated in an exquisite tasting session, where we sampled both white and red wines in dry and semi-sweet varieties. The cost for this memorable tour was 900 L. Later, at 3:00 pm, we continued our wine adventure by heading to the Cricova winery, where we embarked on another fascinating tour and tasting of their famous dry and sem-sweet sparkling wines.
Dinner at Karl Schmidt.
Saturday, Sep 4 — Chisinau
Breakfast at Crème de la Crème; chilaxing. We walk over to the National Museum and then to Havuzul Palatului National where by chance we find the Beer Mania Craft Beer festival. At one point, Cuibul, a legendary Modovan band takes the stage and everyone is having a good time dancing and listening. Bed
Sunday, Sep 5 — Chisinau
Breakfast at Crème de la Crème . Walk around the hotel and then to Valea Morilor Park and around the lake in the late aftenoon.
We have a pre-dinnner snack at La Taifas.
As the evening unfolds, we decide to head over to the inviting and well-designed Butcher Meat & Beer cafe next to our hotel, for another culinary adventure. This time we delve into a meat and fish feast, surrounded by the rustic ambiance of the restaurant. We sit at Table 4 and are served kinldy by Miric Alexandru.
We kick off our meal with two local beers: a Chisinau (500ml, 30,00 MDL) and a Borioni (500ml, 65,00 MDL). The crisp, cold taste of these renowned Moldovan brews sets the tone for the robust meal ahead.
For our salad course, we opt for a traditional Greek Salad, Salata Greceasca (80,00 MDL). The refreshing combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, and olives, all tossed in a tangy vinaigrette, brings a Mediterranean flair to our Moldovan feast.
Next, we are served a comforting bowl of homemade chicken soup, known locally as Zeama din pui de casa (55,00 MDL). The rich broth and tender chicken are reminiscent of a home-cooked meal.
For our main courses, we choose the dorado (210,00 MDL), a colorful, saltwater fish known for its sweet flavor which ios grilled to perfection. We also order a mititei (95,00 MDL), a popular Moldovan sausage that’s juicy, flavorful, and incredibly satisfying. Both dishes are excellently prepared, showcasing the talent of the local chefs and their commitment to quality.
The total bill comes to 535,00 MDL, a price that reflects not just the food but the authentic Moldovan dining experience. As we leave Butcher Meat & Beer cafe, we are not only thankful for the hearty meal but also the cultural immersion that comes with it. “СПАСИБО! ЖДЕМ ВАС СНОВА!” — Thank you! We’ll be back again!
Monday, Sep 6 — Chisinau
We wake at 5:30am, take a car to the Chișinău International Airport for 250 Moldovan leu. We check in, clear immigration and have a slight issue becuase as we entered Moldova through Transnistria, we don't have an entry stamp into Moldova (because the Transnistria officials don't consider itselft part of Moldova, so why would they give us a entry stamp? Anyhow, when leaving the country, the immigration offical asks us, "What day did you enter Moldova?" The correct answer, whcih we gave, was Sep 1. But someone mistakingly excluding Transistria from the day they entered Moldova would have failed this question and probably have further explaining to do. We check out the Priority Pass lounge, which is small but good. After going through the boarding agent for our flight, we all stand around on an apron bus for about 15 minutes, exchanging germs and eventually drive to the plane on the tarmack. We board our FlyOne flight 5F 325 and our Airbus A320-200 (ER-0002) departs KIV Chișinău International Airport at 8:50am for Istanbul, Turkey.