My husband and I are going to Moldova in a couple of weeks. If you have been there let us know what to expect. Any information would be helpful. Thanks.
Definitely let us know what you find. I will be heading there next summer.
Check out the thorntree forum on lonely planet's website for more info.
Are you planning on crossing TransDniester - if so, beware of the problems you may encounter with the shakedowns.
Thanks for the Lonely Planet tip. We are going to Balti, Cahul and Chisinau. I will let you know what we learn.
I will be traveling to Chisinau from Odessa in the Ukraine - hence the concern about the TransDniester border. Though, it seems there are now buses that skirt TD and enter Moldova from the south.
I don't know what you read about Moldova, but all I can tell you is that Moldova seems to be a boring country to me.
To each his/her own. I find most places have something interesting - whether it is to your tastes or not. Not all places are going to have the visual appeal of a Budapest, Vienna, Krakow, etc.
I was in Chisinau on business early this decade. Honestly, it was one of the most depressing and corrupt places I have ever visited. Think Bucharest with all the rotting heavy industry, concrete apartment blocks and even less charm. Among former eastern block capitals, in my opinion only Skopje is uglier. As a time-travel back to the bad old days of the Soviet empire, it can be fasinating in a perverse way, but this country is no hidden gem waiting discovery.
Will you be traveling anywhere else on this trip?
We are pondering a Romania, Ukraine and Poland Trip for 2010 and planning will begin soon after we return from our 2009 trip.
I would be interested in hearing your feedback on your return..and whether we should incorporate this area...
We are going to Germany for a couple of days on the front end and back end of our trip. We plan to stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber and go to the Christmas Markets.
Eric Weiner was interviewed by Rick Steves on his radio program (Eric Weiner and The Geography of Bliss,
Airdate: April 26, 2008). You can listen to it from the "Rick on Radio" archives.
Copied below is from the Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, January 7, 2008 (http://www.TiraspolTimes.com):
CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) - If you are looking for happiness, don't make a detour to Moldova. The country, which holds the dubious honor of being the poorest in Europe, is now officially also the unhappiest.
A new book by American author and journalist Eric Weiner categorizes Moldova as the least happy place on the face of the planet. The book, The Geography of Bliss, surveys countries around the globe with happy populations. For comparison, it also includes the most miserable country in the world: Moldova.
" - Moldovans are truly miserable," says the book's author, Eric Weiner. "It's a relatively poor country on the edge of a rich neighborhood, and that's Europe. Once they had the pride of being part of the Soviet empire, and now they're not part of anything."
Mark Ames, another American journalist, agrees.
" - Moldova is not only the poorest nation in Europe - it is also the most miserable place I have ever visited," says Ames.
Weiner says that Moldovans appear stuck in a posture of "learned hopelessness," which according to the book is a way of thinking that suggests things will never improve. That is the dominant mind-set in Moldova, the former Soviet republic which Weiner visited as a point of comparison after checking out some of the happiest countries in the world.
" - The Moldovans, who live in the least-happy place in the world, are poor and miserable, but there are poorer countries that are happier. Moldovans drink a lot and are perpetually nasty to each other," says Eric Weiner.
Fittingly, the book's chapter on Moldova is titled "Happiness is Somewhere Else."
In wonder if the authors are confusing Moldova with Molvania? http://tinyurl.com/bdp3j
Nope, that sounds pretty much like how I remember Moldova!