PTPI members share their inside knowledge about what to see and where to go in locations around the world. Who better to help plan your next travel itinerary than members of your PTPI family?
Cristian Botezat, attendee of PTPI’s 2011 Peace Camp in Turkey, gives us an insider’s view of Moldova:
1. What is a must see attraction?
The Cricova Cellars – an underground city just outside Chisinau with more than 50 km of roads, 80 meters underground. There you can find an exceptional wine collection and you won’t see anything like this anywhere else. Moldova is famous as being one of the best wine producers and the collection in this cellar consists of over one million bottles of various wines, some of them dating back even one or two centuries. No wonder all important faces that visit Moldova reserve time to come here.
2. What is the best place to visit to get a taste of the local culture?
If you want to feel like a real Moldovan, you can experience that at Satul Moldovenesc. It is a place where you are living in Moldovan-fashion, housed in the countryside, eating delicious Moldovan food and doing activities that typical Moldovan families do. It’s an interesting and exciting way to learn about our culture.
3. What is the best mode of transportation to see the country?
Moldova is a small country, so you can easily get to any place by car.
4. What is the one food I should try while visiting and where is the best place to find it?
Moldoval has delicious food that makes you want to marry a Moldovan, so you could enjoy Moldovan food each day. I guess the most important dish is Mamaliga – a corn-made food that is usually eaten with fish or meat, scrob (fried eggs), sour cream, and most importantly, cheese (mozzarella). It just melts in your mouth, making you close your eyes and creating a sensation that you are in heaven. Another national dish is called sarmale. It is a kind of rice with meat that is covered with cabbage. It is delicious.
5. What is the best city to visit?
Chisinau is the capital city of Moldova and is considered to be the greenest city in Europe. A small city in comparison with others like Istanbul or Chicago, but it feels full of space and not crowded at all. This feeling is created by the nature that makes the city alive. All the roads in Chisinau are hugged by huge beautiful trees that create a paradise when driving them.Central Chisinau is the historical part, dating back to the 19th century. The city suffered a lot during both World Wars but managed to save most of its heritage. In the center of the city you go back in time – building that are no higher than two floors, small streets, amazing architecture.
6. What places should I be wary as a first time traveler to this country?
The biggest awareness that you might have is of pickpockets. The best way to avoid them is not keeping your wallet in your back pocket or another vulnerable place. Also a good reminder is to bring cash with you, or exchange your money into cash in Moldova. No places here accept checks, and not many places, especially outside Chisinau, accept credit cards. I am sorry for that but anyway it will not affect your trip at all. It will give you a chance to touch and feel Moldovan money so I believe it is a positive effect.
7.What is the best place to go to hear live music?
Chisinau is considered to be the youth party city. Here there are plenty of concerts with local and international singers, and plenty of discos and night clubs where you can have some crazy fun. The nice thing that makes them attractive for everyone is the cheap prices and drinks in comparison to other European countries…and of course the cutest and the most beautiful girls and the most handsome and great looking guys in the world.
8. Why should I travel here?
To discover the miracles that are hidden on Moldovan land. You will have an unforgettable experience here and you will be astonished by the beauties of this land of miracles.
9. What is the best season to travel here?
Moldova is beautiful in any season, but if you are not used to snowy winters then summers and early autumn will be the best time to visit. Nice weather will sweeten your trip
10. Where can I go to find the best souvenirs to take home?
Chisinau is full of shopping centers and malls so if you want to do some shopping or buy souvenirs, you will always find a place to do it.
11. What is your favorite spot to visit in the country?
There is a place just outside Orhei where none of the rules of physics apply, where a car can go uphill with its engine off. It is a miracle that no one can explain. A car slows down going downhill and accelerates going uphill. Also the water flows uphill.
12. What is the best historic place to visit?
Moldova is a place where past meets future. Here you can see unique castles and churches that go back 10 centuries. Soroca Castle, almost perfectly preserved, will send you back to the 15th century, creating an unforgettable experience of that time. Another must-see place is Orheiul Vechi, a place where ruins of an old castle built on the hill can still be seen. Besides that, there is a formidable church places on the highest point of a hill that is full of caves. Legends say that Moldovans used to hide their wives and children their while the men were fighting against Ottoman soldiers. King Stephen the Great was our biggest hero because he managed to protect this land from the Ottoman Empire. He won 47 of his 49 wars, and the fact that makes him fabulous is that he built a church after each victory so Moldova is full of amazing churches with beautiful architecture.
13. What is the best way to describe the local culture?
Moldova appears to be a small country in Eastern Europe, but it is full of a rich culture that makes you want to be a part of it – green cities, friendly and welcoming people, and delicious food.
14. What is something different in your country that is different from other countries?
I can promise that if you want to come to Moldova, I will be happy to help you with your trip and I will be happy to make it one of the best experiences of your life.