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Chişinău in Moldova

Thursday, 19 July 2018

My recent eastern Europe circuit paused at Chişinău, the capital of Moldova, before progressing to that leftover sliver of forgotten Soviet Russia: Tiraspol the capital of the unrecognized state of Transnistria.

▲ Chişinău certainly had some Soviet style as well, particularly at our hotel – incidentally I was travelling with Simon Calder, the travel editor at The Independent in London. He’d booked us into the Hotel Chişinău which boasted that it was ‘like visiting your granny, not modern, but clean, warm and relaxing.’ Perhaps it should have added an adjective ‘your Soviet granny’ because it was definitely a hotel out of the old Soviet-era playbook, pretty clean, but also pretty worn and faded and it certainly dished out the worst hotel breakfast I’ve experienced for awhile. The very Soviet Liberty Monument fronting the hotel hinted what it was all about.

◄ A short stroll from the hotel the Chişinău Railway Station was also very Soviet – very clean, neat, tidy and well kept and with quite an elegant frontage. The Monument to the Victims of the Communist Regime out front of that elegant train station perhaps wasn’t quite so Soviet?

We’d gone round to the station to enquire about the service from Chişinău via Tiraspol in Transnistria to Odessa in Ukraine. Having painstakingly written down all the departure and arrival times for us the station information expert then informed us that unfortunately the train wasn’t running at the moment. Those times were what they would have been if it had been operating.

Not everything was old school Russian in Chişinău, the Pavel Obreja statue of two lovers for example. Note the girlfriend, hurrying up behind her clock watching boyfriend, is carrying her high heels in her hand. ►

Our Chişinău explorations started with the Nativity of Christ Metropolitan Cathedral in the central park which also sports the town’s own Arc de Triomphe. In the next park there’s a statue of Stephen the Great, from where we continued to the not terribly interesting Archaeological Museum and after more exploration ended up with a beer, a bottle of red wine and pretty good food at Robin Pub,

Chişinău in Moldova

19 July 2018 | Places

My recent eastern Europe circuit paused at Chişinău, the capital of Moldova, before progressing to that leftover sliver of forgotten Soviet Russia: Tiraspol the capital of the unrecognized state of Transnistria. ▲ Chişinău certainly had some Soviet style as well, p...

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Transnistria – aka Transdniester

18 July 2018 | Places

Back in April I made a short trek around countries in Europe which, for some reason, I’d never visited. OK some of them I had visited, but that was way back in the 1970s, before they even existed, back when two of them were constituent parts of Yugoslavia. That trip t...

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Danube Travel – BP Portrait Awards

5 July 2018 | Culture

The National Portrait Gallery in London (half way between Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square, right behind the National Gallery) is one of my favourite London museums or galleries and each year the BP Portrait Award – ‘the most prestigious portrait painting competi...

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Bologna & Rimini

5 July 2018 | Places

Emilia-Romagna – turn east from Rome and head north – tops Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe category for 2018. It’s got a lot going for it: Bologna (the main city), Ravenna (Italy’s best mosaics), Modena (fabulous food), Parma (the ham), Ferrara (a Renaissance gem), Rim...

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Flag Carriers – Losing Money or Flying Nowhere

20 June 2018 | Transport

A flag carrier is a national airline, an airline that ‘flies the flag’ internationally. Once upon a time you could add ‘at great expense’ because most flag carriers seemed to be bottomless pits for government money. Some of them still are and in Europe that descriptio...

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MH17 – why didn’t the Russians check before they fired their Buk missile?

27 May 2018 | Transport

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian missile over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 – almost four years ago – while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The Netherlands authorities have announced who did it – the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Briga...

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25 Hour Hotel Bikini Berlin & its Mini

14 May 2018 | Living

▲ When I was in Berlin last month I didn’t stay at the 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, because I was joining Maureen, she was on an opera tour and she was already installed at the Regent Hotel near the Staatsoper. I did go to have a look at the hotel because of this anc...

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Airlines – good & bad

13 May 2018 | Transport

Flying between London and Melbourne in March-April I used seven different airlines for 11 flights, two of which (Adria and Emirates) had annoying delays. And one which I didn’t even fly on, but left me very impressed – Regent Airways of Bangladesh – we’ll get back to ...

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Bangladesh Transport & Human Chains

29 April 2018 | Transport

There’s plenty of transport around Bangladesh, but it’s often lethally unsafe. The Bangladesh accident rate is not appalling against the population numbers, but presumably a large proportion of Bangladeshis never see a road. Against the number of vehicles (1000+ death...

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Cox’s Bazar & Chittagong

27 April 2018 | Places

My recent Bangladesh trip was primarily to visit the Rohingya refugee camps south of Cox’s Bazar, where the Myanmar army has shoved half a million of their Muslim citizens out of the country and in to refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh. It’s been described ...

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