Chişinău, Republic of Moldova

I met some customer in and around the city last week and decided to stay in the country for the weekend and of course brought the bike with me! The forecast was really wet for Sunday so Saturday morning at seven o’clock I went for cruise in the parks and streets of the city. Well, here’s the city and the country if you wondered

Republic of Moldova became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991 and all those years with Soviet have made it very different from Romania. Between the world wars the territory was part of Romania and the official language is now Romanian. Even if I don’t speak a lot of Romanian I can hear the difference clearly and it’s a bit funny… A Latin language spoken with Russian sounds…

When the country became independent the new president thought it was too expensive to take over what was the 14th Soviet army, so he said “no thanks”. But the army was located in Transnistria and after a civil war for a couple of years that part of the country (between the river Dnjestr and Ukraine) ended up in a sort of vacuum, and is still today. Own currency, number plates etc, but not acknowledged by anyone else in the world…

Some more background and I will get to the biking… Moldova is poor, in fact the poorest country in Europe by GDP per capita. They have signed a first agreement with EU and Putin doesn’t like it… and then the issue with Transnistria… You get it. Kind of difficult situation… But… the wines are kicking ass and the nature is beautiful. Sort of. Different from Romania… We are talking Zil trucks from Soviet, nowadays converted to run on gas

I depart from the road and dive into a forest/park and come across some pretty good trails right away

It’s early and only 4 degrees. Remarkable sunrise

I go up and down the hill and what do you know… A perfect berm out of nowhere

And gap jumps

And a pump track!!!

I give it a shot – looking like a ghost in the early morning

I make it down to a lake where early birds are fishing and jogging

In the background you can see the forest with the built stuff

I’m on the street of Stephen the great. The country is balancing between EU and Russia. A weak minority government is trying to navigate in the stormy waters with EU, Putin, corruption, Lost IMF money (1 billion Euros…) and poverty. Demonstrations are going on and people are slowly waking up in the tents in the streets. The pro Russians are outside the Parliament

The pro EU guys are outside the government

They are of course paid to be there and it’s a game, but beneath the surface… A couple of blocks away the police is standby. I start talking to a journalist and ask him to take my picture

Handicap friendly side walk. Not.

Some street views

After two hours I’m back at the hotel

In the afternoon I visited lovely Orheiul Vechi just an hour away from the city. The idea was originally to bike there the day after but as the rain was just pouring down it never happened. Next time… At least I got to see it on foot in sunshine during the Saturday

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