Leisurely Sunday in the countryside

August 28, 2016 5:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Dawn broke on Sunday to yet another warm, sunny day.  Our group gathered for a leisurely coffee at an outdoor cafe decorated with more coleus than I'd ever seen in one spot.  The misting system overhead helped to keep the plants moist and thriving and the customers cool. When it was time to head out to our destination for the day, we all piled into two mini- vans and set off.  The short drive through Chisinau didn't take long as the Sunday traffic was so light compared to weekdays.  We were headed it Orhei, about 69 km northeast of the city.  

One thing Moldova is infamous for is the state of it's roads.  It was a bumpy ride through the verdant countryside.  We passed through a couple of villages but mostly it was agricultural land.  

 Orhei Vechi (Old Orhei) is an archeological and historic open air museum.  As we neared our destination we made several photo stops to admire the views.  Orhei is famous for the monestary complex dug into caves in the hillside.  It is also very important in Moldovian history for the medieval fortress built by the Golden Horde (Tatars) when they occupied the area.  It is considered the most important archeological site in Moldova.  Also on view was a small village with it's colourful Orthodox Church and some ruins of ancient Turkish baths.

Once in the complex we headed down a dusty road past past histori buildings.  We stopped to view a typical 2 room home on display, with a wine storage area dug out of the hillside and aa kitchen separate from the house, also dug into the hill.  Then up the hill for a visit to the famous cave monestary.  This was an ideal place for an ancient monestary due to it's remoteness.  It was first inhabited in the 13th century and used until the 18th century.  Following the demise of Communistic rule in the area, monks returned to restore the community.  

Next was a late, leisurely lunch in a sprawling Bessarabian style restaurant, the Villa Thnica Hotel. Located along a small river the restaurant was spread over several levels.  We ate in a partially openair area.cooled by misters and ceiling fans.  After a group photo we piled into the hot vans and headed back to the city, arriving about 7 pm.  

For me it was time for the home made borscht my hostess had spent the afternoon preparing, followed by fresh sweet melon.  Oh yes, and I can't forget the home-made brew tasting. My host pulls out a coke bottle with a hand written label - containing a very strong dark liquid which definitely was not coke.  Next was cherry infused vodka.  Perfect ending to our Sunday in Moldova.

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