I am more than two months in Moldova, but I haven’t seen the south of Moldova yet. All I knew from the south was what I have read in books and on the internet and some stories of my Russian teacher who is from Gagauzia, an autonomous region in the South. It made me interested to see this place.
My plan was to go first to Comrat and then take the so-called wine-route to Vulcanesti. This would lead me through the Budjak Steppe. Then I wanted to go back to the north by taking the road along the Lower Prut national reserve to go back to Chisinau by Hincesti.
What most impressed me was the great hospitality of the people. I had a sleeping mat and bag with me so I wouldn't need ‘to bother’ the people too much, but I was not 'allowed' to use it. I also told them I had enough food, but they were firmly telling me that I could keep that food for the other day. They even gave me all kinds of presents: fruits, compote, sweets, etcetera, and more than once I was told that I was part of the family.
Also along the road I encountered some unexpected hospitality. When I was taking a stop in Vulcanesti I was offered some ‘typical Gagauzian’ bread. It was bread filled with marmelade and mac (poppy) which I have seen all over Moldova, but delicious. This bread will for sure remember me to Gagauzian hospitality.
Cycling in the south was a real pleasure. The hills are slightly less frequent and intense than they can be in other parts of Moldova. I saw several other bikers and not on mountain bikes, but on bikes without gears. The landscape offers wine fields, steppe, forests and lakes. Along the road I saw many raptors, woodpeckers and other for me unidentifiable, birds. I passed many villages with colorful houses, decorated fences and donkeys in the garden or sheep, goats, cows and geese; horses in front of a carriage and even behind them. Besides you can find an ethnographic museum or winery in almost every village in the South.
|donkey - âne|
|Hosts in Comrat – hôtes à Comrat|
|Close to Slobozia Mare – Près de Slobozia Mare|
|Handmade carpets on the wall –Tapis faits main sur le mur|
In Leova I again found a nice place to sleep with a retired, but still working couple. They too had children living outside Moldova, in Italy and Russia and one living near Chisinau.
|Prutul de Jos in the fog – Prutul de Jos dans la brume|
|A glimpse of Prutul de Jos – un apercu de Prutul de Jos|
|Back to Chisinau – Retour à Chisinau|