This travel was also made as part of the CEED project and this route will soon be posted on the website of Moldova Holiday. This time we had a voice recorder, so no need to take notes with frozen fingers. Below follows a summary of this journey.
lever de soleil
At around 7 AM we left Chisinau to go for a 180 kilometers ride to Vulcanesti, a city in Southern Moldova. Unless we went south, the temperature was still below 0.
The road from Chisinau to Vulcanesti, via Cimislia and Comrat, is also known as the wine route. Going through the villages and towns with the bicycles on top of the car we got a lot of smiles and thumbs up.
On the road between Cimislia and Comrat we entered Gagauzian territory which you can easily tell by the flag posts. Gagauzia is an autonomous state within Moldova and consists of three larger cities: Comrat, Ceadir Lunga and Vulcanesti. Gagauzians descend from Turkish people, but in contrast to other Turks, they have a Christian Orthodox religion. Gagauzians are known to be proud of their culture and traditions which are still well remained. In almost every village there is an ethnographic museum where the culture is exposed.
Later we passed Budjak, which is also the name of the steppe. The name was given to this area during the Ottoman domination of the area (1484-1812) and derives from the Turkish word Bucak, meaning “corner” or “triangle”. It refers to the land between Akkerman (now Bilhorod –Dnistrovs’kvi, Bender and Ismail. In winter the plains around Budjak may be white from snow, in summer they are white from the salt.
We made a little detour to go to Vulcanesti to pass Ceadir Lunga. This city is famous for its horse farm with a Russian breed, especially suited for carriage rides. Once a year, in the month of May there is a horse festival with traditional horse races.
After Ceadir Lunga we’ll went through Corten. This used to be a wealthy Bulgarian village. Like Gagauzians, Bulgarians arrived in what was then called Bessarabia in the eighteenth and early nineteenth seeking refuge from Ottoman persecution. Bulgarians are known to be hard working and in Moldova they have well maintained their Slavic tradition in for example food, dress and wool. Bulgarians and Gagauzians live rather separate from each other.
Although the South is dry the government has created some artificial lakes which are almost dry in summer. Moreover these lakes are very salty. One such a lake is Taraclia. Leonid explained that the water is that salty that even by adding a lot of sugar for making compote, you won’t get rid of the salty taste.
We started cycling from hotel Speranta in Vulcanesti. A decription..
From the hotel we went uphill until a 22 meter high tower. This monument is remembering the Battle of Cahul of 1770 in which the Russian empire defeated the Ottoman Empire.
Cycling along the lake you can hear the lapping of water against the side. This is not a common sound in land-locked Moldova, especially in the dry South. A little further we needed to share the road with sheep and goats, definitely not uncommon in Moldova. Here you have a beautiful view over the lake.
After passing a hill the road becomes muddier, especially I was a champion in collecting mud. Actually it was so muddy that we needed to stop several times to free the bike from mud and clay. We passed several hills and valleys. On top of the hill there is a panoramic view. It was already dark when we hit the main road of the village Vadul Lui Isaac and we were only half way.
coucher de soleil