Jun 172010
Breathing Room Only

Like toothpaste being squeezed from a tube, I slithered sideways through the jam-packed aisle of the Moldovan maxi-taxi, a common form of public transportation in Chisinau. Built for 15, this one was carrying 27 people plus the driver, so it was pretty much breathing room only. Taking public transportation to see Orheiul Vechi was turning […Read more]

Wandering Through the Wine Caves

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May 072010
Wandering Through the Wine Caves

I didn’t know which should concern me more—that I’d just gotten into a car with a strange man I’d found on the street who didn’t speak any language I did or that the talismans hanging from his rear view mirror ranged from a stuffed leprechaun to an icon of Jesus. But he had parked right […Read more]

Apr 172010
Karmanova aka Neudorf, Glueckstal

My Schott ancestors left the town of Osthofen, Germany, about 1809, heading east toward a better life in Russia. I don’t know why they left this pleasant town in a wine-growing area near the Rhine River, accepting Tsar Alexander’s invitation to German settlers. Great-great-great-grandfather Philipp Jakob Schott was a tailor, so it wouldn’t seem likely a hunger […Read more]

Apr 122010
Easter for the Dead

My touristing in Chisinau yesterday took me to a cemetery. That isn’t all that unusual since my interest in genealogy often takes me to cemeteries when I travel. But this time I wasn’t visiting the graves of my ancestors, but instead was observing the local “Easter for the Dead” holiday. On Sunday and Monday the weekend […Read more]

Apr 112010
Flashback to Soviet Russia

I made a trip back in time to Soviet Russia yesterday. And I did it without leaving the country of Moldova. Well, sort of. I actually did cross a border into Transdniestr, an area of Moldova that considers itself a country even though no one else does. The Moldovans humor them in this fiction to […Read more]

Apr 072010

I think I was part of something important yesterday, but I’m really not sure. April 7, 2010 was the one-year anniversary of protests in Chisinau when the Communist party won the elections (as usual). There were accusations of fraudulent voting tactics, but no one really seems to be able to say for sure.  I wasn’t […Read more]

Apr 062010

You know, it actually makes me a little angry. Here’s a nation of 4.5 million people going about their daily lives in a way that’s not that different from any of us. Yet the majority of the world I know doesn’t seem to know the country of Moldova even exists. The response I got from […Read more]