Sunflower Moldova

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All I knew about Moldova was two things. First, it existed! Second, it was a small country somewhere in southeastern Europe. The rest was pure guessing. Now I know so much more! I give you some of the relevant evidenced data. The country is populated by heavenly hospitable, amicable people. At least in the places I’ve seen. Wow! Such broad smiles! Such warm welcomes! It reminded me of Vietnam, which is by far inhabited by the friendliest people of the planet. Anyway, Moldovan folks make a very good second. I was sooooo nicely surprised that I loved the place at first sight. People waved, said ‘Hello’, even car and truck drivers used their horns! Sometimes I felt like a cycling rockstar. As it turns out, I was the only (crazy) long distance cyclist in the country! More news of Moldova: they like to grow stuff on their lands: mainly sunflowers, grains, corn, and fruit. As far as the eye can see. And it’s a national law that every paved road is bordered by a row of walnut-trees on either side. Great! Sometimes I could even struggle uphill with my ‘Zedd’ in the shade! Peaches, nectarines, juicy tasty big watermelons, and huge grapes are offered, all freshly captured, along the road. You can buy a whole watermelon for few Moldovan Lei, which is close to nothing. So I did! I cycled with a camel bag in front through this marvelous country!

I had decided that Moldova would be my first country to travel without a guide or much pre-read preparation. So indeed I was pretty unprepared and didn’t know a thing. Though I didn’t know anything about the language, or the value of their currency, or the prevalence of toilet paper, it all turns out to be rather well. Friendly people is all you need! With the usual hand-and-feet language, a German or English word, it was fun to go around. We all just want to have some fun in daily life. The first moments in Moldova were pretty scary. I arrived late, almost at dusk, in a town called Edinet and having no money on me was not called a decent preparation. I survived thanks to my Bear Grylls’ survival skills! I found an ATM and a hotel within minutes as people spoke a very decent English in the street…

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