Chisinau is probably one of Europe’s least known capitals. It’s a very walkable city, but if you have a broken leg, or just aren’t up for it, the bus service is frequent and ridiculously cheap (In 2008, we payed 3 lei for a ticket – about EUR 0.30)
Chisinau street scenes
The little city’s architecture is interesting, pretty in a slightly run down sort of way:
Chisinau by night
Nightlife in Chisinau is rumoured to rock! On this Tuesday evening, it seems to be concentrated along main street, Blvd Stefan cel Mare. We’re drawn into Green Hills Café, offering huge portions of very good food and nice Moldovan wine. Green Hills is also an excellent spot for people-watching.
As they stroll by on impossibly high heels, I marvel at Moldovan women’s ability – and desire – to walk around on stilts. They look chic. But is it really worth the pain? The having to walk slowly? The total inability to suddenly start running to catch … whatever? The feeling of being handicapped? Is it that different from the old Chinese tortuous custom of binding girls’ feet?
So, was it perhaps time to hit the world-famous kick ass-nightlife? According to ever trusty Lonely Planet, good times can be had at Black Elephant: The Underground Club or at Soho.
Nah! Sorry, everyone; not my scene. A book in a park is more like it. I can be boring. Also, my 19-year-old daughter has no desire to go nightclubbing with her mum.
Instead we stop at Beer House where beer is brewed on the premises and tastes delicious. The food gets good reviews as well. Outdoors on this mild June evening are oval glass tables, wicker chairs, brick floors and strips of white Christmas lights hung vertically in the large windows (oddly, it works).
The interior is interesting as well: in one area, the stone walls are decorated with cave man drawings. Another area depicts medieval times, complete with knights in armour. The main hall leaves me with the feeling of walking among half-timbered houses in an English village on a starlit night in 1890. The only drawback is cigarette smoke. But we’re in Eastern Europe. Eastern Eastern Europe even. Smoking laws are probably long ways away.
Staying in Chisinau
In Chisinau, we stayed in Marisha’s flat (arranged through Your Friends in Moldova). Marisha is an enterprising Moldovan girl married to a Manchester boy. The flat is conveniently located near the train station. Nothing luxurious, but then again, I paid about EUR 30 pr night for the whole flat.
Our short-term home in Chisinau
Very interesting article! I’ve seen Moldova on the map but had absolutely no idea what it looked like there. It would make for an off-beat vacation destination for sure.
It was an interesting place to have a closer look at, both Moldova and its odd entity, the non-country Transdniestr.
Interesting article 🙂
had to google what country Chisinau is the capital of…
I’m sure you’re not the only one 🙂
You’re the first person I know – even virtually that’s gone there. Not a capital I’d heard of either.
No surprise about the night -clubbing. Would you want to be seen with your mother out dancing and drinking? Never.
God, no. Perish the thought…
A little disappointed you didn’t go nightclubbing, but I like what you did see and do. Thanks for introducing me to a city I’d never heard of, but now would like to visit.
You’re welcome 🙂
I’ve never even heard about it. Shame on me! Looks really nice! Love the beer house from the inside 🙂
I did, too. A very cool place that restaurant.
You’re right I have never heard about this capital. I love the Beer House. Those walls inside are amazing but I would have opted for an outside table. I’m with you, give me a good beer and book and I’m good.
A beer and a book – just the ticket 🙂
Unknown capital indeed. I had to google it to be sure I understood that it was the capital of Moldova and how to pronounce properly. And I consider my geography to be pretty good for an American 😉 Looks like a fascinating city. Thank you for helping me to learn something new today.
Happy to, Jessica 🙂
I was glad that you mentioned that Chisinau was the capital of Moldova as I had no idea what the capital of Moldova was. I love the beer hall.
I think many people don’t even know where – or what – Moldova is.
Hey Sophie, thanks for this post on Chisinau. I’d never heard of it but it sounds quite interesting.
Looks like most people haven’t heard of Chisinau.
Thanks for sharing Sophie! I love how I learn about these offbeat places and increase my geography knowledge thanks to your posts =) It looks really charming. Even though I’m not a beer fan, I would hang out at this Beer House.
I love visiting offbeat places. Like Moldova.
I loved the cave/beer hall. And your comment about high heels reminded me of Venice. Well, of course it IS Italy where fashionable shoes are de riguer, but on those uneven streeets, bridges and BOATS?
A place I’ve never heard of and will have to add to my “next time in Europe go here” list.
Great post . . .another destination to add to the bucket list. Love the chairs and table shot.
I have many students from Moldova, so I’ve been learning about it little by little over the past 9 years. I also read in Eric Weiner’s book about happiness that Moldovans are among the least happy people on earth… not sure I agree, but it’s an interesting perspective since the country is so poor and slow to develop. I enjoyed reading about your experience there. The beer hall reminds me of some of the places I hung out in in Eastern Europe, smoke and all 🙂
Is it completely awful to admit I had never heard of it – ever?! I will blame this on my North American upbringing but I need to look at a map more often.
Intersting article. I spent there 22 years, before moving to US.
It’s a pretty run down city with poor maintenance. The downtown is full of old houses, unfortunately the new buildings ruin the feeling of 1800’s. People are somewhat rude and poor and you can feel the negative feeling floating in the air, but will make any tourist feel welcome. I mostly spend the time exploring the rural areas, there are some gorgeous geographic area/villages, that look like the time stood still (undeveloped)
Thanks for stopping by, Sergiu.
We were out in the countryside a bit as well. I remember a tiny village called Ivancea that definitely had that time-stood-still feel.