Fyodor picked us up at 10:00am for our 11:00 tour of Cricova, a wine cellar with 120 kilometers of underground tunnels. We stopped at Fyodor’s home to pick up Galena and Samuel and then met Dima, Kristina and their boys, Marco and Dominique at the winery. It was very interesting but the 90 minute tour was long enough. This is the same town where I visited the prisons last Tuesday.
We then drove toward Butuceni where we would visit a 16th century Orthodox monastery. We stopped for lunch at a really nice outdoor restaurant that had a great playground for the kids to play. It took about 45 minutes to get our food, a grilled hot platter of assorted meats and some vegetables. It was a delicious meal but we were shocked to find that it came to $130 – OUCH! Way too much for Moldova. Apparently the menu pricing was misleading, according to Fyodor. We had plenty of leftovers as they served us way too much food.
We then toured the monastery. It was at the top of a hill that was not easy to drive, but Fyodor made it. The Monastery is cut into the side of the cliffs overlooking a fertile valley and a river directly below. This entire country is made up of very fertile farmlands, rolling hills as far as the eye can see. It is perfect climate for grapes and everywhere we go we see vineyards, sunflower fields and wheat fields. People are selling grapes and watermelon on the side of the roads all over the country. It is a beautiful country and has been a real treat for they eyes. The weather has been nice the whole time with the exception of a couple rainy days early last week.
Arriving back at the camp around 5:30pm mom and I walked to the river so she could see Transnistria, an area with a very heavy Russian presence. They are somewhat hostile to the west and want to separate from Moldova. We were supposed to hold our clinics in Transnistria but, due to the political position, Fyodor and the team decided it was not wise. While walking we each got an ice cream and ate it on the way back to Doxa Deo Camp.
We wound down the evening talking, blogging and sorting through gift bags. Tomorrow we leave for home on Lufthansa through Frankfurt and San Francisco. We arrive home at 1:15am and I have to work Friday since Clayton has the day off. Saturday we have a family birthday party and Sunday and wedding. Monday I leave for Portland for a business meeting all week. I won’t really be home until the end of the month. This will be more than three weeks away.