We've been in our Chisinau apartment one week now. It is nice and comfortable. We live in the tall modern building behind this older building. Our apartment is on the second floor on the backside of the building. Our view is of trees and a playground at a small school. We can also see the tower from our bedroom windows. One of Dan's co-workers, Iulia, told us that we live in an older portion of Chisinau and that the only remaining radio tower used for blocking Voice of America radio signals is near our apartment. I don't know if the one shown in the above photo is a "VOA-signal blocking tower" or not, but it is an interesting bit of trivia.
The weather has been cold. Dan's co-workers told him that 2013 has been abnormally cold and rainy. Someone else told us that fall temperatures arrived three weeks earlier than normal. Many apartments and houses have "city" heat. The city does not turn on the heat until the high temperature is no more than 8 C (46 F) for three days in a row. Our building has "building" heat which also has not yet been turned on. Fortunately, our apartment has two air conditioner/heaters that we have turned on to take the chill off our space.
This weekend was gloriously sunny and crisp. On Friday afternoon I finally regained my health and began to enjoy life here. Friday night we went to a wine bar called Carpe Diem Wine Shop/Bar (http://www.wineshop.md/eng/). We don't know anything about Moldovan wine and the wine shop seemed like a good place to begin. We tasted three wonderful wines (Et Cetera Chardonnay 2012; Mezelimpe Cabernet-Sauvignon Rose 2012; and Equinox Merlot 2011) from small wineries. We bought two bottles of the wines we tasted. When we were paying our bill, a man at the bar introduced himself as the winemaker/owner from Equinox. He shared a glass of his best wine with us. His vineyard is small producing perhaps 1000 bottles each year. He said he makes his wine and bottles it at the nearby Mezelimpe Winery. We had a plate of cheeses and prosciutto and had a great evening in the wine shop. Next weekend is the big Wine Harvest Festival in Chisinau.
On Sunday, Dan and I did some more exploring of streets that we had not yet walked down. We eventually made our way to the Central Market. We began in the cheese/butter section. Dan tasted butters and we both tasted cheeses. "Unt" (butter) is the first Moldovan/Romanian word we learned. Sometimes at dinner we order bread. Here, bread is not served with butter. After the first couple of times of trying to obtain butter, we learned the word: unt. Now we know.
Most of the signs in this butter/cheese section were in both Cyrillic Russian and Romanian Latin alphabet. We've been amazed to see how much Cyrillic and Russian is still used here. I still have trouble with numbers, though, and merchants simply hit the numbers on their calculators to show me the price. We'll be back.
The Central Market has everything and anything. It is also a great place for people watching.
Our walking path always cuts through Cathedral Park. Today was no different. It was such a lovely autumn day that brides seemed to outnumber the non-wedding park visitors.
The area between the bell tower and the cathedral was filled with huge white limos and vintage vehicles.
Brides always attract a crowd, and I like to take photos of people taking photos of brides. As the bride moves along she is trailed by paparazzi of all types--those who know her and those who don't. Here the bride and groom are being documented locking a padlock onto this heart shaped piece of iron with the TV station logo in the center. The bride kept the key.
The City Cathedral was very busy with wedding after wedding. After this wedding, two different wedding parties showed up. The priests conducted the two weddings at the same time. Each wedding party brings a rug/carpet that is unrolled and the wedding party stands on it. The bride and groom may also bring their own icon which is blessed and returned to the couple.
At the end of the day, we again crossed into Cathedral Park. The light was fading and shadows were long, but brides and their respective photographers were still working. It's interesting to watch what gimmicks wedding photographers use to make their photography unique--or at least different. We saw one female photographer bring out a long length of red tulle. She had the bride sit on one end (facing away from the fabric) and stood the groom with the other end over his shoulder with his back to his bride. Then he had to act like he was pulling her along while she was sitting on the red netting. We saw brides in cheesecake poses drape themselves over stretch limos for that "unique" shot. The most startling gimmick was to have the groom shake up a bottle of champagne, uncork it, and let the ejaculation of white foam arc over the bride for the photograph. Really?