This first week of our brief return to Moldova, I haven't gotten much exercise, and Dan was going to be teaching all weekend. I searched the internet for "events in Moldova," and found an interesting weekend hike/boat trip with Explore Moldova (www.explore-moldova.com).
Leonid of Explore Moldova and Nelea of Trip To Moldova (http://triptomoldova.com/) picked me up Saturday morning at 8:30. It was raining in Chisinau. The trip first had 16 people signed up for it, but as the weather changed, the number of participants dropped to 10, then 4, and on Saturday morning 1--I was the only client. Leonid and Nelea decided to go ahead with the weekend trip as an exploration for future tours.
We arrived at the trailhead in the village of Vulcănești and began hiking about 1:15 pm. It was dry and mostly sunny in South Moldova. The hike was 24 kilometers (almost 15 miles) on and around the site of Trajan's wall. The wall, built in the 3rd century AD, once stretched over present day Romania, Moldova, Ukraine to the Black Sea.
|Slight Plateau left by Foundation of Defensive Fort from 3rd-century AD|
The most obvious evidence of the wall runs under the power poles. The ditch on the outside of the wall was created when the wall's builders took dirt from there for building the mud wall that was then probably topped with a wooden fence. An inconspicuous long berm or mound and the parallel ditch are what remain of the wall.
Along the way, we met only shepherds, their dogs, goats, and sheep.
We walked until we reached a small, oak forest and then we looped back toward our starting point.
The weather was perfect for hiking, the scenery was beautiful, and the landscape was expansive. We finished the hike at about 8:00 pm; I was dragging a bit after walking so far. Leonid and Nelea drove me to the rural pension in Văleni where I was to stay. I didn't know much about the conditions except that there would be a shower. First, we ate a tasty meal of chicken, fish (carp), and cabbage salad. Next, it was time for the shower which turned out to be at the neighbor's house. The lovely neighbor, Iuliana, showed me to the bathroom. There was a tub, and I so wanted to take a hot soak, but there was no stopper and Leonid was waiting for his turn to take a shower.
Because "shower" was on the amenities list, I was surprised to find that the toilet at the rural pension was an outhouse with a "squat" toilet. That night, my tired and sore knees felt quite insulted by the "squat" part of the toilet routine.
My hostess made up my bed and I slept very well. I was happy to have a bed inside a house. Nelea and Leonid slept in tents at the nearby lake.