We have been in Chisinau for a week now, and it has been pretty pleasant so far. It strangely feels like home because of the Russian language, which is widely spoken along with Romanian (Moldovan Romanian, mind you). Besides the language, this place used to be in Soviet Union, which is similar to the countries of my background. I feel right at home. And then we have the exciting side of exploring a new land with the questions: Where is the playgrounds (first questions most of the time)?; Where is the grocery store and do they have good milk and peanut-butter?; What kind of restaurants do they have?; Can you get around with a taxi without much hassle?; Can you get money out of the ATM machines – is there any?; etc. And luckily, all of those important questions have been met with positive and helpful responses.
Here is one of the main streets, Ul. Stefan Cel Mare in the center, and there is the Arch (so far no specific name but ‘the arch’) at the side of the Central Park. Also, you can see an already decorated “yolka” – Christmas tree across from the Arch, which lights up the street at night.
There is a nice playground in the Central Park and we found many more around the city. That’s a huge exclamation point.
There are lots of street food. We tried these mini and puffy donuts which were yummy. Also they have fresh popcorn everywhere, which we started to give to the kids when they start whining about nothing. One interesting food is something called the “Pizza Cone”. I wanted to get it the other day at one corner but they were out of it. They are popular, so I have to get it before lunch.
There are ponies for riding and electrical trucks for driving for kids inside this Central Park. It’s about 20 lei (less than two dollars) to ride around a big circle on the truck. Our kids love it.
Lei and Ban. “Lei” is the Moldovan money. Some are pretty tricky, like this one below. There are many ATM machines if your card works. The bank account we had in Belgium works in Victoria Bank ATM machines here. Also, I have been able to swipe them in the stores (but I have yet to see if that has penalties…).
There are pretty impressive houses for expats and rich Moldovans here. We have been house hunting and finding huge houses. The only thing is, their styles are not so hot (not for our tastes anyway). Some of them are too done up and are hard to handle, and that are not practical for little kids.Either way, it’s great to have many options to choose from.
We found a Chuck e Cheese alternative in the building called The Greenhill Center (Stefan Cel Mare st.). It’s a three level building with a grocery store and electronics store included. It’s pretty nice, however we found it pretty expensive, so it would have to be a special occasion type of entertainment. It also had bowling and a bar inside. (note place has closed since this post was written 😦 )
We are going to try some gyms soon, and there seems to be a good amount to choose from. We are also looking for a nanny.
Much more to come!
It’s about 37F, it’s 7:30 PM.