Archive for the 'Made in MD' Category

Greater with Diaspora

One last BBQ with Moldovan Ambassador before the end of his mission in Sweden.
By the way the Romanian word for BBQ is “Gratar” – most probably a misspelling of English “Greater” 🙂 .

All photos are available here

Chişinău 2014

Few colorful and less-colorful photos from my latest trip to Chişinău, capital city of Republic of Moldova.

Stefanet Brothers Orchestra & Geta Burlacu in Stockholm

Stefanet Brothers Orchestra & Geta Burlacu performed in Stockholm, 15th of May 2014 at Musikaliska.

The concert was part of EXPERIENCE MOLDOVA a project offering a taste of Moldovan musical culture & wine!

Full photo gallery is available here.

Landscapes of Moldova

Teaser for Lexx Bodylev‘s movie about the beauty of Moldova during the four seasons. The movie will be ready by the end of autumn 2014.


The Northen side of Moldova

Impressive images from the Northern part of Moldova. Lexx Bodylev shot several areas in the North, which would be worthy of being visited firstly by locals and tourists.
The hills, the rivers, the villages are just a few attractions.


Best route Sweden-Moldova: Stage 3

STAGE 3: Drive through Romania to Moldova
Stage 3 also can be entitled “Make sure you don’t hit a horse carriage”

In this post within shortly I will answer below questions 😉
– Which road I recommend to follow when crossing Romania and why ?
– How long time it took me to pass both customs between Romania and Republic of Moldova ? 11min. or 11h. ?
– Shall you a take a right or left when reaching this intersection 😉 ?

– If Romanians are using Wind Turbines for cooling down due to the warmest winter ever or if they use them as a bird scarer to dissuade birds from eating planted arable crops.

Lastly I will post some amateur photos taken quickly when driving through Romania, like this one:

This stage is about driving from Hungary via Northern Romania to Moldova:
1. cross the border at Petea village between Hungary and Romania
2. drive through Satu Mare, Baia Mare, Dej, Bistriţa, Vatra Dornei, Gura Humorului
3. cross the border at Sculeni or Leuşeni, between Romania and Moldova.

One of the main reasons for choosing a route via Northern part of Romania, is due to less traffic and better road conditions. This was a strong recommendation from my brothers who have previously tried several routes to cross Romania.

I was presuming that this stage would be the most difficult, due to no highways in the Northern part of Romania and due to quite intensive traffic (lorries, horse carriages etc.)
Frankly speaking this stage was as easy and enjoyable as the previous ones.

As you would imagine I waked up very early – which was 9:00 😀 and reached my parents home in Moldova at about 21:00 (for US readers that’s 9:00 PM) .

I can confirm that it is realistic to cover 800 KM with enough breaks for photography, meals and customs and no need to drive like a maniac – remember I was driving the laziest and slowest car in the World 🙂 .

Few key points on this stages:
– From the hotel in Tiszavasvári I took immediately the highway M3 towards Satu Mare – this highway is completely new, so you would really enjoy a nice ride for about 150km

M3 highway in Hungary

– From M3 highway there will be clear signs which will lead to Satu Mare – unfortunately from exiting the highway till the border with Romania there is a portion of really crappy road of about 80KM

– You will cross the border between Hungary and Romania at Petea village – there are no actual customs checks, however you can stop if you want to declare any drugs or Mexicans in your trunk.

– As soon you enter Romania, driving will not be that easy, since you will have to know exactly what is your next nearest destination – there will be no signs such as: 700 KM left till Iaşi or 800 KM till Chişinău, unfortunately you really need to remember the above intermediate listed cities.

– I was driving through Baia Mare, Dej and Bistriţa at rush hour and I could state that it went quite smoothly – however remember that this was in January, when most probably there is less traffic.

– Driving through this part of Romania is really rewarding, since most of the roads are new, not so much traffic as written above and the villages are really special.

Road conditions in most of the villages in the Northern part of Romania

– From Bistriţa to Vatra Dornei there is a really nice portion of about 30KM mountain road – I would strongly recommend to drive through these small mountain villages during the day light, since the scenery is truly spectacular

– From Vatra Dornei, you just need to follow the road to Gura Humorului, Fălticeni, Paşcani and lastly Iaşi
make sure when exiting Gura Humorului not to go to Suceava, otherwise this means approx. 100 extra KM.

– I decided to pass the border between Romania and Moldova at Sculeni – mainly due to the fact that I presumed that this crossing point will be less demanded during the 11-13th of January, when many Moldovans are visiting Moldova in order to celebrate the Old New Year.

– The entire crossing of both customs took me about 11 min. – yes that’s correct-I timed it 😀 – it was approx. ELEVEN MINUTES 🙂 . This could have taken me even less time, if I wouldn’t showed off all my passports and Mexicans in the trunk 😉 . The customs officers at both customs were really polite and professional. I guess they were quite amazed to see one of the first Moldovans with a Swedish pass and not changing the surname into Cioricisson.

This is it for this time and I hope these travelling recommendations were useful for you. Looking forward to see an increase in the number of road trips from Sweden to Moldova and vice versa 😀 .

If you want to read again the first parts, please access the below links:
STAGE 1: Night Ferry from Nynäshamn (Sweden) to Gdańsk (Poland)

STAGE 2: Drive through Poland and Slovakia to Hungary

Best route Sweden-Moldova: Stage 2

STAGE 2: Drive through Poland and Slovakia to Hungary
Stage 2 also can be entitled “The Polish circuit”

This stage is about driving through Poland (via Gdańsk, Łódź, Katowice, Kraków, Nowy Sącz) and Slovakia (Prešov, Košice) to Hungary (Miskolc, Mátészalka) and finding a hotel/motel just at the border between Hungary and Romania.

I have entitled this post as well as “The Polish circuit”, due to:
1. Ability of Polish drivers to enjoy at maximum their new A1 highway by skipping all the basic driving rules.
2. Capability of Polish drivers to approach any cars in front of them by just few cm. and wait silently and calmly until the front drivers will notice this and let them go (like me).
3. Racing spirit of Poles to make a really good timings between Gdańsk to Katowice: e.g. they do nr.1 directly by stopping on the highway 😀 (I did not manage to take a photo, since I had always several cars just few cm. behind me 🙂 ).

I have decided to follow A1 motorway from Gdańsk to Katowice and no other options, due to recent finalisation of some important sections of this motorway, but also due to the recommendation of some friends from Moldova and a local citizen from a small village in Poland.

Below you can see the quality of the section between Toruń – Pikutkowo which was opened just on 20th of December 2013:

Besides some 50km of quite bumpy road near Łódź, the entire trip from Gdańsk to Kraków was a piece of cake.

An important step in this stage is to decide which road to choose from Kraków to Košice.

1. From Kraków, make sure you follow A4/ E40 highway towards Tarnow and Rzeszow.

2. After approx. 50 KM driving on A4/ E40 highway take exit towards Brzesko.

3. As soon you reach Nowy Sącz, you have the option to pass the border between Poland and Slovakia at Muszynka or Piwniczna-Zdroj.
Most of the navigations including Google Maps recommend Muszynka, even though this means you will take a very very secondary road.

I had some complications with the navigation when entering Nowy Sącz and instead of driving towards Muszynka, I went towards Piwniczna-Zdroj. The road was quite bumpy and at the border with Slovakia there are few serpentines and 3-4 one-lane sections. I was driving during the midnight and this was not a problem, since there were no cars at all. However during the day time I presume it might be a problem. However this road is very picturesque: mountain atmosphere, rivers accompanying you all the way near the border.

As soon you reach Slovakia all becomes very easy, since there are clear signs towards Prešov, Košice and afterwards towards Hungary.
Between Prešov and Košice there is a highway, therefore you will have to buy at some petrol station the local vignette, which will cost you 10 EUR for 10 days (this is the minimum duration).

Same thing applies for Hungary. As soon you reach Hungary, make sure you buy a local vignette as well, which will cost you 1470 HUF (5 EUR) for 10 days (this is the minimum duration).

Hungary at midnight is quite dark and boring 😀 . The only surprise was a small visit to HELL 🙂 .

Still a real surprise in Hungary was M3 motorway, which had some sections also opened in 2013. The M3 motorway is connecting Budapest to Nyíregyháza. It will eventually connect Budapest to the Ukrainian border. You will use this motorway from Miskolc till somewhere close to Mateszalka.

Since I was driving on this M3 motorway close to 1 AM, I needed a hotel. Hotels strangely in Hungary are not located on the motorway 🙂 , so I had to take a random exit and start looking for a hotel. I took the exit towards Tiszavasvári, where luckily I could find easily 3 hotels. At first one they informed me that “We have full house”, the second one “Hotel Veronika” was a **** hotel and way too expensive for a 4-5h. nap. However the staff at “Hotel Veronika” was very kind, despite waking up them close to 2 AM. They helped me to recommend another hotel in town for half of the price. I am really grateful for this help and therefore I have marked their hotel name twice in bold and even added the hyperlink, which will help them to get a lot of new visitors from Republic of Moldova, Maldives, Mongolia, Madagascar and Macedonia – more exactly the countries I am associated with 😀 .

The mysterious hotel I stayed at is Hotel Termál. I paid only 11750 HUF (38 EUR) for a room, including breakfast. I strongly recommend this hotel since it offers really pleasant stay, good opportunity for relaxation due to its spa facilities and the open-air bath, which is free of charge for the hotel guests. Closed parking lot is also available.

I provide below a quick summary of the second stage, in order for you to understand what distance you may be able to cover during this stage:
– started at 13:00 in Gdańsk
– drove 900km
– finished at 02:00 in Tiszavasvári
– driving conditions most of the time: intensive rain, fog, strong wind
– number of stops: just one for 1h. to refuel and enjoy a nice dinner at some Orlen petrol station.

Best route Sweden-Moldova: Stage 3

Best route Sweden-Moldova: Stage 1

STAGE 1: Night Ferry from Nynäshamn (Sweden) to Gdańsk (Poland)

When you google for “Best route Sweden-Moldova” you get about 193,000,000 results in just 0.44 seconds. However approx. 192,999,999 of those results most probably are about the “Best route Sweden-Mongolia” or “Best route Switzerland-Macedonia”.

This post is a serious one, no sarcasm at all, since this is a serious informative source, not like google 😀 .

This post is not only about optimum route from Sweden to Moldova, but also about:
– most recommended route Kraków – Košice
– most recommended route Hungary – Moldova

You will follow most probably 3 main stages if you are considering to travel to Moldova from Sweden:

1. Night Ferry from Sweden (Nynäshamn) to Poland (Gdańsk)

2. Drive through Poland (via Gdańsk, Łódź, Katowice, Kraków, Nowy Sącz) and Slovakia (Prešov, Košice) to Hungary (Miskolc, Mátészalka) and most probably you will have to look for a hotel/motel just at the border between Hungary and Romania.

3. Drive through Romania (via Satu Mare, Baia Mare, Dej, Bistrița, Vatra Dornei, Gura Humorului, Iași) to Moldova.

For the lazy ones who want to skip this amazingly interesting article, please just download the below map and you are on the best route from Sweden to Moldova 😉 .

STAGE 1: Night Ferry from Nynäshamn (Sweden) to Gdańsk (Poland)
Stage 1 also can be entitled “Having an entire ferry for yourself”

You will most probably take Polferries, unless you have your private yacht, which can accommodate your car.

Ticket price: 1260 SEK (145 EUR)
– this price is for the car and one person
– this price does not include a sleeping cabin
– there are no discounts or more attractive prices if booking in advance. I have booked the ticket 2 months in advance, and I have checked the tickets continuously and even during the day before departure and they were still 1260 SEK (145 EUR).

– I was on “Scandinavia” Ferry
– The ferry is quite old (older than Tallink or Viking Line ferries)
– 2 restaurants, 1 bar and a cafeteria (fast food)
– 3 Tax free shops
– Cinema, deck 2: 204 seats. They usually project only one movie. Ticket costs some 5EUR.

The ferry departs at 18:00 from Nynäshamn port, which is 50KM South of Stockholm.
As soon you reach Nynäshamn, you will immediately see clear signs which will lead you to the correct departing deck for Gdańsk.

This is the main entrance to Ferry terminal

Important actions during and after check-in:
1. Make sure you firstly take a right and drive to the terminal building to check-in.
– You will need your ID and a print of your reservation
– I would recommend to arrive approx. 16:45 to check-in well in time

2. The car deck opens officially at 16:30
– In my case it opened at 16:45
– During the boarding, there could be some random customs checks and as long you are not driving an old Mercedes with Moldovan registration plates you are safe.
– Prepare your ID and your tickets which you have received during the check-in
– The Polferries personnel will check that the actual Registration Plate number of your car will match the number you gave during the reservation

Sleeping solutions on the ferry

1. Free sleeping solution – Airplane chairs
The Scandinavia ferry has many airplane comfortable chairs, more exactly on:
– deck 10: 136 seats.
– deck 9: 64 seats.
As you can see on the below photo, these chairs are actually no ordinary airplane chairs, they are definitely more comfortable and you have lots of space.
During the time I took the ferry, there were only 2 people sitting/sleeping in this area. Unless you have a long journey on the next day from Gdansk, I would recommend this sleeping solution, since it is comfortable and for free.

2. Sleeping cabin – for those who plan on the next day a long drive,
Scandinavia ferry has a multiple choice of cabins/beds: starting from the cheapest – 1 place in a 4-bed cabin without window for 100 SEK (11 EUR) to the Luxury cabin for 1300 SEK (150 EUR).

My recommendation and the smartest solution is to buy 1 place in a 2 bed-cabin with window, preferably on deck 6 or 7 like I did.
The route from Nynäshamn (Sweden) to Gdańsk (Poland) is not that demanded and there are always plenty of cabins (except during Christmas & Easter holidays). Therefore I booked my cabin only when I was on the ferry and I made sure that by buying only 1 place in a 2 bed cabin, they will not accommodate another drunk driver in my cabin.
1 place in the 2 bed cabin will cost you approx. 380 SEK (45 EUR).

I think this is the best solution, since you:
– get your own bathroom
– enjoy a room with window on a comfortable floor
– pay only 45 EUR (if you would book a 1 bed cabin, you would have to pay at least 75 EUR, or 80 for the entire 2 bed cabin)

My cabin looked like this

Overall the crossing on the ferry is quite enjoyable, even when the ferry is completely empty 🙂 .
You can:
1. Talk to the captain, like I did
2. Read all the interesting and non-interesting stuff about Polferries, Scandinavia and Gdansk, like I did
3. Answer all Polish drivers the question “Where are you coming from and what the customs officers wanted?”, like I did. Make sure you practice your Polish in advance, since all the questions will be in Polish 🙂 .
4. Visit the restaurant “Vivaldi”, like I did

The restaurant has a good selection of wines and dishes for extremely low prices (comparing to Sweden). I took the most sophisticated fish dish, which costed me only 12 EUR.
Also in “Vivaldi” restaurant you may be lucky to meet a very pleasant waiter with roots from Republic of Moldova. If you meet Donald, you will be fascinated by his life-time experience as a sailor around the world and about his grandparents from Moldova.

The last tip about crossing with ferry is to go for the breakfast buffet in the “Vivaldi” restaurant for only 30 PLN (7 EUR), since I didn’t 🙂 . Unfortunately they serve breakfast in the restaurant only until 10:30, I think I waked up at around 11:00 😀 . The other solution is to have breakfast in the Cafeteria on the 7th deck, like I did.

STAGE 2: Drive through Poland and Slovakia to Hungary

Another Old New Year in Stockholm

Family photo in front of BelgoBaren based on the requirement from the central party of Republic of Moldova.
Moldovan Diaspora

Chişinău, I love you :)

Chișinău, eu te iubesc / Кишинёв, я люблю тебя / Chisinau, i love you. from PMA Moldova on Vimeo.

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