The One about Going Forward

Moldova is a beautiful country with cosy villages and big green fields. Truly, it is not the easiest country to cycle. The roads are often gravel, especially when passing through small villages. When we entered the country, the peaches and nectarines were just raped and ready to eat and the water was freely available from the wells. Sometimes it was tasty and cold refreshing, sometimes it tasted after sulphur. Nevertheless, people were kind and the atmosphere was very natural. I really enjoyed the rural architecture.

At first, we wanted to get to Tiraspol, to the unrecognized republic of Transnistria which lays just across the river Dnister. We found a host on Couchsurfing. However, it was not so easy to get there. For foreigners, there is only one official border which goes over Bender and we wanted to cross in Răscăieți. The policemen did not want to let us pass and were wondering how come that two girls are cycling alone without “protection” – meaning MEN. We were wondering if the girls should feel in danger of cycling alone in their country? Well, we did not make a good expression and were sent away to Bender.

Tiraspol is like a trip to the past while having all the possibilities and free wifi internet in public spaces. Lenin is everywhere, the Russian influence is dominant, the soldiers are walking from one side to another and Sherif – the monopoly company, owns almost everything from a football club, petrol stations to supermarkets. In contrary, Moldovian capital, Chisinau, is westernized with Andy’s pizza on each corner and Romanian language as official. And so it seems that the countries are connected only by the Orthodox Christian religion.

Tiraspol:

Chisinau:

 

After 5 days spent in Moldova, we were cycling towards the Romanian borders. The hot weather was replaced by a rainy season. I do not know who had the idea but at some point, we decided to shorten the route over the fields. As soon as we entered we knew it was a bad decision trying to cycle through the fields after the rain which meant just lots of mud. However, none of us wanted to go backwards and so we continued. I think 9 km took us more than 2 hours. We were not able to cycle as our wheels stopped spinning. I remember pushing the fully loaded bike with the strength in my arms and getting a nervous breakdown when I was just not able to push the bike to the hill anymore. And because it would not be enough, I also got a puncture. When we got to the nearest road again I was imagining that there will be some good people in the nearest village who will give us the place to sleep and something to eat and allow us to shower. And we were both laughing about it with Eva.

Sometimes, it seems like if a wish is said loudly it can really happen. We got to the village and started to clean our bikes from all that mud when the old man came from the yard and offered us the water from the pipe to clean our bikes. He was guarding the agricultural yard and offered us to sleep over and tomatoes from his garden and cakes baked by his wife. He was very kind and a good company. He spoke with us Russian/Ukrainian. It was mainly Eva who could talk and so I was listening. When we said we are from the Czech Republic he was thinking of his young age when he was in the army doing his service in Czechoslovakia. In the 60s and onwards there were lots of soldiers from the Soviet Union, including those who occupied our country. And so here we met in the remote village in Moldova, called Bumbăta, with the “enemy” of our parents. Despite this man was the kindest and we were grateful. At the end of the day, he was my wish and those often come with a lesson that there is nothing just black and white written in our lives and history.

 

 

Author: Michaela Davidova

artist designer: maker, pinhole camera photographer and designer, project coordinator and of course a dreamer and traveller!

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