The longest day ever…..
After discovering a slow leak in one tire and changing to the spare, we set off. We drove 7hrs and 360 km with 150km worth of ridiculous car-swallowing pot holes along the Prislop mountain pass from a small Romanian village called Vadu Izei to Iasi en-route to Moldova. We spent a few hours at the bus station with a broken-English promise of a bus departing at 5:30pm, only to realize that the last bus had departed hours ago.
Insert taxi. We thought that a price had been agreed upon to Chisinau, Moldova with the taxi driver. We got in and the story changed as he didn’t want to do the 3 hour drive. He planned to take us to the border, then assist in our hitch-hiking to Chisinau. Everyone in Romania hitch-hikes. After ignoring literally hundreds along the road with disapproving hand-gestures (them, not us) for the past 5 days in our rental car, we found ourselves on the other side of the road ourselves. Karma?
At 8pm, after an hour of waiting and numerous failed attempts (despite our prize-winning smiles and hopeful glances), he thankfully arranged a ride from a couple driving a BMW X5. Another price discussion took place with a third party man at the border which smelled of a scheme but turned out not to be. Fortunately we paid less than a taxi would have cost (though more than our initial understanding, and not withstanding several moments of uncertainty) and rode in style with Moldovians who spoke no English but had a kicking Moldovian flute CD. We were told Moldova is an interesting place, it certainly is.
Katie’s commentary when we reached the hotel at 10pm: “do I get a gold medal?” Response: “hell yes.”
**By the way, Ramona Ardelean’s pension (pensiunea) in Vadu Izei, Romania, is seriously charming. We arrived the next day after a family wedding and were treated to wonderful leftovers (home smoked & cured meats, home-made liquor, you name it) and had an excellent conversation with Ramona. Look her up if you are ever in these parts.