Soroca: the Gypsy capital of Moldova

Soroca, a town on the Dniestr river, is famous for its Roma (Gypsy) district and is called “the Gypsy capital of Moldova”. Of course while visiting this town we couldn’t miss its well-known district. It made a strange impression on us. Big, expensive, gorgeous buildings, very bad destroyed streets, poor looking people… The strangest thing there is that most of the buildings are still under construction, but nobody finishes the construction. It seems that they are abandoned and nobody takes care of them. Though some of these “castles” are inhabited.

 

 

 

View on Soroca from the Gypsy hill

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Bălţi or Belts – our first stop in Moldova

I continue to write about our Ukraine-Moldova trip.

After our nice time in Chernovtsi we took a bus from there to Bălţi – the third largest city in Moldova that is actually just a small town.  We had some troubles at the border because a Ukrainian customs officer didn’t know what to do with a foreigner with Ukrainian visa (i.e. my fiancé). But he let us go to Moldova even without asking to pay anything. In few hours we arrived in Bălţi. By the way it is pronounced as “Belts”. Our host – a German girl working for the Bosch foundation was supposed to meet us at the bus station, but when we arrived nobody was there. We didn’t have any Moldovan money, we couldn’t call her from our Ukrainian numbers and we didn’t know what to do. The bus station looked like very scary, with some suspicious characters and without any cash machine or exchange office. Thankfully after some time the German girl came for us and took us to her place.

Katja turned out a very nice couchsurfer – an attentive host, who shared her meal with us and gave a whole room at our disposal. Interesting fact is that we contacted a lot of couchsurfers  all over Moldova but almost only foreigners living in this country wrote us back. One local couple in Chisinau invited us but we already agreed with a German guy to stay at his place.  Moldovan people are not used to host travelers I guess.

The next morning we made a city tour with Katja. Balti is a small town with a lot of Soviet style buildings, odd painted monuments, some beautiful churches, a big central street with a lot of flowers and a small lake nearby. At the main square stands a monument to Ştefan cel Mare. I think it’s the only one important figure in Moldova, because his monuments are everywhere, main streets are named after him and he is drawn on all paper currencies.

 

We went to Katja’s working place, Alecu Russo State University of Bălţi. She teaches German there. We walked a bit trough the territory of the university and then she organized us a kind of excursion to a library. I was impressed by that library because I didn’t expect that in such a small university of such a small town there will be a big modern library with all the computer facilities. They even have there the UNO and NATO informational centers, museum and they organize different exhibitions at the library. I really liked it there.

 

After visiting the library we had lunch at a university canteen, had again a small walk through the town, bought some postcards and stamps and went to the bus station. Our stay in Bălţi was over and we took a bus to Soroca.

Photos from Bălţi

Volunteering for children with disabilities in Ukraine – Service Civil International

Our long-term volunteer Eilika wrote a post in SCI site about a workcamp “Garden of senses”. I repost it here coz we’re still looking for participants and I really want to promote this great workcamp.

Volunteering for children with disabilities in Ukraine – Service Civil International.

Last Saturday I and Eilika already started the work on the playground of the center for disable children “Pravo vybora”. It was my third time helping there. The workers of the center are very kind people and I already have learned a lot from them.  I would be glad if we can find more volunteers interested in participating in the workcamp there.

making pages for a tactile book