Visit to an unifinished soviet-times military site in the Codru forest

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We finally found the unfinished military site we had read about on Moldova Holiday.
We had walked around in the Orhei forest looking for it a few times with no success. At the end we found the right way thanks to Google Earth (see last photo below).
This is a weird site in the middle of the forest. The unfinished building was apparently meant to become the command centre for the Soviet Union’s anti-missile defence system, but construction works began in the late 1980s and were then abandoned with the fall of the Soviet Union.
The buildings are now totally overgrown with vegetation. According to Moldova Holiday, one of the buildings was intended to be living quarters, the other for offices. The site is well known to the local population who comes here for picnics and children parties (seriously!). There should be also some underground bunkers in the area, but we did not find them.

 

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How to change the world… starting from providing free IT training to children

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How to change the world... starting from providing free IT training to children

During the past months I followed an amazing 6-week online course on Coursera called “How to Change the World“. It was an interesting review of the main concepts related to aid and development, focusing in particular on some areas such as poverty reduction, gender equality, climate change, health issues. One of the – maybe obvious – lessons of this course is that there is so much that can be done to change the world, so many well know solutions to existing problems, and so many people already changing it – who just need to be joined.
Well, I have seen many charities and NGOs here in Moldova, but the one closer to my heart is TEKEDU (I am actually now a proud member of its Advisory Board).
TEKEDU is now out of start-up phase and fully operational, and for Easter it is launching a fund-raising campaign to give a jump-start to its IT training activities in residential schools for children without parental care. Maybe you want to consider giving 20 or 50€ to these guys, and make a little contribution to changing the world.

Who said prét-a-porter? Fashion is tailor-made at Gemini

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Who said prét-a-porter? Fashion is tailor-made at Gemini

Gemini is a sort of shopping mall in central Chisinau (on Bd Stefan cel Mare/Puskin St., near McDonald’s). I went there initially because this is where you can have clothes fixed – new zips, re-hem, repair holes. But I ended up going back there several times, including with visitors, because I find it fascinating and different from anything I knew. While the first two floors are sort of normal shopping galleries, with stands selling anything from shoes to toys and jewellery, on the third floor you can buy all sorts of accessories for tailoring and knitting, and on the fourth floor a wide variety of fabrics is on sale, close to the ateliers which repair your clothes and tailor-make your dresses. A nice piece of fabric that is enough for a long dress with sleeves can cost you maybe 200-300 lei, and the tailor work will take a couple of days and cost you another 600-700 lei. That’s about 50 € in total for a tailor-made dress.

The Valea Morilor lake during this morning’s run

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And again today (two days later).

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And this one below is from a few days earlier – end August.

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Where is Moldova, exactly?

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Where is Moldova, exactly?

In case you were wondering, here is a map – Moldova is the landlocked country between Romania and Ukraine. Transnistria, its disputed territory, is a thin stripe of land on the east border. Distance from Chisinau to Bucharest (the nearest Ikea) is 400 km; less than 200 km to Odessa on the Black Sea.