The Moldova Wine & Transnistria Independence Day Tour 2019
"I just wanted to say a quick thanks for arranging the tour. It was certainly an adventure I will not forget in a while!"
Join us for a long weekend visiting two of the least visited countries in Europe! Our tour will venture to the beautiful undiscovered winemaking country of Moldova as well as the unrecognised country of Transnistria. If you haven't heard about this unique place, Google it. If you want off the beaten track, this is it! Enjoy four days exploring the booze in a true Soviet time warp with plenty of wine, beer and brandy tastings! This tour also coincides with the Independence Day celebrations and the last Soviet style military parade in Europe...
This is an extremely exclusive trip and will be run with a maximum of 12 people giving us great flexibility in our itinerary and the ability to adjust our tour depending on the group interests.
Saturday 31 August 2019 Early morning arrival in Chisinau.
Check into Hotel Cosmos with western standards with Soviet chic, a 24 hour bar and great service.
After some free time to freshen up and rest, we meet up in the hotel lobby for a day of Moldovan wine tasting!
We board our private minibus to head to the Milestii Mici winery, home to the largest wine collection in the world - a Guinness World Record for a whopping two million bottles in total. We taste wines here in a very traditional Moldovan way - wine paired with local delicacies and Moldovan instrumental music played by a couple of eccentric accordion players!
We then head to Chateau Purcari.
The Purcari estate is located in a beautiful location in the south-east part of the country about 50 km from the Black Sea. Here you will find their legendary cellars, remaining unchanged since 1827! Purcari's vineyards have a unique micro-climate, the location of the vineyards on the south-western and south-eastern slopes, proximity to the sea and closeness to the Nistru river offer ideal conditions for the creation of high quality wines.
We will tour the cellars, sample the delicious wines and then enjoy a traditional Moldovan lunch in the picturesque winery gardens.
Transfer back to Chisinau.
We enjoy some free time before heading out for a group meal with local Moldovan beer tasting at Tap Room 27!
Overnight in Chisinau.
Sunday 1 September 2019 An early start as we catch the train from Chisinau to Tiraspol, the capital of the war torn, breakaway country of Transnistria! This unrecognised country tore away from Moldova in a vicious civil war during the collapse of the USSR. Known as ‘’Europe’s North Korea’’ this is the place where time has stood still. You have to see it to believe it!
We check into our hotel: Hotel Aist, a VERY Soviet experience. If you enjoyed the Cosmos in Chisinau then you will love this hotel for its time warp glory!
After lunch at Andy's Pizza with 50 cent shots of vodka, we head on a city tour of Tiraspol, starting with a stroll down October 25th street, taking in the House of the Soviets with Lenin outside.
We will then see the hulking statue of the Russian general Suvorov, see the eternal flame memorial to the Transnistria civil war and WW2, visit the Transnistrian parliament building with the biggest Lenin statue outside of Russia and the Russian T-34 tank memorial.
Quick visit for a refreshing beer in the Dolce Vita Student Pub.
Next up is the Bottle Museum in the village of Ternovka, the largest building in the world in the shape of a wine bottle! Here we will discover five exhibition halls filled full of more than 10,000 thousand bottles of wine and other drinks from more than 100 countries. It would be rude not to sample some of the delicious local Transnistrian wines here with some tasty nibbles.
We then head for a tour of Bender where we first explore the massive Soviet open market in the centre of the city. The prices here are some of the cheapest in Europe so remember to bring your wallet!
Next stop is the Russian Orthodox Church and City Hall riddled with bullet holes from the civil war.
We visit Lenin Park with yet another statue of Lenin and the old Soviet Theatre now used as a cinema.
Explore the river walk and enjoy a few rides at an old Soviet Amusement Park! Our last stop will be the abandoned Soviet Cultural Centre.
After our tour we head to the wonderfully named “Brewery from Bender” where we sample delicious Transnistrian beers relaxing on the summer terrace with the locals.
Return to Tiraspol for a group dinner and drinks in one of the countries few nightclubs - order the special shot in the colours of the Russian or Transnistrian flag and the bar will blast out the Russian anthem!
Overnight at Hotel Aist.
Monday 2 September 2019 - Independence Day! We get up early and go to the centre for a classic Soviet Party Breakfast: BBQ and vodka! There will be many outdoor shashlick stands on October Street. Take your pick of a good area and sit at the many tables lining the road. As we will be the only tourists here, we will be given a very warm welcome by the locals!
After our breakfast, we walk down October Street viewing all the attractions, including live music and dancing.
We then stop at 7 Fridays, the most popular western style café in Tiraspol. There is a menu from around the world and cheap beer and vodka. We take a private table and wait until the start of the parade.
When the parade is about to start we go outside and walk to the centre for the best view of the Army Parade! Bring your cameras! There will be no Western journalists here, so your photos and videos will be priceless. Just be careful not to get in trouble with the local KGB!
We witness the speeches of the Transinistrian President and Russian Diplomats from Moscow and may have a chance later to meet some of the local politicians as well as the Cossack soldiers.
After the parade we will go to the De Wollant Park to watch the Transnistrian Wrestling Championships where first prize is a sheep!
After the fireworks, we will go for a local bar crawl and continue to party well into the night.
Overnight at Hotel Aist.
Tuesday 3 September 2019 After breakfast we take our minibus to the autonomous country of Gagauzia, who clawed an uneasy independence for themselves from Moldova during a civil war. The Gagauz people are a Turkish group. The Gagauz language is listed by UNESCO as a critically endangered language.
We will stop for photos at the huge Soviet entry sign to Gagauzia, before arriving in Comrat, the capital of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, we will then be taken on a city tour. We will see the National Gagauzian Museum of History and Ethnography in Bealma village which reflects the history, lifestyle and culture of Gagauz people until present times. Visitors of museum will get acquainted with the colorful wedding ceremonies, customs and traditions of the Gagauz people.
Visit of a local winery and enjoy wine tasting paired with Gagauz traditional meals. Gagauz cuisine is unique. It draws on the nomadic past of the Gagauz people; many dishes feature milk, cottage cheese, and meat. Some of the most popular Gagauz dishes are: gozleme, hand-rolled sheep cheese pastry, and mandya, a sauce with meat and red pepper pasta.
We drive back to Chisinau and the international airport for our flights home!
End of tour.
Price Inclusive of: Accommodation in mentioned hotels on twin sharing basis All transport Western and local guides Entrance fees for all mentioned monuments Wine, beer and brandy tastings
Price Exclusive of: International air tickets Visa if needed (we can provide support) Drinks Any personal expenses & services not included in the above External costs as mentioned in itinerary £20 single supplement per night
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