I feel a great sense of nervousness at the moment…….we’ve just come upon the information that despite the long list of countries that are allowed into Moldova without a passport Australia isn’t one of them. Absolutely silly of us to not do more research though we were sure (incorrectly so it seems) that Australians were ok with no prior visa. Anyway – the only one of us who will likely have a problem will be Sandy as she doesn’t have an EU passport. The other spanner in the works is that when you enter Moldova from the east you go through a place called Transnistria which is a self proclaimed independent state that isn’t recognised by anyone except the Russians who have worked with the Moldavians in creating a semi autonomous region. The kids who eagerly count their countries want to know if they can claim it as a country on their list.
There was a war between Transnistria and Moldova for five months in 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union though it just lead to a cease fire without much else. So the upshot is that we get on a train for 5 hours this evening from Odessa to Chisinau – passports are checked by the Transnistrians and they often ask for bribes. However they don’t stamp your passport because they aren’t a state and once you get to the Moldovan border proper they don’t have a border check there because they don’t recognise Transnistria as a separate state – so most of the problem is when you leave the country and there is no entry stamp in your passport. I don’t think the kids or I will have a problem though Sandy might. We emailed with a wonderful Moldovan travel guru who basically said probably the worst thing that will happen is you’ll have hassles when exiting, be fined or they want a bribe. We could call the consulate though its Saturday and they don’t do visas in the spot anyway – it may be better to play dumb.
Mmmmmmm! I think there’ll be a couple of days of being a worry wort! Wish us luck! Kalika and Emilio are addicted to an expression from the movie Mamma Mia at the moment – ‘It’s an adventure Harry – it’s good for you!’ I guess I should remember that.
On the upside to this Moldovan couple of days we have ahead is that it will be our first ever Couchsurfing experience. As we’ve blogged before we have stayed with a few SERVAS hosts – a network of travellers and hosts – though SERVAS’s network is quite small as opposed to Couchsurfing which has taken off in the last few years. So we are (as long as we can get in) staying with a man called Nikola and his wife Vita. They sound lovely and have had lots of visitors of late so nice of them to accept us. Moldova here we come………we think!