Topping our admittedly short bucket list for our remaining months in Moldova was a visit to the Danube delta. The mighty river that courses through much of central Europe empties out into the Black Sea just south of the Romania-Ukraine border. The resulting estuary is a vast network of reed-lined canals that host 90 percent of Romania’s 390 bird species.
Posts tagged ‘driving’
Munchkin’s recent birthday has put us in a reflective mood. As his due date approached last year, one of our biggest fears about becoming new parents was that his arrival would change who we are, impacting not just how we live our day-to-day lives but also our ability to indulge in the activities we enjoy and the things we used to take for granted. Chief among these is our passion for travel, which we feared we might have to forego for the foreseeable future. We need not have worried.
How small is Slovenia? The internet puts its relative size as slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey, but that’s not all that descriptive. Far more illustrative is the fact that little more than half an hour after catching the freeway from Lake Bled, we inadvertently drove across a barely-marked border and, much to our chagrin, found ourselves in Italy.
Munchkin grew up a lot on our trip. Even S’s parents, who only traveled with us for two weeks, remarked how he had undergone several noticeable changes in the time that we spent exploring Croatia together. It was as if all our travel adventures had greatly broadened his worldview and stimulated his development.
We drove five hours from Chisinau, crossing an international boundary and navigating a few stretches of shoddy pavement on both sides of the border to arrive in Gura Humorului, in the heart of Romania’s Bucovina region. It seemed like a lot of distance to cover with an infant, but in the grand scheme of things we hardly left at all. In fact, the bulk of our route lay through Romania’s Moldavia region, the arc of our travel tracing the vicissitudes of history in this bucolic corner of Eastern Europe.
Before we started dating, got hitched, and made our parents happy by giving them a grandson to spoil — in what seems like another lifetime, but actually was only 7-8 years ago — we both took long backpacking trips through South America. S started her trip in Ecuador — where our paths crossed briefly for the first time — armed with a return ticket from Buenos Aires and eight unstructured months in which to explore the continent. D’s trip likewise took him from Ecuador to Argentina over the course of five months the following year. An entire life crammed comfortably into a backpack, and few concerns other than how best to stretch a limited budget and where to swap books so as to always have some good reading material…Having just returned from our first tourist trip with Munchkin, it’s hard not to feel some nostalgia for those carefree travel days.
In years past, the Ukranian Open has been held in either the capital city of Kiev or in Lviv in Western Ukraine, which is widely considered one of the country’s most important cultural centers. It is unclear what happened this year: as best as D could gather, there was some balloting controversy that took place on Ukraine’s ultimate frisbee forum and Ivano-Frankivsk got to host the annual tournament for the first time. People were upset; teams that travel from Russia and Belarus decided to skip the tournament. Last year, there were 16 teams, including Chisinau’s Flying Mamaligas. This year, only ten teams participated in the competition, and they were all from Ukraine.
Months before moving to Moldova, D had his heart set on playing in the Ukranian Open Ultimate Frisbee Championship, which was held over Labor Day weekend in Ivano-Frankivsk in Western Ukraine. This summer, we had an open invitation to play at Wildwood — the massive beach frisbee tournament on the Jersey coast — but had to back out because it fell right before our departure from the United States and we had too many loose ends to tie up before moving abroad.
As the temperature drops and the weather gives unmistakeable signs of the onset of autumn in Chisinau, we find ourselves revisiting the warm memories of our summer road trip through California. We briefly scrolled through our pictures to pick out a handful of favorites while posting about our adventures, but the bulk of the 5000+ photos we took remain unsorted. Our previous posts focused on the places we visited. Here are a few snapshots of our favorite places through which we simply passed.