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Clare
Clare

Day 4: Chișinău to home via Iași

We had a very early start this morning for our train back from Chișinău to Iași. There's only one train per day and, for unknown reasons, it departs the Moldovan capital at 06.27 every morning. Our hotel was approximately a 20-minute walk from the train station, so that meant that we had to check out before 6am. There was no one on reception when we left - and the front door of the hotel was locked from the inside - but we managed to break free and set off on our walk towards the station. 

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We arrived with plenty of time to spare and consulted the timetable inside the station building. Oddly, this didn't seem to give any information about platform numbers, but there were only a handful of platforms and when we stepped outside in the direction of the trains we were able to spot ours immediately.

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The train set off promptly at 06.27. Tim had bought pastries yesterday for us to eat for breakfast, but I was hoping that we'd be able to buy some coffee to accompany them on the train. That turned out not to be possible - something had gone wrong with the coffee machine - but they did seem to have hot water to make tea. I had some sachets of instant coffee in my bag and Tim eventually managed to convince the attendant to give him some hot water to make coffee in exchange for a 5-lei note (about 22p!).

The journey back to Romania was pretty similar to the journey out. It wasn't dark this time, of course, so we had a view of lots of vineyards as we made our way through the Moldovan countryside. The border procedures took ages again while our passports were collected, stamped and returned only to be collected, stamped and returned again, but we made it through and arrived back in Iași some time around 11.30.

Of course, we'd arrived into the railway station that was quite a long way outside the town centre, so our first task was to walk into Iași itself. We knew we were on the right track when we caught sight of this golden-roofed church on the horizon.

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Our flight back to Luton wasn't departing until the early evening, so we had the entire afternoon free to get some food and explore the town. We caught sight of this enormous and very grand building in the distance and started walking towards it.

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This is the Palatul Culturii, the Palace of Culture.

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It's absolutely huge and apparently a reconstruction of a medieval palace, the Princely Palace of Moldavia.

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When we got around the front we could see that it was very ornate with a beautiful clock tower.

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The style of the architecture definitely reminded us of other buildings we'd seen in Romania when we visited in 2019.

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Across from the palace was this pretty church (with an ugly tower block behind!). The memorial in front is to people who fought in the 1989 revolution.

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We crossed the road and made our way down the main street, which is pedestrianised.

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Almost immediately we saw this incredible church.

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It turns out that this is a 17th century monastery, the Monastery of the Three Hierarchs.

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The patterns on the facade of the building were so beautiful :)

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This was a really scenic street, with impressive buildings on either side.

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We soon got our first glimpse of the city's cathedral.

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This is the Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built in the early nineteenth century.

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It's perhaps hard to tell from the photos but it's a really large cathedral.

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We were starving by this point so went into a restaurant to get lunch. I had something which looked like they were going to be similar to Croatian ćevapćići, but they turned out to be not quite as good.

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Still, I had those plus an Aperol Spritz. Tim had a really good schnitzel plus a beer. We shared some water, then both had puddings and coffee... and the bill came to under £30. Travelling in Romania is definitely value for money!

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After lunch we had another stroll around the centre of town.

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We discovered a few churches we hadn't seen first time around.

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Then we just had time for a coffee in one of the nearby coffee shops before catching the bus from the station back to the airport. The airport experience has been a bit chaotic, but we've managed to find a seat and I've had time to do the blog at least. It looks like our Wizzair flight home is going to be on time, concluding what's been a weekend of travel where everything has gone surprisingly well! We've really enjoyed our time in both Romania and Moldova and I feel like we'll be back to this part of the world at some point in the future :) 




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