Welcome to the 3rd report of the new series of flight reports covering my latest trip to Moldova with a day stopover in Kiev with Ukraine International Airlines.
01.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS804, WAW-KBP, B737-800 - https://flight-report.com/en/report/41359/ukraine-international-ps-804-warsaw-waw-kiev-kbp
01.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS897, KBP-KIV, B737-800 - https://flight-report.com/en/report/41579/ukraine-international-ps-897-kiev-kbp-chisinau-kiv
05.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS898, KIV-KBP, B737-800 - you are here
05.05.2019 - FLIGHT PS801, KBP-WAW, B737-800
Before the flight I would like to show you some photos of this least visited and least known European country. Moldova used to be a republic of USSR despite the fact that historically it belongs to Romania. Being a part of Soviet Union left many traces and Russian as a second language spoken mostly by elderly people that sometimes (as I heard) don't even speak Moldovan/Romanian. Generally English is not very common here, you can use it in your hotel and tourist information center but not in all restaurants, shops and museums.
The capital city - Chisinau is thought not to be a beautiful city. I found it very calm, relaxing and interesting in a completely different way than most of the cities I know. Some parts of it also reminded me of my country in the early 90-ties.
Our hotel in daylight with monument of Soviet general Grigori Kotovski
Not far away from our hotel was a completely abandoned "Hotel National" that must have once been one of the best spots in the city and now it is a ruin.
On the way to the city center we pass through one of the most interesting places in whole Chisinau - a local market called Piata Centrala (Central Market). You may find anything here, buy lots of local stuff from people coming here from whole country. For us the most interesting was the part with food, mainly the one with local cheese that appeared to be simply natural and delicious.
The city center itself is a mixture of buildings from 19th and 20th century with some but not many latest additions.
The central square with Arche of Triumph and Nativity cathedral on one side and the Parliament of Moldova on the other
The Nativity cathedral
The most fameous person in history of Moldova was Stefan cel Mare - Stephen the Great - the prince of Moldova who lived in 14th century that appeared to be the most prosperous time in country's history. Stefan cel Mare is everywhere, in the names of streets, squares, monuments, on every banknote.
Moldova is a country of a great cuisine and of course wine. Before our visit to country's most known winery Cricova we tried some local food and wines is Chisinau. The most known food here is placinta - a type of pastry filled with cheese, potatoes or fruit. It looks and tastes great. We also tried mamalyga - a kind of a porridge made out of yellow maize flour,served with local cheese. We also had some small donuts, traditional walnut cake and sarmale - a dish made from boiled cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling of minced meat and served in tomatoe sauce.
While in Moldova one can not miss one of its vineries. We chose the most popular one, located only 16 km from Chisinau - the fameous Cricova. What is so special about it? That the whole production and storage is made under the ground in tunnels that are more than 120 km long and were created by excavating limestone for construction of Chisinau. To visit Cricova you need a reservation as the sightseeing is guided and - if you pay some more money - combined with wine tasting.
We are divided into small groups and use special electric cars to visit the underground kingdom of wine where there are 12 degrees Celsius and humidity level of 98% - great conditions for wine.
Cricova hosts also a national wine collection and some private wine collections of some VIPs
Jurij Gagarin - the first man in space, is honoured here as the one who is said to have been lost in the corridors for couple of days while tasting some wines…. He said it was easier to find his way back home from the space than to exit Cricova.
Our option was tasting of 4 wines that combined with a glass of sparkling wine offered during sightseeing was completely enough.
Passing through the souvenir shop
From Cricova we took a taxi to Orheiul Vechi - one of the most beautiful spots in Moldova a monastery located in caves. Funny thing is that a taxi is often not a taxi here. You ask the reception to call you a taxi, a local car comes that seems receptionist's friend or family member, you discuss a price with him that is not high for you but is good for him and he takes you wherever you want. People in Moldova are mostly very friendly and heplful,
A panoramic view of Orheiul Vechi
The way to monasteries hidden in the caves underneath the path
The place is so calm I could stay here much longer
After a very nice stay in Moldova, it was time to go back home with a stopover in Kiev. As it was an eraly morning flight, we took a taxi to the airport with the whole trip lasting not more than 15 minutes.
Chisinau has a small but very modern and nice terminal with a classic TU-134 parked as a monument in front.
The terminal itself looks really fresh
Our check-in desks. The staff is very strict, we can't have more than one piece of hand luggage (even a very small one), everything must be placed in the main hand bag. A funny thing is that later during boarding and in Kiev nobody will pay attention to it…
Both passport and security check are quick. The airside of the terminal is also very bright, green and spacious. There is one duty free shop and one wine shop, where prices are of course higher than in the city, yet still acceptable.
View on the tarmac. KIV has no jet bridges and all the gates are located on the ground floor.
The 737-800 that's going to take us to KBP
The flight seems to be almost full, once more we have an aisle and middle seat. The window seat is empty for a while, but then it gets occupied by a big guy covering whole window.
Not a very generous leg room I'm afraid…
The only inflight picture I managed to take thanks to courtesy of the "big guy"
The flight is very short, it lasts not more than 40 minutes and I spend it half asleep. The weather is very good on the route and after a while we land in sunny Kiev.
Cabin during deboarding
One more bus deboarding
So now we are going to spend 6 hours in the terminal - as it is too short to go to the city and back. Some stopover pictures in the following report. Many thanks for reading!
Nothing to complain about this flight expect for a very poor legroom. Cabin crew was very efficient and attentive, yet there was hardly any service (free cup of water + fast BOB) due to limited flightime. KIV is very small but well designed, modern and efficient airport.