Calendar Home
Previous Day

September 12, 2002

Next Day
Moldova makes the only red champagne in the world. Finding the wineries is the challenge. A few famous ones, by Moldovian standards, are a short bus ride away from Chisinau, hidden in small villages. The wind howled while we walked through a village looking for an entrance to underground cellars. Patient Moldavians watched our wine drinking pantomime to figure out that we wanted to visit the local winery. They pointed us in the right direction, down a dirt path to a fenced compound that looked like a military base. A tour guide accompanied us past the guards - they take wine seriously - into an underground city, Milesti Mici, to tour their wine facilities. These cellars are big enough to be called cities, with passages large enough for trucks. The winery stores millions of bottles in maze-like hallways. We returned to Chisinau, with a fresh wine buzz, and continued our day of high culture by attending the ballet. Dressed in our best clothes, t-shirt and zip-off pants, we joined a throng of well-dressed Moldavians for the ballet premiere.
Milesti Mici is an underground city of wine cellars. These vast cellars are accessed by streets that cover more than 25 km worth of territory.
Unending wine tasting - the cellars hold almost 2 million bottles of wine and the famous red champagne.
Front row tickets for world-class ballet, $2, but you should wear formal clothes rather than look like dropouts from the backpacker trail. At least bring flowers to throw on stage at the end of the performance.