Enigma of Cricova

Moldova – a tiny country in Eastern Europe, tucked in between Ukraine and Romania. Once Moldova supplied wine to entire Soviet Union. Today it exports wine worldwide.Cricova, found in the 1950s, is only 15 kilometres away from the nation’s capital Chisinau. Local legend says that many years ago, there was a monastery on the grounds of Cricova that was destroyed in a brutal invasion.As I step into the underground kingdom of wine that holds these monks’ legacies I wonder what stories are hidden within these stone walls.Cricova is not your usual underground wine cellar, it is not a secret facility, it is an entire underground wine town with 120 kilometres of labyrinthine roads that lies 100 metres below the ground.Monks were told to stop producing wine as a dry law took place. Nowadays it is hard to imagine dry law as governments of different countries own their private wine collections here. Government leaders are often having meetings and dinners in beautifully decorated conference rooms with imitated windows.As our guide continues her storytelling, I found out that monks didn’t obey the dry law and hid in caves of Cricova to keep producing wine. They were found and killed, however according to the legend you can still hear a ghost of one monk screaming sometimes. Cric means scream after all.As our driver hits the gas pedal and our tourist cart is moving deeper and deeper underground, I feel how chilly it gets. I try not to think about the monastery ghost, instead focusing on the 1.3 million rare bottles that are held underneath the earth. My favourite sparkling spirit Cricova Rosé boast a rich, velvety texture.The heart of the wine collection is Israel`s “Jerusalem of Easter” vintage 1902. Other impressive exhibits are the 1902 liqueur “Jan Becher” of Czech Republic and the 1938 Burgundy dry wine. I wonder if anyone will ever open them and what would they taste like.Unique production of red and white wine based here allows for a constant 12 C temperature – wine likes it cold. Shift workers are manually turning bottles not to disturb the buzz but to create a special sparkling bubbles. Where else in the world would you see such gentle care?Wine – drink of gods and emperors. For some wine is a symbol of civilization, and for others – sign of love, friendship and hospitality.

Back to Europe: Italy, Hungary and Slovenia

Where do I begin to tell the story of how great it can be to travel? Where do I start?
I was looking for a cheap ticket and ended up flying Toronto-Reykjavik-Amsterdam-Milan. Wow air turned out really Wow because it was late, no meals included, you have to pay for the hand luggage, you even have to pay for water. However mission was accomplished  because as I already mentioned it was cheap.
20171115_093634I was going to Ukraine to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday because there is no present like a surprise.
Travel is like a poison and there is no antidote from it. It took over my body and soul. 
 I lived in Milan for 2 weeks earlier this year so all I had to do was to visit the Duomo of course. This gigantic cathedral is the post card of the city and it is beautiful on the inside and out. You never get tired of it. You are not allowed to take pictures inside but just this once and just for you:
I would also suggest checking out the new 3 stories chocolate store in the same square. However not only chocolate candies and mushmellow  bouquets can be found there.
City creators decided that artificial palm trees will look cool in the same square. Well, Italians couldn’t have that happen and burned them down overnight. However, the trees came back to give you this Southern feeling. I bet you it is not going to be long until they will be burned again because it really doesn’t match the style of the church and brick roads.
Travel is my disease and there is no cure. 
While my sister and my cousin were glued to the jewelry store window in the famous shopping Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, my ear caught live music and I stepped aside to see the street musician playing guitar and singing Hallelujah.

This song really inspired me for the Happy Moment that only Travel can deliver: I am in Milan and I am listening to a song that matches this atmosphere better than fake palm trees!
Travel is my air.
After 1 amazing day in Milano and some really good pizza and macaroons, my dad and I took off driving from Italy to Ukraine for 2 days through Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Ukraine.
20171116_141229.jpgTravel makes me stronger.
Never have I ever been in such a long car ride before.
I have never seen clouds as low as I did in Slovenia. The Alps look so gorgeous there. Every mountain came up with different shape and the snow on the top was making my heart melt…It is the end of November and the snow isn’t going to melt anytime soon on the mountain top, if ever. Driving through Italy and Hungary we didn’t see any snow, Slovenia is a really high land country. Also Melania Trump is from here. The Slovenian language is somehow similar to Ukrainian and I could crack a few jokes of similar wording. Where Slovenia ends, Euro currency ends as well. In Hungary you will need Forints. Hungary however is in the European Union so there is no border between Slovenia and Hungary. It makes me feel good to hold 10 000 Forint bill like I just won lottery. It only equals 50.00 CAD though.
 
Travel is my drug and there is no rehab for it.
It is very important that you stop at the Balaton lake as it is biggest lake in Europe. It is also extremely peaceful and beautiful.
We drove through gorgeous Budapest at night and stayed for 1 night in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. No one really speaks English in Europe unless you are in the UK or in Ireland. The man that was checking us in was showing us how to use a faucet and said: “Open a bit and its winter! Want warm? Keep turning and it is summer now“. I found it brilliant. If you don’t know how to say hot or cold but know how to say summer and winter, you can pretty much work as a translator. Also what I noticed in Europe overall is that if the counter person doesn`t speak English they will show a wait sign with their palm and will come back with the person that speaks some English.
Travel makes me believe. 
If you are ready to travel 5 days in a row and sleep 6 nights in a different bed each night then:
Congratulations, travel is your drug too!