I have been to some truly abysmal shitholes in my time but Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, is easily the worst of them all. When you litter in Chisinau, property values go up. Syrian refugees hold out for a better offer when the Moldovan Government offers them asylum. I could go on (and I will)…
The sights of Chisinau
Moldova is Europe’s least-visited country, to the surprise of precisely nobody. But surely it has some redeeming characteristics? Surely its capital, at the very least, has a couple of things worth visiting?
There are actually a few worthwhile sights, believe it or not. Once you get past the hobo-smelling rape underpasses full of terrifying graffiti and abandoned crack dens crumbling away right in the centre of the city, there is the excellent Moldovan military museum.
The Moldovan Military Museum
The Moldovan Military Museum is notable for its collection of guns, knives, bows, and awesome full-wall frescoes of Vlad-the-Impaler-looking motherfuckers ruining people’s shit throughout the centuries. Perhaps this why Moldovans are so unfriendly; they don’t need to take shit off anybody, and instead just curb-stomp anyone who so much as looks at them sideways.
Outside the museum are some tanks complete with local children; I attempted to ‘bones’ with one (I’m down with the kids) and he punched my fist so hard I think I still have hairline fractures in my knuckles.
The Chisinau Illustrated Cemetery
There’s also a fantastic cemetery unlike any I’ve ever seen in the UK: in Moldova, they put pictures of everybody on their gravestones, which is a pretty good idea if you think about it. Some people get a simple portrait, whilst others get impressive full-scale statues which represent them as having no fucks to give (something of a theme in this country).
OK, so I suppose there are some pretty cool things to see.
The nightlife of Chisinau
Here’s where things get particularly ropey.
In Chisinau bars, they ain’t got time for antiquated, peculiar notions like ‘customer service’ or ‘having stock’. They mostly want to sit on their arses and do absolutely fuck all. The worst possible thing that can happen to the staff of abar in Chisinau is that customers actually come in and start demanding things like seats and drinks; it totally ruins their night, and you’d better believe they’ll be taking it out on you.
Our first night in Chisinau wasn’t all that bad; after dinner we found a karaoke place near the hotel that everyone agreed would make for a jolly good soirée, and up we rocked. The hostess looked at us as if she’d just discovered us growing behind her toilet and, at length, agreed to let us in. We had to check our coats lest we were carrying knives or smack, and then we got our song on. We had such a good time that we elected to stay even when they ran out of every variety of beer after an hour or two.
We had such a good time, in fact, that we opted to return the night after. Our enjoyment had nothing to do with the service, drinks or décor; everyone was simply in the mood for a bit of a song.
How to customer service in Moldovan
The staff, however, had other plans. Having undergone the ordeal of actually serving drinks and letting people play with their karaoke machine the night before, they were in no mood for repeat service. The conversation we enjoyed with them went a bit like this:
Us: ‘do you have beer today?’
Us: ‘could you buy some in?’
Us: ‘could we bring some in and we’ll buy cocktails?’
Us: ‘Do you want to lose the custom of fifteen people?’
Them: ‘n— ’ *breaks down in surly confusion*
Us: ‘Ha! No seriously fucking die though. Bye.’
That having fallen through, we went to another bar where a leather-jacketed Moldovan gangster variously greeted us, berated us and tried to make us get in his windowless van to visit a wine cellar in an unknown part of the city. After repeated rebuffs, he cuffed one of our group around the back of the head and left.
The mood having been somewhat killed, we all opted to call it a night and head back to the hotel.
The Hotel Chisinau
The hotel surprised everyone by actually being not all that bad: clean rooms, hot water,and staff that were only slightly surly. The top floor of the hotel was some sort of abandoned serial killer den, sure, but the rest of the place wasn’t all that bad. The hotel restaurant, which was located in the basement, looked like somewhere that Vigo the Carpathian might take breakfast whilst casually tossing prisoners to dogs.
You are now leaving fabulous Chisinau – come again!
After enduring the horrors of Moldova’s capital, we thought the worst was behind us. Unfortunately for us, we still had to clear Moldovan border control…
For those wishing for a slightly less shitty Moldova, check out our article on the technically Moldovan territory of Transnistria.