A-Z activities

A-Z countries

What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Not sure about Moldova

Trees, gently undulating, chilly - you could be in Moldova.
This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post is how to get a peep at Moldova without setting foot in it at all. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my eco-friendly books and blogs).   

Moldova is a small, picturesque (just don't look at the Soviet style city architecture) state between Romania and the Ukraine - allegedly named after a dog belonging to a Medieval prince. The story goes that the Prince had been hunting and at the end of the day his exhausted hound, Molda, drowned in the river - I must find out what this means. More info at wiki here. Just in case you have to do a pub quiz on this country, it's landlocked.

"Everyone wants out"
I've only met one person from Moldova, Anna, a clever and entertaining student. However she didn't rate her home country highly. To illustrate she said that if I went round a school class in Moldova and asked where the students wanted to live or work no one would say "Moldova".

Maybe that's why although it's slightly larger than Belgium, the population is half that of Belgium - 4.4 million with a zero growth rate.

Love the caves
Among the gently hills there are some ancient cave monasteries, such as Old Orhei - in line for World Heritage status. But even when I log on to a Moldovan site,ads pop up asking if I want to find my own "Moldovan beauty queen". I think this is code for wife. One way to leave I guess. A vast number of people in this area were also slaughtered either because they were Jews by Hitler, or later by Stalin. There's a real sadness to this country's history.

So where can we get that same feel in the UK?
Not the lack of people, but the gently wooded, away from the sea, chalky caves? Bingo - how about a Hertfordshire border town like Royston which boasts a cave dating back to the 14th century? See here. Entry times are very limited, and you can only go into the caves on a guided tour (max 18 people) between Easter and September.
Saturdays, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays: 2.30 to 5 pm.   
Wednesdays (August only): 2.30 to 5 pm.
Last admission: 4.30 pm. 

Once you are back in the open air look for the undulating woodlands and take a walk, perhaps via a pub. there's plenty of good real ale in Hertfordshire.


Nicola Baird said...

From Facebook:
Jenny T: yes Moldova's a country, and no it's not landlocked?

Nicola Baird I'll answer later on don't want to spoil the surprise. BTW what or who was it named after?

Jenny T " you've got me! I met two Moldovans on a train in Romania a few years ago but we didn't get onto that."

Nicola Baird "Do you recommend travelling around Romania by train - I have a feeling I'd love it. Any veggie food? How did you manage not speaking Romanian (I'm assuming...). "

Sara S We have a Moldova church in Leominster ...

Nicola Baird Sara, turns out your Moravian church is dated 1759! A little more here, http://www.heritage-explorer.co.uk/web/he/searchdetail.aspx?id=8510&crit=persecution

Nicola Baird said...

More from Facebook:
Jenny: Who was it named after?

Nicola Baird This medieval prince's dog, Molda. Have a look at the link at the top, around britain no plane. Amazing you speak romanian - isn't it quite hard to learn?

Jenny Ah will do! And no, well not as difficult as other languages. It's quite similiar to French and Italian and the grammar is really basic. When you consider I think we have 14 tenses in English and in Romanian they have three. I'm not that clever and I still needed to carry a dictionary everywhere!