Last Saturday, 17 EVS volunteers and 2 ADVIT coordinators travelled by bus in the early morning to explore Soroca, a beautiful city in the north of Moldova. Originally, the trip was scheduled to occur one week earlier but due to a sudden revival of winter in late April (aka #snowpocalypse), it was impossible to leave the house. This time, the weather gods were favourably inclined towards our group, so we could feel the warm sun rays when we left the bus two hours later. Fortunately, most of us had napped during the trip, so we were well-rested enough, to climb the more than 600 steps towards the Candle of Gratitude Monument (Lumânarea Recunoștinței).
The monument was designed by Moldavan writer, Ion Durta, who aimed to memorialize the Moldovan culture and all those who made efforts to preserve it throughout different periods of history. From the candle, which was built on the rocks close to the river Nistru, we enjoyed the astonishing view over Moldova and Ukraine, which starts on the other side of the river.
Afterwards, we visited the famous fortress of Soroca, which was built in the Middle Ages to protect the country. The architecture of this place is amazing and it is difficult to believe how old it is. Furthermore, it is the only intact and preserved building of this time in the country. After a short introduction from a tour guide, we explored the fortress by ourselves for another hour.
Considering our climb and fortress exploration (and the fact that lunch time was fast approaching!), it came as no surprise that the group was very hungry. We decided to have a picnic nearby, in the forest next to the Cosăuți Monastery. We didn’t visit the latter, not only because of the previously mentioned hunger, but also because most of us had taken part in an interesting but exhausting 9-monastery-tour during Postul Mare (the Lent before Easter), so we weren’t ready to enter another one just yet. After lunch, we started to play some games, which aroused the interest of a group of local kids and teenagers, who joined us for some time.
Since it was still quite early, we decided spontaneously to visit Orheiul Vechi as well. This place is a famous historical and natural site in Moldova which is definitely worth a visit. We walked uphill while enjoying the spectacular view over the Răut River and across the whole lowlands. First, we headed to the cave monastery, which was directly built into the rocks of the hillside, and afterwards made our way to the other monastery on top of the hill. Of course, we couldn’t leave Orheiul Vechi without making a wish at Crucea Dorintei, an old cross made of stone. Even though it was unlikely that anybodys wish included the weather conditions, we were really lucky anyway, because the very moment we arrived back to the bus for the drive home, it started to rain. Ce noroc! We weren’t affected at all by this weather but were happy that we had had such a nice day.