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I flew into the capital city, Chisinau (Kee-shih-now), from Paris. If you are thinking of going to Romania to see Dracula's Castle or to Ukraine for those onion-domed churches, consider Moldova too. U.S. citizens don't need a visa.
Explore Chisinau, then head out to the countryside, which is filled with grapevines and green fields, lovely but very poor.
Chisinau, in the center of the country, is slowly recovering from six decades of Soviet rule. This was the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic until independence in 1991. Construction cranes dot the skyline. Billboards advertising Mercedes-Benz cars and Orange cellphones appear on streets filled with aging buses belching exhaust and sidewalks often in poor repair.
-- Kay Mills
Read more: Exploring Moldova's wine caves
Pictured: Cobwebs cover the caps of aged bottles of wine at Milestii Mici winery in Moldova.