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Just Back From Romania, Modova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

Just Back From Romania, Modova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

Oct 15th, 2018, 01:22 AM
  #1  
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Just Back From Romania, Modova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

In early September, 2018, I took Tri-Rail down to Miami International Airport and flew on Lufthansa's Airbus A380 to Frankfurt and connected on to Bucharest. I treated myself to Business Class and appreciated the fact that the fasten seatbelt sign was turned off six minutes after take-off and remained off until 24 minutes to landing.

I picked up a bus pass transportation card at the airport in Bucharest and used the public transportation from the airport to downtown and back. I took an all-day tour to Transylvania and really enjoyed the landscapes, but the tour did not return until 11:00 p.m. I was glad the restaurants in the old town area were still open. I took a 100 minute tour of Palace of the Parliament. This is the second largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon.

I flew up to Chisinau, Moldova and spent three days strolling through the parks and visiting the museums. Be sure to check out Valea Morilor Park. I rode the local trams around the city and dodged a few showers.

I took the train from Chisinau to Odessa, Ukraine. I treated myself to First Class which was about Ten Dollars. The ride was just under four hours and Customs came aboard the train to stamp Passports. It was the last weekend before many of the beaches closed and I enjoyed buying beer on the beach for about 89 cents a bottle. Be sure to check out the Garden Square Park. Odessa is very walkable but I did use the tram several times.

I flew from Odessa to Kiev and then on to Yerevan, Armenia. I enjoyed Armenia so much I stayed an extra day. There were many parks in the downtown area with restaurants, and I hired drivers to get out of town and visit Sevan National Park and took a tour bus out to the Wings of Tatev, an Aerial tramway. Be sure to visit Freedom Square and the Cascade Stairway and Museum.

I took a taxi to the bus station and mini-van was just filling up and off we went to Georgia. The mini-van had wifi and the drive took five hours. I was able to get the front seat and the views were amazing. I enjoyed the Tbilisi Peace Bridge, the Old Town, many old churches and the cable car to Narikala Fortress. There are many bathhouses to choose from and I got a pretty good scrub.

I took the local bus to the airport and flew to Baku, Azerbaijan. This was the only country on my list where I needed a Visa to enter. Google $24 Visa and do it three days before arriving and you will be fine. I used a transportation card to get from the airport to downtown on a new bus. I loved the downtown area; no cars, wide streets, smooth sidewalks, nice restaurants and friendly people. The waterfront area was mostly parks but this area of the Caspian Sea is not for swimming. I signed up for a one-day tour to Gabala, which included the Tufandag cable car and Seven Beauties Waterfall.

I took the bus back to the Baku Airport (A Five Star Airport) and flew over to Aktau, Kazakhstan, for three days. I had a little scare at the airport. Checking in I was asked if I had a Visa for Kazakhstan. When I went through the immigration at the Baku airport I was again asked if I had a Visa. When I arrived in Kazakhstan I had no problems with just my passport. I hired a driver who drove me down to a hot springs, 35 miles south of the city. I saw wild camels and horses along the drive. There is a lot of oil production in Kazakhstan and I met a few young Americans and Canadians teaching English in the area schools. Everywhere I ate, wifi was available and Google Translate was helpful when I asked for a popular local beer. I found a nice rock to sit on next to the water and finally dove into the Caspian Sea.

I flew back to Baku where I needed another Visa for Azerbaijan. They were not real happy at customs when they saw that I had been to Armenia on my Passport, but they let me back in. Twenty-four hours later I flew back to Frankfurt and back to Florida. I traveled as a solo passenger on this trip and arranged everything myself. I was happy with the trip. The weather in September was excellent, but I would probably add one more day in Romania.

Last edited by wally34949; Oct 15th, 2018 at 01:29 AM.
wally34949 is offline  
Oct 15th, 2018, 04:32 PM
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Thanks for the report. Interesting list of countries! We spent a couple of weeks in Romania some years ago and enjoyed it. Did you find you had a favourite along the trip?
CounterClifton is offline  
Oct 16th, 2018, 01:31 AM
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There is not a lot happening in Moldova and Kazakhstan so I was glad I only stayed three days in these countries, but I enjoyed the other countries equally, perhaps because I was able to get out of the city and see the countryside.
wally34949 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2018, 08:31 AM
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Thanks for the report. I have been to all those places except Kiev, Baku and Kazakhstan (chose Uzbekistan instead). Pity you didn't have (much) mire time for Romania. I preferred Tbilisi to Yerevan, but that was a while back and they were still building the Cascades.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 16th, 2018, 09:33 PM
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That was going to my same question. Regarding your Armenia trip, did you see Anthony Bourdains Parts Unknown filmed in Armenia?
Mr. Bourdain(RIP) was black listed from Azerbajan for visiting Armenia and its neighboring Armenian enclave of Arstakh.
Bashman is offline  
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