After meeting a new friend on the internet from Moldova, I decided to take a short vacation to this lovely country to meet her. There was more to the meeting than the vacation, but for this review I will focus on the travel. My experience with Chisinau was excellent from beginning to end. It probably helped that I had friends to make my stay more enjoyable. Yet the people and the country made for a wonderful experience. Since my flight was free using frequent flyer miles, I decided to pay a little extra on the hotel and stay at the Leogrand hotel in a small one bedroom apartment. The location is excellent, right off central park in downtown Chisinau. The room was large and well equiped. Furniture kind of dated for the price range, but otherwise and excellent hotel. My friend arranged for a private tour with Canonic - Tur, S.R.L. for two days in the countryside. It was kind of expensive for Moldova at about $3,150 lei, but well worth it. The tour included a driver named Nicolai and guide the first day named Misha. We went to Old Orhei, which is about half an hour away by private Audi car. This tour included a visit to a peasant village, historically restored peasant house, monastary, fortress ruin, turkish bath ruin, cliff cave monastaries and wonderful lunch in a person's farmhouse. The lunch included good food and wine, much of it produced on the premises. They included some girls doing folk dances and singing in traditional dress. The second day included a tour of Milestii Mici winery. This is an experience not to be missed. Same driver, different tour guide named Tatiana. This place is increadible, it is in the Guiness Book of World Records for holding the most bottles of wine, at 1.5 million. It is carved underground in limestone mines with real streets you drive around in the car. The streets are about 200 Km long in a huge maze. The streets are also from 30 to 150 meters in depth. The tour included a look at the private collections and a wine tasting of some excellent Moldovan wine. This place does not grow much in terms of grapes, but produces and stores the harvest. They also hold private cellars, as the temperature and humidity in the mines are perfect for storing wine. My favorite wine was the 75% cabernet 25% pinot red. We also went out to a few restaurants, including the Pani Pani restaurant. I also visited the studio of Nikifor Sviristukhin for a private showing. He is an increadible Moldovan painter, soon to exhibit in New York, Virginia and North Carolina. He sold me a delightful watercolor for about one tenth of what the painting would have cost in the US. The painting will be my treasure of the trip. Cabs are easy for transportation in Chisinau, the minivans are also convenient and very inexpensive. The minivans go everywhere, although you would probably have to know Moldovan or Russian to manage them. They cost only 3 lei. I was never concerned about crime, although it is probably best to watch your wallet and purse. There was plenty of energy everywhere, even at night. People out for tea or drinks. People out in the park for a late night stroll. The Moldovans are beautiful people. This is one of the finest vacations ever and I do plan to go back soon.