**Welcome to the country that doesn’t exist**
On Sunday I hit the road to Transnistria – finally. Since I started in April it was my desired destination that I had postponed to arrived for weeks. Anyhow the distance was about 270km and I chose a way that would include a small ferry at Ustya over Dniester. At the first day I crossed the border to Moldova and like this got rid of the bad streets for at least some time. It was a small border checkpoint and the Moldovans couldn’t believe I was cycling all the way from Berlin. The night I spent on a field some 8km further down the road, since I found it difficult to find any piece of land that is just forest or unused.
The next day I could cycle as fast as in Poland again. The streets are way better than in Ukraine and I even broke a new speed record: 61.5km/h. The street I took was financed by the US and build by the Austrian company StraBAG. When I made a little detour to refill my milk I was invited for lunch, what was also nice, and a bit later given bread and cherries for free. So I had enough to eat in the evening but while it was nice, warm and not too sunny during the day, it got really chilly in the evening.
On Tuesday I arrived after 64km in Transnistria aka Pridnestrove. Many people think this country is frozen in the time republic of Soviet Union in the middle of Europe.
Crossing the border was really easy. On the Moldovan side I told the officers that I would exit to Ukraine resulting in not getting a Moldovan exit stamp, but the officer said it was okay. The river Dniester is marking the border and on the other side I was greeted friendly and in English. I got my migration card that allowed me to stay 24h but one day later I registered myself with the help of R. and was able to stay 23 days longer until 30th June.
I was in Rybnitsa for one week and just have to destroy the imagination that people would find a frozen Soviet Republic in Transnistria. Some Russian towns (like Yegoryevsk) have a more Soviet atmosphere. Also what I saw from the people living on the countryside, life there doesn’t differ from the one in Ukraine or Moldova. Surely, in opposite to the other unrecognized republics Karabakh amd Abkhazia, Transnistria has its own currency (Transnistrian ruble with plastic coins), that can be used only for playing poker outside the country, leads to drop of the value of the currency of there are no Dollars or Euros and then empty shelves in the supermarket. Getting ‘real’ money is nearly impossible by the time I write this post and the exchange rate on the black market is 15% higher. Next week gas stations would run out of gas I was told.
I spent my time here mostly with walking, talking, picking cherries, playing UNO, watching football and saving owl babies.