Within minutes of my arrival, my guide Natasha Alzahov swooped me up and out of the tiny airport at Chisinau. After a brief stop at Hotel Dacia, we headed by taxi for a rooftop barbeque party to celebrate Victory Day with some of Natasha’s friends (victory over Fascism, as the war is referred to there).
The rooftop, with open views of the city, was private, belonging to Serge (in gray) and Victoria who run a financial newspaper. The toasting and singing (in Russian) continued late into the evening; it stayed light until almost 10 p.m. There was vodka, of course, but also an excellent local wine, Crikova, and a copious spread, including three kinds of local mushrooms, as well as shaslik.
After dinner, Natasha and I went downstairs to visit the apartment with Victoria and looked at her family album. Unlike mine, Victoria’s family featured aristocrats, as well as a grandfather with peasant origins who saved a noble ancestor from execution. I admired her distinguished Russian roots!