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September 9, 2002

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We moved at Phileas Fogg speed, covering ground as if we raced across the world. There's no reason for it other than our short attention span. By an overnight train we arrived in Chernivsti, a few hundred kilometers south of Lviv, near Ukraine's border with Romania and Moldova. Chernivsti is the meeting point between these three regions; a Romanian influence dominates the architecture. We hire a cab driver to take us into the countryside for a tour of local castles. Then we caught the evening bus to the Moldovian border.
Kamyanets-Podilsky, a natural fortification carved out of the steppe by a loop of the Smotyrch River. People added the castle in the 11th century where it's withstood attacks from Lithuanians, Poles, Moldovians, Mongols, and Turks. The Germans used it as a ghetto for prisoners during WWII.
The Turks used this cathedral as a mosque, adding a minaret in the 17th century. Catholic Poles regained the city and added a Virgin Mary statue to the top of the minaret.
Another castle on the road to Chernivsti is the one at Khotyn. It's walls rise high above the Dnister river.
An Orthodox Church's onion dome sits at the end of a bright, Baroque street in Chernivsti
Escher's Orthodox Church, a copy of one in Romania.
The Moldovian border crossing was our best border experience. The 'captain' of the post, drunk as a fraternity party, took us off the bus and brought us to his office. He was ready to dispense with any border formalities, but we managed to settle him down long enough to stamp our passports and fill out a customs declaration form. In exchange, we downed a few glasses of wine. Notably, this is the only border crossing that allowed photographs.