We have arrived in the morning at the unofficial borders of Transnistria, on the Moldovian side was only a police car parked, they just asked why we go there (tourism), and let us disappear in a minute. Before the bridge we hit the Russian army checkpoint, they let us go without stopping. And after another few hundred meters, we have arrived finally at a real border, they were quite shocked to see a US truck with a Czech-German-Moldovian crew on board. Anyway, after few calls from the immigration officer to Tiraspol and after paying the Road Fee (66 PRB) we were granted a generous 45-day stay in Transnistria. Our first stop was Bender Castle – an impressive Ottoman fortress situated outside the center near the Bendery–Tiraspol bridge. It was built in the 16th century and saw keen fighting between Turkish and Russian forces before falling to Tsarist Russia permanently in the early 19th century. For years this was a functioning Russian army base and off-limits to the public. With the recent thaw between Chisiņau and Tiraspol, the castle complex has been given completely over to tourism. And since we had no chance to change money at the border, we have paid entrance in Moldavian currency (60 MDL).

Parking location – Bender: 46.833055N 29.486758E