OK, chowhounds with knowledge of eastern europe, I need your assistance:
My mom is planning one of her intrepid solo trips--this time to the obscure republic of Moldova and the (self-declared) Transdniester Republic to visit my grandfather's birthplace (Kamenka). Moldova borders Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine. It is land-locked, however it is not far from the Black Sea. We need information about getting to Transdniestria (perhaps it is easier to get there from the Ukraine than the Moldovan capital itself). Also, will she be able to get around without a second language (my mom is fluent in Yiddish, but that won't help there anymore)? She is pretty adventurous--she went to her mother's town, Brest, in White Russia on her own a few years ago. That trip was extremely successful.
In the chowhound vein maybe she can check out a winery or two. What are the best wines to buy there these days? I also googled a fascinating description of how they have a technique of using wine as medicine in that region. There are no spas with "waters" as far as I can tell (unlike Romania next door), however,perhaps there is a vinotherapy, or oenotherapy spa somewhere in Moldova someone has tried?
Lastly, what would be the best city for her to use as a jumping-off point? Naturally, we are thinking Bucharest and Odessa, but what about Budapest or Prague?
Ok, that about covers it. Any comments from people who have traveled this obscure region (or neighboring Romania and Ukraine) would be extremely appreciated. Please address food, wine and general comments in your post. Any logistical and hotel advice you might have would be appreciated of course, however it might be best if you emailed me that sort of information. (perstephatyahoodotcom)