This is really Claudia's story, so I'll be brief.
When we come to Moldova, we get tourist visas, good for 90 days. Generous! But if we want to stay longer, we have to get special permits called legitimatsiyas. (Pronounced like the first half of "legitimate" and the back end of "not see ya".) With a legitimatsiya, one can breeze in and out of Moldova. Without it... 90 days.
Well: we arrived here in mid-March. In early May we applied for our legitimatsiyas. Normally, we were told, this takes two weeks; in no event should it take more than 30 days.
Six weeks later, we still don't have them.
Well, we couldn't hang around waiting. So Claudia left at 6 am this morning to drive to Germany, with Alan and David in the car.
Long story short: she got stopped at the border, turned around, sent to court, and fined twice -- once for overstaying (about $50) and once for driving a car that had overstayed (about $140). She reached the border around 7:30, but didn't actually get across it into Romania until about 1 pm. On one hand, a huge and incredibly annoying waste of time and money. On the other, everyone is okay and they're on their way -- just half a day behind schedule -- and Claudia wasn't expelled, so she and the boys can re-enter the country.
I'm bringing the two younger children to Germany by plane on Saturday morning. Will my legitimatsiya arrive by then? Watch this space.