Blogs from Minsk, Minsk Voblast, Belarus, Europe

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Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk September 29th 2013

Night train from Warsaw to Minsk...in a Belarussian train....the fun is starting. The great news is that they have compartment of 3 berths...perfect for us...even including a small sink. I would simply call it comfortable and clean. In the middle of the night, at the border, they change the wheels as we are entering the former USSR rail system. The kids were deeply asleep and I didn't bother waking them up, as I had already lived the experience between Romania and Moldova just a month ago. Border crossing was also pretty smooth...two kids and a Dad...that brings a lot of smiles! We spent a good 24 hours on our way to the East in Minsk, Belarus. One more country and one more capital for me. Minsk, not much is written about the city when it comes ... read more
Night train from Warsaw to Minsk
Minsk
Main Street downtown

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk May 30th 2013

Arriving in Minsk from Vitebsk, I hopped straight in a taxi to King Hostel, hoping and praying it would be better than the last one. I'd specifically booked my own room for a whopping £27 per night, so I was keeping everything crossed. The room was amazing! I had a double bed, a widescreen TV, surround sound, a balcony, a sofa and an armchair. Loving the room so much, I spent the whole afternoon in there, Skyping and catching up with friends. In the evening, I took a leisurely stroll around the lake and grabbed a few supplies from the supermarket for my bus ride the next evening. On my way through the Trinity area, I passed by the Isle of Tears, a memorial commemorating the Soviet soldiers from Belarus that died during the war with ... read more
The chapel on the Isle of Tears
The Isle of Tears' chapel

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk May 25th 2013

So, the bus ride was pretty uneventful, and for once, there was an English-speaking attendant, so I didn't have the usual awkward sign-language crap when trying to decipher what was being said to me. The scenery was beautiful; striking green fields as far the eye could see, broken up by the odd little town or village. Border control was pretty strict but disorganised, and other than the fact that I wasn't sweating like a whore in church, I could've sworn I was back in Asia. There was a lot of waiting around with my heavy-arse backpack on (not that I'm complaining - I'm glad to have it back!), and even though I could've put it down, leaving it on was better than lifting it every time we moved a few steps. Note: anyone planning to visit ... read more
Minsk Central

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk January 1st 2013

Такси прибыло ровно в 11 как и договаривались. Все же некоторые умудрились остаться после новогодней ночи способными на дальние поездки за рулем. Скажу спасибо таксисту за сдержанное слово и пожелаю удачи в новом году. В аэропорту было совершенно нечем занятся и соответственно скучно. Хорошо что хоть выехали не очень рано а то заплесневели бы в ожидании рейса. Минский аэропорт весьма мал и поэтому прохождение всех формальностей не затянулось. 15 минут и мы оказались в крохотном зале ож... read more

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk October 20th 2012

The day trips out of Minsk While Juha and I were in Belarus we also made a few day trips out of Minsk. For reasons I explained in the previous blog entry from Belarus the visa regulations made it too difficult to stay over night outside Minsk so day trips was all we could do. This blog entry will be about these day trips. But before that I'd like to talk a little about the Belarusians. In Belarus people are not used to meet tourists simply because there are not very many tourists around. When we were in Minsk we barely saw any tourists at all. In typical tourist attractions, such as Mir Castle and Nezvizh Castle both of which I will write about later on, we saw some tourists but not hoards like in other ... read more
Mir Castle
Mir Castle on a banknote
Mir Castle chapel

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Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk October 19th 2012

Imposing buildings, majestic subway stations and various memorials A few years ago I, Ake, and my friend Juha talked about Belarus and realised that we both wanted to go there. It took some time before we finally got there but in July this year we did. It has also taken some time for me to get down to finally updating the blog with photos and stories from this trip. But now, somewhat late, you can read the first of the blog entries from Belarus. For us to get the visa to visit Belarus was not as easy as you might think. We had to in advance book hotel for every night we wanted to stay in the country and we had to include a copy of the booking confirmation in our application. This paperwork made us ... read more
Hill of Glory
Hill of Glory
Hill of Glory

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk July 18th 2012

Minsk was something like a bonus destination on our trip, since we didn't originally plan to go there, but it is on our route home, and makes a good one day stopover on our way from Kiev to Vilnius. 12th city of the trip in total. We arrived by night train at 8.30, again tired and feeling worn after the night on the train. We can sleep ok on trains, but whenever the train journey includes a border crossing we are woken up in the middle of the night by several people checking our passports, asking about our luggage etc. This takes time, so we end up being awake something like an hour in the middle of the night. Also the fact that there are no shower possibilities etc..well, let's just say a night on the ... read more
National Library
Victory Square
Vilnius was much more "humane" :)

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk September 8th 2011

“Rochelle! Rochelle!” a friend of mine told me to say in the streets of Minsk. Unsure as to whether I had found my ‘Rochelle or her daughter’ I thought maybe she had reached Minsk? I arrived at the airport and immediately was forced to pay for medical insurance by the government. The official piece of paper was put in an envelope, which had a map of Belarus. On this map I saw a place called Pinsk. Those that have followed my Milan to Minsk journey will recall that this part of my trip is dedicated to Seinfield and their fictional movie called Rochelle Rochelle, with a twist. ‘A young backpackers strange and ‘hopeful’ erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.’ Now, on the show when that movie gets turned into a Broadway musical, a line for the ... read more
2 - The main square of Minsk
3 - Island of Tears
4 - The main street

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 26th 2011

As Hannah and I boarded the train to Minsk, Belarus, it should have been a sign of things to come as our ‘seats’ were actually beds above the seats as we were on a sleeper train that had started much further west in Europe and wasn’t finishing until Moscow. So we sat as best we could as I read and Hannah wrote her journal. We would have talked with the others in our section but we were the only English speakers around. This was especially helpful when we came to border and despite having the correct visas, they wanted to see our medical insurance. I pulled out our travel insurance which covers us for the world but apparently this wasn’t acceptable, and after the pulling out his phone, the border guard called someone who spoke English ... read more
What?
Communist art
Main Square

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 26th 2011

After leaving Clay to explore Latvia, James and I found ourselves off the tourist trail towards Belarus! The train carriage is nothing like I’ve ever seen before – our allocated seats were upper bunk beds, notably higher than normal, but with no ladder to get up! And when you did manage to get up that high, there wasn’t even enough head-room to sit up! For 5 hours! To make matter worse, the train was quite full and EVERYONE only spoken Russian. The ladies that we were sharing the area with made some kind of hand gestures to suggest we could sit on the lower bunks with them, so that was good! Crossing the border was interesting. Firstly we had to leave Lithuania, simple stamp of our passports. Easy enough. Getting into Belarus, however, was a different ... read more
Welcome to Minsk
Lenin Statue
The Front Door




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