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Published: February 18th 2017
Brest, Belarus Orthodox Church
Right in the center of town, we walked by this church several times. Beautiful in the snow.
Winter travels in Eastern Europe – Brest, Belarus
One of the biggest surprises of our winter trip was how much we loved Brest, Belarus. It was festive with holiday spirit. We are not sure which holiday as many celebrate the orthodox Christmas on January 6th
. We spent an afternoon and the night of December 17th on our way to the Czech Republic. There was a big outdoor gathering at city hall (overseen by a large statue of Lenin) with a parade and tree lighting ceremony. We wandered the streets ending up on one long pedestrian street (Sovietskaya). We came upon another gathering of people who were observing the evening gas lamp lighting. Along one stretch of the pedestrian street a man dressed in black suit and top hat carried a ladder from one street lamp to the next, climbed the ladder and lit each lamp. He would then pose with the children for photos before moving on to the next lamp and repeating the process. He does this every night. One interesting note about the design of these lamps that carries into today’s design is the horizontal bar just below the lamp; it is for the lamplighter’s ladder to lean
Brest, Belarus Lenin Statue
Overseeing the celebrations
against. The top of the ladder hooks over the bar for stability.
We stayed at the comfortable and clean Hotel Molodyozhnay and had a terrific dinner at Jules Verne restaurant. We were rested and ready for our trip. Up early the next morning we ran into some difficulties crossing the Belarus-Poland border. We were the only car at the first checkpoint – Yay! Oops, there was a new system of exiting from the Belarus side of the border. Instead of going straight to the first checkpoint, a nice border guard directed us back to the entrance to enter at another point where a woman gave us a ticket. Then we could proceed to the first checkpoint. Now we were behind several other cars. There were the usual multiple trunk checks as we proceeded to the immigration window. I chose the friendlier looking of the two officers. She didn’t like my passport; a year ago I had pages added to my passport and the USA did a pretty sloppy job inserting the pages, but nobody had cared until now. We were standing out in the frigid cold while she looked it over, showed it to her partner, called
Brest, Belarus Lamplighter
This lamplighter takes his job seriously, yet poses with school children for photos after lighting each lamp. It was fun to see this piece of the past.
her supervisor who took the passport somewhere else for inspection. All this just to get out of Belarus! Finally, after about 90 minutes we were stamped and on our way… To the Polish side of the border. Problem three was the young border agent there wasn’t going to let us into Poland because I was traveling with my US driver’s license and not an international one. After a little desperate pleading and much waiting he finally let us through. We were finally on our way! A very long drive through Poland to Olomouc, Czech Republic.
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