Edit Blog Post
Published: October 9th 2019
One of the many things I love about the EU is its stance on smoking; throughout half a continent it is unacceptable to smoke in public. To remind yourself of how good this is, travel to the other half of Europe which smells like a 1980s British pub carpet. The non-smoking Hotel Minsk is one such location – there is so much smoke oozing through the ventilation system that you need breathing apparatus to go for a pee.
The morning is filled with complicated simple things. First, I want to find a supermarket and buy a bottle of Diet Coke. According to Google Maps, the nearest supermarket is 43 feet away, but it refuses to give directions. At first, I think this must mean that it’s in the underground shopping centre, but a full search of all 3 levels proves unsuccessful. An overground search is equally unsuccessful. I’m about to give up, when I finally spot the supermarket. It’s inside the hotel.
Once I have my shopping, all I have to do is return to my room via the main hotel door. This is large and heavy and opens outwards. There is a doorman, but he’s buggered if he’s
going to leave the warmth of the hotel. So when you approach, he swings the door open and you have to try and get through before it closes. Go too soon and you crash into his shoulder. Leave it too late and you get your foot crushed by the door. I have managed both of these so far. To my relief, the doorman is engaged in conversation and doesn’t see me coming. I manage a pain free personal door opening and return to the room to see if the old man has finally surfaced.
Today, we are taking a walk along Independence Avenue; the wide Stalinist boulevard (obviously during Stalin’s time it wasn’t called Independence Avenue) which runs the length of the city and contains most of Minsk’s main buildings.
We start at the bottom at Independence Square and work our way up. We detour slightly to visit Dynamo Minsk stadium – a strange building which looks like someone dropped a spaceship on top of an amphitheatre. Next, the Belarusian National Arts Museum. It’s not the best art I’ve ever seen. To be honest, it reminds me of the art display put on at school each summer ready
for the GCSE examiner – and not all those kids passed!
I lose interest in continuing up Independence Avenue and return to the hotel for a break. I’m all Minsked out, which is good as tomorrow we pick up a hire car and travel further afield.
We round off our visit with one last dinner at a nearby restaurant called Trinity – the trinity bring Belarusian, Jewish and Tartar. The old man surpasses himself with a trinity of his own and orders 3 courses; a meat platter, soup and potato pancakes. I opt for for just potato pancakes. I love the Belarusian potato pancakes; patties of grated potato and onion, fried and served with onions and sour cream. Just as we’re tucking into ours, the lady at the next table decides to change her baby’s nappy. At the table. Then her food comes and she starts eating. She hasn’t washed her her hands and the dirty nappy is still sitting on the chair. As my kids would say – minging.
Tot: 0.576s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 8; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0147s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb