Trip 9: Belarus and Eastern Europe

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June 10th 2007
Published: June 10th 2007
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This 3 week trip had two purposes: to visit some of my Eastern European friends and to finally go to Belarus. I was successful on both counts. I flew to Budapest, but immediately went Kosice in Slovakia to visit some friends there. I went back to Budapest after that to spend New Year's with Attila my friendfrom when I was studying in Prague. I then took a train north to Warsaw to spent time with my friend Radek and to arrange a visa for Belarus.

I spent the next 8 days in Minsk, Europe's only dictatorship. Since the town was almost destroyed completely after WW2, the Communists were able to start from scratch when rebuilding Minsk. They certainly left a mark. Wide boulevards and gigantic government buildings along with drab apartment blocks, define this city. My only guide was 5 out-of-date pages ripped from a guidebook. So this was essentially like playing one of those role-playing games on the computer. The only difference was it that it was real. I has to explore the city and find a place to stay, food, an Internet cafe, and other things. Another factor was that it was freezing while I was there. Minus 10 degrees celcius was the average temperature, but when I arrived it was much colder. Needless to say, by the time I left Minsk, I knew where there was good food, had new friends who I was staying with, knew of two Internet cafes, and had a favorite club.

I had to leave Belarus via Lithuania in order to not overstay my visa. I then backtracked to Lodz in Poland to meet Thomas, my German friend from when I studied in Prague. After that, it was back to Budapest and back home.


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