Blogs from Minsk, Minsk Voblast, Belarus, Europe

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Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk 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 ... read more
 City sculpture
Church of Saint Simon and Saint Helena
Post Office

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk October 8th 2019

I had worried that with temperatures below zero, I would get cold in Minsk, so last week I purchased the world’s thickest (well, Primark’s thickest) pyjamas. But the Hotel Minsk isn’t skimping on the heating – last night was like one long hot flush. We get up and set off for some sightseeing. One of the first things you notice about Belarus – jaywalking is not a thing. You stand and wait for the light to go green, even if this means waiting for hours when there isn’t a car in sight. Then, when the light finally does go green, still nobody moves. This is either because they’ve been there for so long they’ve forgotten where they’ve going, or because they’ve frozen to the spot and can no longer move. We start by heading to the ... read more
Communism v KFC
Holy Spirit Cathedral
Old town

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk October 7th 2019

It’s time for a little trip. We usually go away in October and in recent years have been to Mexico, Cuba, Israel, Greece and Turkey – all places which delay the inevitability of having to deal with the cold, damp British Autumn. This year, as the old man attempts to notch up 100 countries and our destinations become more obscure, we are heading for Belarus. The weather forecast is for minus 3 degrees and snow. As I return home the night before the Great South Run, I get up early and go for a run before setting off for Gatwick. We’re flying with Belavia Belarusian Airline, which isn’t bad, apart from the in flight meal – chicken sausages which taste as bad as they look. We arrive in Minsk on time, immigration and baggage reclaim is ... read more
Belavia dinner
Hotel Minsk
Hotel Minsk from Independence Square

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 27th 2019

April 27, 2019 – Vipassana *Spoiler alert If you’re interested in taking a course, you may not want to read about my experience, as it’s different for everyone.* The Location The course was held at Borok, a children’s summer camp about an hour outside of Minsk. It was in a nice location, with a small wooded area that we could walk in during free times. There were several residential buildings on site, but we all stayed in one, with women on the ground floor and men on the floor above. I was in hallway 7, room 3, bed 14. There were 8 beds in the room, and only 6 had numbers, so that seemed ok. The layout of the room was such that the beds were arranged so that there were 4 on each side of ... read more
My spot
Borok Camp
The residence hall

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 16th 2019

Tuesday April 16 – Saturday April 27 Today I’m leaving Minsk to attend a 10-day Vipassana meditation course. It is an hour or so outside of Minsk, in a rented children’s camp, and I am getting a ride there with another course participant. They had a board that allowed people to offer and request rides, so I put my name on the list as needing a ride. At first no one was offering, but then I saw someone was, so I contacted him through the Vipassana website. He emailed me his cell phone number and didn’t respond back when I emailed him to let him know I didn’t have a mobile. But my friend Kat sent him a message for me on Friday and found him on facebook, so we were able to correspond and he’s ... read more

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 13th 2019

Saturday April 13 – This vacation will be similar to others in some ways – new country, new adventures, no idea which shoes to pack – but it will also be something new, as I’m going to attend a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation course which begins on Tuesday evening. This will be new for me in many ways. Today, however, I did my normal thing. Went to bed last night more stressed than I wanted, got me and Jeroen up at 4am so he could take me to the airport for my 6:45am flight. We left 20 minutes later than I’d intended, but somehow we were there nearly when I’d planned, and it didn’t take all that long to get through security though I do still have a knack for picking the slowest lines, whether ... read more
KGB Building
Park
Fast food is everywhere

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk December 2nd 2018

Belarus: the final frontier. The last vestige of the former USSR, the last bastion of Soviet Communism. Located far behind the old Iron Curtain, Alexander Lukashenko has ruled here since 1994, the country known as Europe's last dictatorship. Isolated from the world, Belarus is a place most average people have never heard of and a place seldom in the news. But what kind of place would it be? Exactly the kind of place that fascinates me apparently; exactly the kind of place I had to check out. Belarus is also a final frontier for me. The first time I tried to go there, things went horribly, horribly wrong. About a year later, a second expedition had to be prematurely abandoned. It has been one of the most difficult countries I have tried to get to. Therefore ... read more
Modern Minsk Skyline
Presidential Administrative Building
Holy Spirit Cathedral

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk September 24th 2018

We are having a break this rainy Monday, which is appreciated since so many on this tour are sick. The coughing and sneezing and various aches and pains spread quickly through the bus, especially since many do not cover their coughs and sneezes, even though all of us are adults. Our immune systems are getting a strong workout anyway, going from sunshine and 80s/28 (Fahrenheit/Celsius) in Moscow (such a gift this time of year!) to chilly rain and 40s/8 (F/C) in the space of one day. Add in three new countries so far, plus sick people on our bus, and everyone's immunity is quite challenged. I've spent this down time packing, trying to catch up on insidiously, continuously accumulating emails, taking Echinacea root tincture prophylactically, and giving my raincoat and boots a chance to dry out, ... read more

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk April 1st 2018

Just a year ago Belarusian airline (Belavia) starting out a flight from Belgium to Minsk, and at the same time, they withdrew the tourist visa. Most nationalities can visit Belarus for five days with a visa-free. Minsk is on my list for quite some time, but our trip was postponed a few times due to the hassle of the visa. When I heard the news about withdrawn the tourist visa I can't wait to visit Minsk. This a good news for all of us, so with no doubt I book our ticket through the website of Belavia airline and can't wait the day we departed. Belavia airline based in Brussels South, a second and smaller airport in Belgium. The airport is mostly used for short haul destination, due to its location, takes an effort to reach ... read more
Trinity Hill
City Gate
Independence Square

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk September 11th 2017

104 th Country World Around Project Cigdem Yorgancioglu ---- Hicran Ciğdem Yorgancıoğlu ‘nun Belarus Minsk Devr-i Alem Hicri Alem Hicran Çiğdem Seyahatnamesi’nden ..seyahat notlarından alıntılardır . Her hakkı saklıdır .. / Eserin tüm telif hakları H.Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu’na aittir . Eserin izinsiz kopyalanması çoğaltımı ,yayını ,dağıtımı halinde 5846 sayılı Fikir ve Sanat Eserleri Kanunun hükümleri geçerli olacaktır. - 104 th Country World Around Project Cigdem Yorgancioglu ---- Hicran Ciğdem Yorgancıoğlu ‘nun Belarus Minsk Devr-i Alem Hicri Alem Hicran Çiğdem Seyahatnamesi’nden ..seyahat notlarından alıntılardır . Her hakkı saklıdır .. / Eserin tüm telif hakları H.Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu’na aittir . Eserin izinsiz kopyalanması çoğaltımı ,yayını ,dağıtımı halinde 5846 sayılı Fikir ve Sanat Eserleri Kanunun hükümle... read more
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