Belarus Day 4 - Mir Castle

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October 10th 2019
Published: October 10th 2019
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Old men need a lot of sleep. You can get a lot done between normal getting up time and old man getting up time. Today I go for a run. Inside, in the gym – the weather outside is hideous. Which is a shame as we had planned to spend the day visiting castles.

The gym is not well used. It takes me a while to locate the ‘on’ switch for the treadmill. I start running at a reasonable (for me) pace but the machine has other ideas. Every 2 minutes, the speed and gradient increase dramatically and I have to try to adjust the controls before I get spat off the back. It’s all very stressful. After 4 km, I admit defeat and leave.

Once I have done my run and we have collected our hire car (a very lengthy administrative process) we drive out of Minsk in the pouring rain towards Mir.

Mir castle was built in the 15th Century and has had a colourful history; more recently it was a field hospital during WW1 and a Jewish Ghetto during WW2 (I think - the English translations are somewhat sporadic).

The castle has the steepest steps I’ve ever encountered. Following the visit route is a cross between tourism and mountaineering. And deviation from the route is not an option; it is heavily guarded by scary Belarusian ladies. At one point, we miss an exhibit and the old man tries to go back. The scary Belarusian lady throws herself in front of him. There will be no going back on her watch.

After a very energetic castle visit (I’m regretting this morning’s run now) and a more sedate tour of the grounds, we decide one castle a day is sufficient and set off for tonight’s accommodation.

We stop en route, parking on the hard shoulder and climbing the bank of the motorway to take a photo of an enormous steel buffalo on the hillside. All totally legal, I’m sure.

Tonight we are staying in a hotel just off the Minsk-Brest highway called Gostiny Dvor Neckachevo. I saw it recommended by another blogger and it doesn’t disappoint. I think we’re staying in the converted stables of an old coach house.

We round the evening off with dinner at the hotel restaurant – proof you can have too much of a good thing. I order a large potato pancake. It’s enormous and basically a huge blob of soggy, gloopy starch. After a 3 day streak, my penchant for potato pancakes is at an end.

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