My Belarus :)

I was wondering long enough if i should be telling this in english or lithuanian since a lot of what i will write will ring a special bell in a postsovietic mind, however i decided (as you can see) to reach a larger crowd and yes, i take the risk of being misunderstood a little, but that’s what the comments are here for 🙂

So, the trip to Belarus came as a substitute for beautiful holidays that were supposed to happen in August – 3 weeks through Ukraine, Moldova: see, gorgeous sights, see, sun, friends etc. Well, this did not happen because of some relocation issues (Vilnius to Amsterdam) but we love our lives and we are happy with what we have 😉

Anyway, July 23-25 was dedicated to going back to Soviet Union (as we were expecting) all the signs (expensive visas, difficulties finding a hotel, expensive hotels – only for foreigners -, tough time on the border…) were showing that this is what we’ll get there. WE WERE WRONG… I mean, what i thought to myself that this is a beautiful dictatorship 🙂 Now, don’t burn me right away, hear me out 😉

Four of us decided to visit 5 old lithunian castles, you know once, centuries ago, my country was a big kingdom – oh well, look it up in wikipedia ;), i know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! Anyway, for the ones who know a little bit of history from this part of the world i can tell that we visited castles in Lida, Nesvyžius, Mir, Naugardukas and Krėva, of course, the capital, Minsk, was the first stop we made.

We arrived late at night to the capital, it was quite empty, BUT clean! huge! streets wide and with Toyota Celicas 🙂 i mean what else do you want from a capital? After easily found hotel we went to eat (it was already past midnight) and… the only place close to us was a restaurant… a restaurant with strip dancers… a friend who traveled with us said that it is totally normal to be a restaurant with a pole that is being used a lot 🙂 That was our first night, terrible heat, but beer was great, prices the same as at home and some half naked girls on a pole… hmm… i wasn’t sure what will come next after a night like that 🙂

Next morning was very calm – russian style breakfast with a non smiling and barely communicating hotel waiter, group picture in front of a hotel and tour to the center of Minsk. Watch yourselves:

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If you are interested in more pics from there, go to my picasa 🙂 http://picasaweb.google.com/gabriele.tervidyte/2010072325Baltarusija?authkey=Gv1sRgCN7_nqP50tnQYQ#

Actually, the pictures will tell you everything: “Batiushka“ is really trying to make his country look pretty and he actually, in my eyes, succeeds…

The only thing that he could also work on… is to make people look happy. We were joking that all the people on the streets are hired actors to act as if life is normal there 🙂 Life is normal there and it has become normal not to smile, not to joke around and not to be happy. Is there fear? I don’t know, might be. There’s definitely still knowledge and understanding of the world from decades ago and the looks from now. Mixed feelings, mixed feelings.

My advice is – go there and see it yourself – you’ll find it quite amazing in places. 🙂

Good luck and goodnight 🙂

hugs,

me

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