(Belarus Flag)


(Belarus Map)


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013:

Today we left Moscow and followed in the footsteps of Napoleon's retreating army of 1812,
passing near Borodino and stopping for lunch in the Smolensk region.
We crossed the border into Belarus and continued on to Minsk.
Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Nyamiha rivers.
We checked into our hotel in Minsk, the Hotel Europe.

All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

Our tour bus on the road in Belarus Victory Square in Minsk, Belarus Hotel Europe in Minsk, Belarus

The video below is 4 minutes long of my accommodations in Minsk.

After dinner at the hotel I took a walk through old town across the street from the hotel.
City Hall in Minsk, Belarus Minsk, Belarus at dusk Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Minsk, Belarus

Old Town is a rather deceptive name. The buildings that you see were built in the 1980s on an
area of land left undeveloped since the war. Locals refer to the area by its historic name,
Troitskoe Predmestiye, which means Trinity Suburb.
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Minsk, Belarus Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Minsk, Belarus City Hall in Minsk, Belarus

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2013
Hello folks,

Below is a picture of where I spent most of my day.



We left the hotel in Moscow at 7:30 this morning. It was still raining when we left Moscow. Within about 20 or 30 minutes we were out in the Russian countryside. There is nothing out there at all, just forests and empty fields. I deliberately stayed up late last night so I would be tired this morning so I could sleep on the bus. The plan worked, I slept through most of the morning drive. At noon we stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. About an hour after lunch we crossed the border between Russia and Belarus. We turned our clocks back an hour as we crossed the border.

Belarus is a police state and their leader is a dictator. It's still like Soviet times here. It was still another three hours drive to Minsk after we crossed the border. The total drive today was 734 kilometers. Sometimes it was raining and sometimes it was sunny. We got to Minsk at about 5:00. Minsk is a very clean, safe and modern city. On our way into town we made a photo stop at the monument on the Victory Square.



We're staying at a very nice hotel, the Hotel Europe.



We had a dinner of Chicken Kiev at the hotel tonight. After dinner I took a walk around the historic district across the street from the hotel.



The sun had just set. Nice cool temperature around 60. It had been raining here most of the day but it was now a nice evening.



It got dark during the course of my walk. The church in the foreground is the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.



Been a few days since I sent a Billie picture.



We are going to spend two nights here in Minsk.



Below is City Hall.



You are now up to date. Those night pictures were shot just moments ago.

Until tomorrow,

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.



MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2013:

Today we had a full day to explore the Belorussian capital city.
We walked over the bridge to the Island of Tears and viewed the Mother's of Sons Memorial.
We stopped at Independence Square, the largest square in Minsk.
The Belarus House of Government is located on the square.
Island of Tears and Mother's of Sons Memorial in Minsk, Belarus Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus Belarus House of Government in Minsk, with a statue of Vladimir Lenin in the foreground

We also visited the Saint Elisabeth Convent.
Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk, Belarus Saint Elisabeth Convent in Minsk, Belarus

The video below is 58 minutes long of my two days in Minsk.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2013
Happy Labor Day Everyone,

It wasn't Labor Day here in Belarus. It was the first day of school for the children of Belarus. We saw a couple groups of children when we were out and about today. They were very cute.



It was very nice this morning before the rain came in this afternoon. We had a sightseeing tour this morning. The first thing we did was take a walking tour through the historic district next to the hotel. This was the area I explored on my own last night. We walked over the bridge to the Island of tears.



After you cross the bridge you can see the memorial of "Mother's of sons" women who've lost their boys in the war in Afghanistan.



Next we visited Independence Square, the largest square in Minsk.



Below is a memorial to the Chernobyl disaster. The actual melt down occurred a couple hundred kilometers from here. But the people of Minsk suffered greatly from the nuclear fallout.



Below is the Belarus House of Government in Minsk, with a statue of Vladimir Lenin in the foreground.



We continued our drive around the city. Below is the Railway station square, an example of Stalinist Minsk.



Below is a picture of the new residence the evil dictator of this country is building for himself.



Next we visited Saint Elisabeth Convent.



We were lead around the convent by one of the nuns. It was very interesting to hear how they lived. This convent is only 14 years old and still being constructed. They are building the place on their own. They do not get, nor do they want any help from the communist government here.



We had a four hour break in the middle of the afternoon. I went to eat lunch at a McDonalds a block from the hotel. You wouldn't believe how busy this place was. I was in line for over 45 minutes. The rain came in after lunch so I took a little nap. Tonight we went to a privately owned homestead out in the country where we were served a dinner of sausage and potato pancakes. We were entertained by talented musicians. They also taught us how to do local dances. It was a fun evening.



Tomorrow we are leaving Minsk and moving on to another new country. I usually post a picture on facebook everyday, but facebook is blocked in this communist country so I can't do that.

Until tomorrow,

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.




Click on the arrow above to continue to my next stop, VILNIUS!

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