To Belarus, to Minsk: Diamond City, Cultural Capital

For those looking for a break from the burbling streets of Paris or the boggled-eyed sightseers of Barcelona – Minsk is not a tourist city!IMG_1065

Belarus is one of those places that Western countries have reputed to be closed, repressed (the US stamped it an “outpost of tyranny” in 2005), and inaccessible for its travel restrictions.

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Taking the Train: Moldova to Belarus

It turns out it’s not so hard to get into Belarus, Europe’s alleged last dictatorship – but if you want an experience, rather than the standard ease of the airport, you’ll need to be prepared for a little extra effort. 

Over the holidays, my partner and I traveled from Chisinau, Moldova by train to Minsk, Belarus. We left on Christmas, at 10:14 pm, and would arrive in Minsk at 11:30 pm the next day.

The wheels on that train slandered the tracks, tossing staccato insults: “Too rough, unstable, rusted, unreliable.” They ignored their own precarious skid, took no accountability for their work. The ugly but necessary partnership was a painful love affair: wandering wheels rogue, abusing semi-stable tracks for a common goal. Both, it seemed, suffered from age and over-use.

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