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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Horsing Around Moldova

He picked us up directly from the bus station driving a white Lada matchbox that he referred to as his “Russian Jeep.” He hesitated, first, in front of the автостанция entrance, then hummed up, presumably when he noticed the lime green hiker’s pack. He offered a serious smile when we got in the car, then stoicism. I joked about the little red-and-black flag above the air conditioning unit: “Batman?” No, he replied; the bat silhouette was the symbol of his army unit.

RanchSign

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