Sunday 11 September 2016
We have a free day today and there is the option to go to Dudutki – the Belarusian Museum of Folk Crafts. Although it sounds interesting, we ask what else there is to see in Minsk itself. Ieva says that she is going to do some sightseeing in Minsk and we are welcome to join her if we wish. Most of us do. We get to have a sleep-in and relaxing start to the day. We are supposed to check out of our rooms in the morning and leave our bags in reception as we are due to catch the overnight train to Moscow this evening. We have arranged to keep our room on so that Gill can rest before we go.
We set off via the Metro and walk to the War Memorial Museum via a poignant memorial to the Jews who were taken to this ‘pit’ and shot during the Nazi occupation. The War Memorial museum building is a magnificent monument and well worth visiting just to see it alone. Inside is a well curated exhibition of all manner of items to commemorate all those who died in the wars. There is also an exhibition of paintings from an artist who survived a concentration camp of memories from that harrowing time. Nearly 1.5 million Belarusians lost their lives during the Patriotic War 1941-45.
It is a Sunday and there are lots of young soldiers all around the museum with parents and girlfriends enjoying the warm weather, eating ice creams and looking around the museum. The city itself seems very quiet but we are told that many people will be out in the countryside having picnics etc to enjoy the last of the summer. We are spoilt with yet another beautiful day – it is 23C, and the city has a great feel to it with lots of great parks and wide open spaces.
We then catch a local bus to the local markets (and see lots of people outside selling a few items on the pavement) and to a self-service restaurant to have some lunch. Next we take another Metro ride out to the Belarusian National Library that is again a spectacular piece of architecture. We don’t visit the library per se but there is an observation tower of 23 floors that we can go up to get a view over the city; and there is a café where we get a drink.
The others are going to walk in the botanical gardens and maybe go to the city centre afterwards but Gill and I take the Metro back to the hotel for a rest and sort out our belongings. We meet the others for dinner nearby later on and then get ready to catch our train. There are 4 berths per cabin and Gill and I share with Dermot and Katie. We are all pretty tired and go to sleep very quickly once we figure out how to stow all our bags and get the bunks sorted.
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
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