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Belarus


My first impression of Belarus: good roads. For the second time, I have entered a country without having a clue what the currency is worth. I tr... I've never seen all those bits of information on one sign before. A Belarusian village. Possibly a school. Belarus. I think there is a horse working in that field. It was the only one I saw today, although I did late... The green and yellow building almost hidden by the trees is a church. By the Eastern Orthodox crosse... There seems to be a fondness for buildings to be painted in varied but pale colours, like the shop o... A hotel. The town of Smarhon. I'm pretty sure that's Lenin, with the Belarusian flag behind. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office website said cash machines didn't exist in small towns in Belarus.... One of three churches which can be seen from where I'm standing. This is like when I was in Kaunas on a Saturday five years ago. It seems that everybody who gets mar... Another wedding party. And another. These ones came out of what I assume is the registry office just before the group in th... Yet another bride and groom. These ones seem to have managed to get away from their guests. Another church. The sign for the Hrodna Province, which I have just left. Whoever makes these brick effect wall panels is on to a good thing. Everybody seems to use them, eac... Two shelters in a roadside rest area. I like how the supports are whole sections of trees. This very long train took a while to pass. Farm machinery. I passed quite a few goats and cows tied up by the roadside. A war memorial. This is the town of Maladzecna, where there are more wedding parties. Here, the cars themselves seem... A hotel in Maladzecna. Maladzecna. Yet another bride and groom. In case you can't tell, the man crouching on the right is their photogr... I imagine that the man standing up and wearing the two sashes is something to do with one of the wed... Maladzecna. More pretty colours. Perhaps it's just today's bright sunlight which is making them seem so appealin... More coloured flats and a model windmill. I passed quite a few painted rocks like this one. Another village. This cycle lane seemed like a good place to eat my apple pies. I had to eat them both because they h... I wonder if there are really animals which look like that in these woods. A monument. In most countries, a rest area like this would just have picnic tables but in Belarus, it has proper... More roadside shelters. I don't understand it. Why would anyone want to go and sit up there? It's always an exciting moment on any trip when I first see my final destination on a sign. The name... Scenery. The shape of this cutting nicely framed that power station. A rowing lake. Trees. The Minsk Arena. Minsk. There must have been an event at the Arena this afternoon. All these people were swarming away to so... The shiny inside of a railway station. Minsk. Minsk. All I can understand from this is what the Russian word for "tomato" is. Minsk. My hotel. Today's ride just nicely fitted within the period of daylight. The view from my window. The curved building on the left is the Sports Palace, opened in 1966. A very long apartment block. The view in the morning. Statues near the Sports Palace. The Moscow Cinema. My hotel is the third of the big slab-like buildings. In the top right corner is the word "Solidarity" Minsk. Minsk. Minsk. This is what I've been looking for: restaurant number 67.<br><br>The McDonald's Corporation regarded... I got here just too late to try breakfast. The boards are just being rotated to show the burgers ins... The furniture isn't quite like any of the previous restaurants. Extra salt is optional here. Minsk. I don't know what the John Lenon shades on that sign mean. Minsk. Minsk. Minsk. The Parliament Building with a Lenin statue in front of it. I don't know what the glass domes are fo... This is a big one. The Church of St. Simon and St. Helena, finished in 1910 but closed in the 1930s and uses as a film ... Minsk. Minsk. I think that's meant to be a depiction of the London Houses of Parliament but it doesn't seem quite ... 68. Inside GUM, the state-run department store. It actually seemed to be a whole load of separate shops,... Upstairs in GUM. Minsk. Minsk. This is called the Palace of the Republic but I don't actually know what it is. I had read that this was the point from which all road distances in Belarus are measured but I found... Minsk. There are posters like the one on the left here all over the city. One had the dates 1067-2011 so th... These flags are everywhere too. The Circus building. Yanka Kupala Park. A monument to the Belarusian writer and poet Yanka Kupala. This was called a "Shake de France" It's got coffee in it, although I didn't realise that ... Minsk. A proper cycle lane marked through the park. It has yellow lines painted along the sides so I suppos... The River Svislac. There are places around here for hiring rowing boats and pedal boats. Minsk. I don't know why but somehow there seems to be something unnatural about the river. I can only see i... Minsk. Minsk. His friend is hiding in the darkness on top of the concrete arch. Minsk. Minsk. Approaching the hotel and Sports Palace again. There is a fair going on here. Some people are selling food ar drinks straight out of those lorries;... The traditional dance show went on for hours. I could hear it from my hotel room. Some spectators we... More people dancing. These stalls were all selling honey, and attracting bees. The clock here is counting down days until the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Minsk. Now I've got something else to worry about. I've just noticed these little cracks appearing on my wh... Talking on the Skype phone. Another version of this view, this time in the daytime but without looking into the Sun. Another view of this. Nuns. The queue at this walk-through window might give some idea how busy it was inside. It was absolute c... Flat-panel traffic lights. I have found the fruit pies to be a good snack to take on the road. However, it seemed that my pronu... On my way back to the hotel. I always ask for large drinks but somehow the second of this evening's ... On the side of the bus, it says "Miss Minsk 2011" That explains what's going on here then. Belarus, like Estonia, doesn't use coins, just notes. The biggest here is worth about 6, and the sm... Minsk sunrise. I wanted to set off at first light because today will be a very long ride and I'll ne... As promised, the Belarusian National Library. This road is getting quite narrow. It turned out that I had misread the map. I thought the narrow road crossed the railway here but it ... Sunlight streaming through the trees. There's a little hammer and sickle logo below the name of the town. Also, I keep seeing the top part... A poster for my knitting followers. It would have saved at least an hour if I had been allowed to use this motorway. Scenery. Farm vehicles bringing in the hay. I thought that concrete roads were normally made by just dropping big prefabricated slabs onto the g... One of many old wells I saw today. In one place, I did see a woman using a water pump opposite her h... I saw a few horse-drawn carts on the roads today. This section of road was a bit more basic than I had expected. On the whole though, Belarusian roads... It's not easy to ride in sand like this. Near where the table is in the bottom left are two pipes coming out of the hillside, with water pour... The sign seems to point to the grass. That's not where I'm riding. Here is my destination again, this time with a distance, and in Roman script. This is the same motor... There's a horse! Birds. Sunset. He doesn't look very pleased with all those flowers being there. Landscape with Moon. Another picture of the sunset. Orsha is a very dark city at night. Almost the only thing which is lit up is this restaurant in the ... At 244 km, or 152 miles, today was the longest day of this year's ride... ... and at 4889 km, or 3038 miles, it makes this year's trip longer than the distance which I covere... The view from my window, of the bins and the entrance to the sauna. The hotel. Some flats in Orsha. Orsha. Orsha. For days, I've been seeing people carrying buckets, often going into the woods. I think they are col... Orsha. Orsha. Orsha. Orsha. Here's some of what I'm missing. Orsha. Apparently, you can't use the phone in that bus stop. The Russian border. These buildings and checkpoints went on for several kilometres. I didn't actuall...