Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

in the dead of the night at Nezvizh

Posted by Hippobean at 11:59 PM
never did 2 separate tours back to back before. when the poland trip was over, i already felt tired. but it was just a little over a week, so why did i feel so exhausted. when i moved in with my luggage, Witalij came running to my room. 'good I see you. tomorrow is changed to 8:30 departure'. had i known i'd have a little more time in the morning, i would have stayed at the sheraton for bigger better room with amenities (ibis has no tea making facilities and only 1 bottle of water) and much grander bathroom and much much better breakfast. but no matter, i better start getting used to the lousy hotels, smaller rooms and poor breakfasts. it would have been ideal to begin with dismal soviet style belarus and end with luxury poland. but the timing was that poland had to happen first, so live like a queen first, then back to being a peasant.

after about 3 hours in the minivan, we crossed the border to belarus. the belarus female custom officer asked each of us a different question. mine was 'what's in there?' and pointed at my duffel. 'clothes' i said. what else would be in my luggage? 'alcohol?' did i look like i like to drink? then the currency nightmare began. belarus had just changed their currency by knocking out 4 zeros. so new and old notes were in circulation. for the exchange I got all 10 belarus rubble notes, new denomination. when i used one for a bottle of water, i got old notes back, 10,000 and 20,000, and 1000 and 500 which were not worth anything and that no one wanted. oh, and a bunch of coins which no one wanted either. thus began the never ending quest of getting rid of worthless notes and coins.

towards the end of the afternoon, we stopped to visit the Brest fortress, first off the list. The main entrance was under a 5 pointed star carved on a block. The fortress walls and barracks were in red brick. Then the monuments: an interesting sculpture, the Brest hero, signifying an angry Soviet combatant in front of a banner, the 100 meter Bayonet Obelisk in the shape of a cruciform bayonet, the St Nicholas Garrison church with an golden dome. the place was tranquil and I quite enjoyed the fortress.

then we drove and drove and drove and finally made it to nezvizh palace in the dark. had dinner in a dining hall inside the palace itself, with frescoes on the walls (but i think they were new). my choice was sausages with potato pancakes (thus started the never ending pancakes for dinner choices). the hotel was in a separate building inside the palace compound across a small courtyard from the palace itself. the front gates were shut at night. The room tho was big with a double bed and 1 single. we were on the 2nd floor, the ceiling and windows on it were slanted but through them one could still see the top of the palace walls, just across from the courtyard. unlike what was shown online, the palace itself was not illuminated at night. by 11PM when we finally finished our late dinner, the palace was quiet and dark. we had to walk back to the hotel in the dark using our cell phones light for guidance. i was out in the courtyard with my tea and wow, another memorable travel moment. quiet, peaceful and feeling glorious with the palace as backdrop.

Brest Fortress photos:



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