Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

wasted morning and attitude in the afternoon - Vitebsk

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:31 PM

free morning to do minsk site seeing. but there wasnt anything in particular that I'd like to see in minsk. besides, places didnt open till 10 and we're supposed to leave for Vitebsk at noon, so there wasnt even enough time to visit a museum. on top of it, i didnt want to manage the metro where no one spoke english and taxiing back and forth would cost a fortune. so i remained in the area, walked around a bit (strange that in soviet culture, the shops even though were open, do not open their doors and from the outside, everything looked dark as if the store wasnt open at all but all one needed to do was to push open the door to get into the shop) and had a cup of tea at a coffeeshop next to the hotel with J, while others metro'd out to the city center. had I knew they went shopping at Gum, i'd have gone. but i simply didnt want to have a rush morning. just felt like taking it easy and relax a bit. dunno why i felt so tired on this trip. So much for free time in minsk.

after a long drive, we reached our Vitebsk hotel, another soviet remnant. our local guide was upset since we arrived late. She threw her binder and collapsed on the sofa in an exagerated manner to show how upset she was by waiting for us for so long. we were half an hour late. then she had to wait yet another 10 minutes for us to check in. it was past 5 when we finally commenced our walking tour. because we were late, our TL rushed her a bit but she said 'but there's so much to see' and sighed loudly. So we were late and didnt want to waste time listening to her never ending speech about every nook and piece of brick. we were tired of the long journey and hungry and had no patience nor energy to learn about every insignificant piece of wood or painting and who was so and so, and certainly we didnt need to put up with her attitude. she's the worst pre-madona local guide we've ever had. took us to the summer amphitheater and just a few of us got off the bus to photograph the modern glass cover. She finally released us at 7:30 when she ran out of steam and speech.

Vitebsk, the second most ancient city in Belarus tho was truly a nice city, straddling 2 rivers and close to the russian border. the city's history was painted on a wall by the dvina river. The city was mainly rebuilt so everything, including the town hall, looked new, rebuilt on the same spot where once the old buildings stood. the Holy Assumption Church, a gorgeous white structure on the hill, offered panoramic views of the city below with a view of the gorgeous kirov steel bridge over the river. a statue of Alexander Nevsky with his family stood next to the Annunciation church. the church dedicated to him was a small but pretty wooden structure. the city even had a statue of pushkin! The cobblestoned street off the main square had a few cafes and shops. The world renounced summer amphitheater, the main venue of the International Festival of Arts “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk”, had an unique glass cover, a gorgeous modern architecture. Vitebsk even boasted the perhaps only remaining KGB headquarters housed in a beautiful yellow building, in what used to be a royal palace. across the tiny garden was the Chagall Gallery. so yes, maybe our local guide was right. there was a lot to see in Vitebsk. It was one of my favorite visited places in Belarus.

Witalij took us to another supermall for ready made food for dinner. not sure if it was a blessing or curse. it saved us time and we could look and point at what we wanted instead of sitting down waiting for slow service. but again he only gave us half hour to eat. we had to bargain for an extra 15 minutes. i needed time to eat and get a cup of tea afterwards. back at the soviet hotel, my room was at the 12th floor with good views. since we finally got an early night, i joined the group for drinks at the hotel minuscule bar. soviet hotels, huge reception with empty areas, tiny bar with only 2 tables. what were they thinking.

Vitebsk photos:

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