Tour "From The Baltic To The Black Sea" Report - Brest, Belarus 17July 2005
John Dennis Clark III
BalticCycle has been in Belarus about 10 days now. Here are some general observation about Belarus gathered from several cyclists. All trucks are military green. English is spoken in the major cities but unkown in the coutryside. Beer has a strange taste, cheap, not often cold. Few bicycles, only single gears, mainly for village use. When we pass with our bikes people stop in their tracks and stare.
The well built and maintained roads are wonderfully free of cars. We see no cars in driveways, everyones enjoys walking or cylcing. Shops have basic commodities only, using the Russian method of point-and-shout shopping. No restaurants outside the main cities. Restaurants have punishingly high prices. No coins only paper money. All of the people are friendly and very helpful. We have seen no beggars and only a few drunks. Houses freshly painted surrounded by new, painted fences. All fields are in crop. Absolutely no litter.
The orgainzation of the Belarus tour has been well done with good maps and an active program of museums, monuments and historic sites. Presently 15 riders.
We road through the National Park which is also the summer resort for the president of Belarus. We were guided (guarded) by an unsmiling, unfriendly slim athelitic man. We took photos at the entrance to the summer resort but were not allowed to enter this section of the forest. This location is where the Soviet Union was dissolved by Yeltson and representives of Belarus and Ukraine.
Tomorrow we enter Ukraine.