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Minsk in April, Part Four: Sunday

May 12, 2014

Sunday after another leisurely breakfast in the hotel, my BBF (Belarusian Best Friend) came to pick me up for the day’s tour. We started at the Belarusian National History and Culture Museum (or maybe it was the National Museum of History & Culture, translations seem to vary), where we saw artifacts dating from very much B.C. to modern times. I enjoyed looking at the exhibits, of course, and I also quite liked the faux stained glass designs on the windows in the stairwells, as I think there are some quilt designs in them just waiting to be made.

Traditional woman's costume
Museum windows

After the museum, we drove to another part of town to walk around and see architecture and monuments and sculptures.

Movie poster
Manhole cover
Afghanistan memorial

A late lunch at a restaurant featuring Belarusian cuisine followed our walking tour, then we walked into Gorky Park to ride the giant Ferris wheel.

Ferris Wheel in Gorky Park

After the park, I felt like I’d taken up enough of my guide’s time, so I had her drop me back at the hotel. I didn’t stay there long, though, not wanting to waste the opportunity to do more exploring. I started by walking by the soccer stadium, which was quite near my hotel but screened from view by other buildings. From there, it wasn’t so very far to revisit Gorky Park, but this time I walked through it and out the other side near Victory Square (which is oval). I didn’t stop to see it then, though, because I wanted to get to the other big department store, TSUM. It was very similar to GUM from the day before, but still interesting to wander.

TSUM department store

There was a metro station very near TSUM, and I still had tokens, so I got on the train and headed back to Victory Square. It took me a couple tries to figure out which of the stairwells up from the tunnels would get me out into the square (it’s in the middle of a roundabout) but I managed.

Victory Square
Victory Square monument detail

I got back on the metro to head to the hotel to drop off the bags with the few things I’d bought during the afternoon, but again didn’t stay long. It looked like rain, so I borrowed an umbrella from the front desk and headed out again. I went to the underground mall one last time, then got on the metro again to go see the National Library do its Jumbotron thing. On the way back, I got off one metro stop before the one closest to the hotel just to soak up a little more atmosphere. At this point, I was wishing my trip were longer because I was really enjoying myself and knew there was so much I wasn’t going to be able to see.

Metro station decor
National Library at night

Next time: a little more working, a little more sightseeing, then home.

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