Our wake up call came at 6:15 and luggage had to be in the hall at 6:45. We go downstairs for breakfast. It was a buffet and we had a lot of options. This was the largest Holiday Inn I have ever stayed in. Bread pudding was on the buffet and those of you that have traveled with me before know how much I love bread pudding. It didn’t look like bread pudding, it looked more like fruit cake. I only took one bite.
Ilya reminded us that we would need 15 rubles for the WC at our first stop. Ilya has been very good about letting us know when we will stop.
We stopped at the Katyn Memorial site. This memorial was a double tragedy. The Russians killed over 22,000 Polish officers and civilians during the war and the Nazi’s massacred 500 Russian officers. Our guide told us how the Russians had denied their involvement for so long and the memorial was dedicated for both Poland and Russia.
We completed our Belarus visas on the way to Moscow. We can enter Belarus from Russia without our visa but we cannot check into a hotel or leave Belarus without our Visa, so we just keep driving. You see an almost instant change in the use of the land. The whole time we were in Russia we didn’t see any crops or cattle. We saw wheat fields, Holsteins and farm equipment, every field was golden, rolling hills. You might think you were in the heartland if it weren’t for all the trees.
We learned more history about Belarus and Russia as when we arrived in Minsk.
Julie is now writing – We had dinner at the hotel, and the food was just mediocre. I am ready to eat some Mexican food. I need protein! This hotel could not accommodate for three people in one room, so Joanne got her own room. Mom and I watched some Olympics before we went to bed. We saw a South African beat Michael Phelps. It was a good race and the South Africans on our trip were happy to get a gold. We have been watching the Olympics via European channels. Some people on our trio were a little upset that even though Phelps lost he was still interviewed. They were not happy that the Americans were getting all the attention. I reminded them this was a European station we were watching, not the US. I told them the US stations rarely interview people from other countries. I am a little irritated with the reporters saying that Phelps is not doing well. Hello! A silver and two golds is not bad at all!
Lynda and Julie