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Citation du moment
« Il n'y a pas de bonnes habitudes. L'habitude, c'est une façon de mourir sur place. »
Albert Quentin - Un singe en hiver


1 May 2014 | Minsk, Belarus


Belarus is not a country I had thought of visiting anytime: it's quite closed to foreigners (a 10 days visa costs 60€ plus all imaginable paperwork), omnipresent police, totalitarian political system... Not my cup of tea.
Nevertheless, these days the Ice Hockey World Championship is gonna happen there, and I had found out that if you are a hockey fan (i.e. you bought a 7€ ticket to any of the matches), you can enter the country visa-free! A sudden sign of openness that allows me, a sudden hockey fan, to sneak in and have a look.

My first stop is Minsk, the capital. Coming from Russia is easy: there is no border or any kind of control in between the two countries, I fall asleep in a truck in Russia and wake up in Belarus :-)
Minsk is quite an interesting city: it has been totally destroyed during the second war and rebuilt from scratch according to soviet/stalinist views of architecture. That makes it quite a cold city, with very large streets and huge soviet-style buildings. Everything is in order, the city is more than clean, it feels like if you throw an empty can someone will catch before it reaches the ground. For me who usually likes cities to be messy, and don't mind a bit of dirt, it's quite a shock!

But what contrasts most with Minsk's coldness is the warmth of its people. Belorussian people turn out to be amazing people. They are quite aware of their country's situation but just seem too nice to revolt. So at the end of the day, despite that Minsk is not a city I could feel comfortable in, I really enjoy the company and the time I spend there.