Belarus Is A Ripe Apple Ready To Be Plucked By Travelers
I spent the best part of my early years at my grandmother’s village settled right beneath the bridge of the main international railway in Portugal. I was amazed by trains, wondering about the passengers and where they were heading to, and I always had that urge to jump on the first train departing, no matter its destination.
A few years ago, I decided to make it happen – on a train ride to Belarus. What I discovered was an apple, standing there, just waiting to be plucked and savored. This was my first time in Belarus. In 2016, before the visa-free regime and the new rouble.
I decided to add Belarus to the end of a railway ride that started in Moldova, taking me to the Black Sea, and then across Ukraine. My entry point to the country was the railway border between Zabalottya (Ukraine) and Brest.
It took close to two hours for my Portuguese passport to be validated by some superior authority. During that time, I sat on a bench looking for a train full of people waiting for me to board.
The trip resumed, and we approached Sušytnica station where I would “check-in” to Belarus.
I had all my paperwork ready: passport, invitation letter and insurance. The Belarusian border patrol gets into the train, everybody seats waiting for their turn. Equipped with a portable reader for electronic passports – it actually was the first time my passport was “electronically” processed.