Day 28: Minsk to Warsaw: This morning we travel through Brest, the first Soviet city destroyed in World War II, before crossing the Polish border for two nights at our hotel in Warsaw. (Breakfast and Dinner included)
Hotel: Hotel Kyriad Prestige
Breakfast: 8:30 Bus departs: 9:00
This morning I got my passport back, and was sad to discover that there was no Belarus Visa in it, for what they charge you would think they could actually put a stamp or something in it! Our first stop this morning was at Brest Fortress
, which has another nice memorial, in fact it was awarded the title of a “Hero-Fortress,” whatever that means. While walking around Lis, Jilly, and Brittany met
a Belarusian woman who told them how happy she was to see tourists in Belarus and that she hoped more people would visit, she was a nice, well educated woman (I ran into them on my way back to the bus and heard some of the conversation).
At 1:15 we arrived at the border, which we were warned would be the toughest border of the trip. At first we waited in the bus in the sun, which was a bit rough since it had gotten quite warm out, but fortunately we were allowed off the bus. Then they moved our bus to an area that had a canopy but we weren’t told we could get off the bus. Well the bus got really hot really fast and people got antsy. I swear it got hotter once people started to complain, the atmosphere on the bus quickly deteriorated as the temperature went up. Eventually some people took it upon themselves to get off the bus, which didn’t seem to cause us any delays. In the meantime Maggy was getting bribed for 2,000 Euros (The tour ahead of us had gotten bribed for 200 Euros at this border and Anna, from St. Petersburg, took care of it), she called Anna who took care of it, that would have really sucked! Finally at 4:30 we were out of Belarus and into Poland, with exit and entry stamps in our passports! And again we changed our watches back an hour.
Just after entering Poland I looked out the window and on the side of the road, which was down a little hill, there was a naked man walking around. Interesting… Then when we were in Warsaw if you looked out the left side of the bus (I was on the right side) there was a guy fondling the breast of a woman in the car with him, he apparently wasn’t being very discrete. Ahh, the joy of people.
We got to our hotel at 6:40 and this was by far the best hotel on the tour, actually the best I’ve stayed in on a Contiki Tour. Not only was it clean, technologically advanced for a hotel, but it was also tastefully decorated. Who couldn’t say good things about a place where you could listen to the TV in the bathroom! Before dinner Lis and I went around the corner to a bank to get ourselves some Zloty for our stay in Poland. Our dinner was delicious and dessert was a bowl of fruit, not just any fruit – freshly cut fruit and not cheap fruit, but a delicious variety of good fruits.
After dinner Lis, Jilly, Andy and I walked over to Central Station to use the internet. Did I mention that not only was the hotel great but also a short walk from Central Station, meaning it was actually in the city! I used the internet for about half an hour for 3 Zloty and had gotten emails from some of the girls from the Scandi half of the tour; it was nice to hear from them, they were doing well. We got back to the hotel a little before 11:00 and I decided to do some laundry before going to bed, ahhh clean clothes.