January 2019 – My friend Marie came to Belarus to visit me for a week. We decided to go on an adventure on the West side of the country, to visit Grodno. It was a very interesting visit for us both as it was the first (and only so far) time I went there. It was quite (quite meaning really in this case) cold which was a bit painful for our hands, especially when we were trying to take pictures, but I have to say the landscape was worth it : half happy-in-winterland, half the-end-of-the-world-is-coming. My favourite. No wonder why I love Eastern Europe.
I love churches, and I love worship places in general. When I go on holidays with my friends I usually go « churching » which is really annoying for everyone but me. Usually, after one or two places, they get tired of it and leave me behind. I’m sorry! It’s stronger than me! And in Grodno, I was very happy because… There are a lot of churches! And of different kinds : Orthodox church, Catholic church, Protestant Church… Even a Synagogue (which is under reconstruction, but the rabbi allowed us to visit it, even late at night) (how nice) (okay we may had to contribute financially too) (but still). I was able to tell Marie, look, it’s another type of church. So we have to visit it. Anyway, there is not so much else to visit in Grodno on a 12th January. And there is no wind inside. So…
While visiting so many churches – and the Synagogue – came a time when Marie and I got thirsty, hungry and, therefore, a bit angry too. We decided to explore a bit of the city as well and ultimately found the best place to have a lunch break in Grodno. This place is called Nesterka, it’s vegan (we are not vegan but vegan places usually mean good food and young and trendy atmosphere) and it is located inside one of the strangest building of the city : the Opera.
The dear Lenin
Alright, alright, not so dear, but still, he is in every Belarusian city, right on the main square, leading us towards the what-would-have-been-very-grey-future. How not to get attached to him? Just to be clear, I’m not nostalgic of Lenin himself. But I do enjoy the statues though. It’s like Belarus is in another time-zone, another part of the Universe, which makes it really interesting. Anyway.
I really hope you enjoyed this little virtual trip to Grodno. Marie and I spent there only one day but we actually had time to visit more or less everything. It was a tiring day though (meaning even if you can visit everything in one day, it’s better to stay a bit more, of course). I love winter and those snowy landscapes (I’ll add a couple more photos that couldn’t really fit in any of the previous chapter), but there is a lot more things happening in the summer obviously, which is actually true for all the cities in Belarus and maybe in the world. I didn’t mention it but there is also an old castle, and a « new old castle » – yeah, it’s funny, ask the locals – that you can maybe visit now but were still under construction last year.
No my friend, I didn’t forget you! Thank you dear Aleksander for being our dear guide, showing us around all day long in the cold, and thank you to your friends for welcoming us and making us try some Russian « cocktails » (what is the name again?). We had a lovely day, a lovely evening, and a very difficult next morning 🙂