The country Belarus is the free spirit's ultimate destination. The best it has to offer all comes from its natural vistas and landscapes – mostly of open marshlands and forests. The country's made up of mostly flat lands and endless countrysides. Of course, its cities have much of art and history to offer too. We let Lomographer Amichay Tamar, a.k.a. tamat guide us to her biking trip last year in Paliesse (also known as Polesia in Russian) through her own words and pictures.
In August of 2018, I embarked on a once in a lifetime adventure biking 282km through swamps, fields, forests, sand and gravel roads in the Southern region of Belarus, Paliesse.
With no prior biking experience, we cycled through remote villages and towns to promote the movement that brought our team together in the first place: the United World Colleges. UWC is a world-changing educational movement that values multicultural learning in that young people, of different socio-economic backgrounds, are selected to live the mission of using education to unite people and work towards creating a peaceful and sustainable future. Our team of 6 UWC alumni hung posters on village libraries, schools, local shops, and cultural centers along our way in hopes of reaching out to young Belarussians in the remotest areas of Belarus and opening new opportunities for them.
The Polesia region is scattered with charming village houses within its picturesque landscapes. Visiting this area as a tourist, and leaving the comfort of the city walls, is incredible.
Biking with three local speakers made this into a unique experience as we were able to engage with the locals – most of which have never met foreigners before. The people we met on the way were incredibly kind and welcomed us with open arms. As in this secluded region, water is collected from wells, locals gladly refilled our water bottles.
Everyone just wanted to feed us, giving us fresh vegetables and fruit from their gardens that we almost couldn’t bike under the weight of food we were carrying. Every evening we would camp in the wild under the stars and cooked on a fire using pots we brought along and food from the locals. In one of the riversides where we camped, we met this little boy. He said his name is Misha, 5 years old and fishing with his dad.
Besides the beautiful Belarusian nature, which I think is the main treasure of the country, Minsk, along with other cities, is has beautiful architecture and a lot to keep young people entertained. Having only spent a short time in Minsk, I liked walking around and enjoying the good weather. An under the radar spot to visit is the red courtyard - tucked away from the public eye – yet totally worth finding.
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