– Just about to leave Grodno for Minsk! It’s gonna be about a four-hour trip and looking forward to getting there and celebrating New Year’s Eve with my buddy Rémy so it was crazy night last night but ready to go for another one and let’s see what happens on the bus! So how did I find myself in an obscure Western Belarusian town without a visa? Well it all started a few weeks earlier when i made the fateful decision to allow a friend to decide our destination for New Year’s Eve. Rémy, where are we going for New Year’s Eve?
– Me, I think we should eastwards. Take your compass and we will look to the east.
What would you think if we went to the last dictatorship in Europe according to Western media, that means Minsk in Belarus? – And you know that we need a visa to go there?
And that’s messy! – That’s true that it’s a mess! – It’s more complicated for a European to get a visa to go to Belarus than it is for a Belarusian to get a visa to come to Schengen! No wonder Belarus is the country with the least number of tourists per capita in all of Europe. There are just so many alternatives to go to be visa free. Why go to Belarus? – Here in Switzerland or in the French or British media, we say a lot of bad things about Belarus. We speak about Belarus as a state that is 25 years behind in terms of infrastructure. A state that is not capitalist but still communist. I would like to go and see another version of the story – Belarusian embassy … – I’ve decided that I’m not going to go through the visa process to go to Belarus, the formal visa process because it’s a pain and there is a fact an alternative and so I’m going to be showing you how you can go to Belarus as a European without a visa. By now it’s Christmas time which I’m spending in Galway, Ireland and I’ll have to take a circuitous route to Belarus in order to avoid my visa. So my attempt to avoid the Belarusian visa means leaving Galway, Ireland for Dublin Airport then flying to Warsaw in Poland before taking a train to Białystok on the Belarusian border. Then the following day I’m going to enter Belarus with an invitation to visit the border town Grodno only which is valid for five days visa-free. Now Minsk is then another four-hour bus ride to the east as I can only enter and exit with this invitation by vehicle at four border crossings with Poland and Lithuania, I have to return the Grodno and then exit heading for Vilnius in Lithuania from where I can get a flight to my next destination: Odessa, Ukraine. So this is how my day begins let’s go to Belarus! [You can now start to feel at home in Białystok] Am going all the way from Galway on the west coast of Ireland to Grodno! So here we have an honesty box where you can pay for the water. You just leave the money. There’s no actual cashier so what you think would this work in every country or not? So I’ve finally made it to eastern Poland,
in Białystok and going to stay overnight before hitting the bus tomorrow and finally making it to western Belarus. – … in addition the Belarusian girls that we find absolutely fantastic, really pretty etc. All of them we can say … I am a huge fan of Stalinist architecture …. I’m just about to leave Grodno for Minsk. It’s gonna be about a four-hour trip … looking forward to getting there and celebrating New Year’s Eve … … every apartment in Minsk should have a dancing pole! We’ll see who’ll be dancing on that later with a view on to … So Happy New Year to everybody! Happy New Year! [French] – Happy New Year to everyone!
– Happy New Year! [Italian] Happy New Year! [Russian] – … all the time. Such words our youth have to say … – Hello! Yes, right … my friend … ok … Rémy, what’s up? You’re live!
You should say ‘hi’ to everyone! – A joyful new year to everyone! Happy New Year! I hope you it will be excellent and full of emotion. Enjoy it! – So now back in Grodno which is the town to which I was originally invited in western Belarus. Now I got the invitation to go to the museum of this Polish language author. So behind me there is my bus to leave Belarus, to leave Grodno and it’s been a real long trip in terms of traveling but let’s see how things go on the last …
on the border Was this all worth it? Is it that different say to maybe Ukraine Russia? It is a bit different. It was very clean. Things were very well organized in terms of infrastructure. Everything was orderly. It was quite pleasant to be there … not very stressful and people actually a bit more respectful towards each other than I’ve seen and say other countries in the region like Russia and Ukraine. Another interesting thing about Belarus was the language situation because they actually have two official languages, one being Russian of course which is spokem everywhere by everybody and then Belarusian which is spoken by a minority in the country even though the country’s called Belarus and I saw it written everywhere, actually on all the buses, signposts and it’s very similar to Ukrainian especially the alphabet they use. It reminded me of Ireland because there we also have two languages we have Irish and we have English so Belarus was pretty similar. I did hear Belarusian just once in Grodno. So after all my moaning about this incredible effort it takes to get a Belarusian visa, ironies of ironies today really really today President Lukashenko has announced that you can go for five days visa-free directly to Minsk Airport. And why couldn’t he have done that two weeks ago? It would have saved this entire trip but at least that’s good news for the future that you can go in and out of Minsk Airport and stay for 5 days visa-free so who knows maybe even Lukashenko heard all my moaning about how much hassle it was to go and do this Belarusian visa and all the efforts I had to take – one week of travel – just to get there that he decided this made a lot more sense which I thoroughly agree with! You should sign up for my mailing list if you’re not on it. That’s … there’s also another link to that below in the description. That’s because T have an inner circle there where we discuss these issues in greater detail and need to be on the mailing list to sign up for that. I also have some additional bonus videos there and of course it’s completely free so what are you waiting for go to that now! So it’s going to be ‘до свидания!’ which is ‘goodbye’ in Russian from Odessa, Ukraine and see you in the next video!