22 January 2011

Drive-By Art

Usually, the more we drive, the less pictures get taken. One of us is too busy driving and the other one of us has been lulled to sleep by the heated passenger seat and the light bouncing off of snow. Stopping abruptly to take a picture also happens to be a terrible idea on a highway. In Belarus, though, things have been different. Since our GPS doesn't work here, I'm kept awake by the task of navigating and there are barely any cars on the highways. Taking pictures of bus stop after bus stop was only the beginning.
This road stop/inn provided us with two warm bowls of soup and an outdoor gallery of kitsch. The lawn was absolutely filled with wood carvings and statues. Castles, Goldilocks and the three bears, a moose. It felt like a miniature golf course, covered in snow.
I just love how a place like this, that obviously caters to a trucker crowd, still has such a cutesy, kitschy demeanor. Though, every truck we've passed on the road has had a line of stuffed animals on their dashboard or a row of tiny flags or fabric flowers hanging across the top of their front window. So, I'm sure they appreciate it.
This is another tavern, next to a gas station. So much care seems to be taken to make things looks cheerful. No matter how many places like this we pass, they still strike me as surprising, heartwarming and sort of funny every time.
Every so often, we've passed a mushroom. It looks exactly the same every time and soon, we realized that they would pop up about the same time as a sign for a WC. Merlin correctly surmised that the mushrooms were the WCs.

As you may expect, they were far less adorable from the other side.
Then, there are the times when you're making a u-turn on the highway and get a glimpse of a church that looks like this. Painted and carved wood at its most beautiful. These are the moments when you feel lucky enough to be able to stop, roll down the window, point, aim and click without a car honking or rear-ending you. These are the moments that we go, "Wow. We're in Belarus."

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