01 February 2011

Sleeping in Soviet Style

We stayed in some pretty interesting places in Belarus. This was a state hotel hallway in the gloomy town of Nesvizh. We stopped into a building that we thought was a tourist office, but turned out to be some kind of Ministry of Information (apparently a different thing). The woman there was loud and frustrated with us - eventually she called her teenaged daughter and yelled at her to take us to the hotel. We ended up staying for only one night because it was rather mildewy and sad. The colors in the hallway were great.
We stayed in a few rented apartments because they're cheap and they have kitchens. It's fun to see how they're set up. One thing all Russian and Belarusian homes seem to have in common: tiny pictures hung very high up on the wall. This was our kitchen in Brest.
We stayed at a ski resort (but didn't ski) in Logoisk, which was a strange experience. There weren't many people at the resort, and those that were had a decided air of privilege and wealth, which was unusual in Belarus. The resort is owned, of course, by the government. We were surprised by the hours it kept - there was night skiing until quite late, but the lifts didn't start running until about eleven o'clock in the morning.
This is a smoke detector, we think.
This is the apartment we stayed in in Minsk, right in the heart of the city. Most hotels here are state run, and the prices can be absurdly high, which was another reason we looked for apartments. It was nice to have our own little space in the big city, with a supermarket close by and a nice view of Lenina avenue. Also, it was nice not to have to deal with rude and scary hotel staff - they are government jobs, and checking in can be a little like going to the DMV.
This was our kitchen in Minsk. Yes, all the rooms were color coordinated. The bedroom was orange, the kitchen was blue, the bathroom was green (very green).
Something we saw more than once: more elevator buttons than floors. This hotel had four floors and eighteen buttons. Our apartment building in Minsk had five floors and eighteen buttons. We usually took the stairs.
This was the first place we stayed, in Polotsk. I loved this cupboard thing. We were suspicious, often, that we were being put in bugged rooms. In this hotel, the receptionist told us that she only had rooms with two beds. After looking at our passports, she put us in a room a little separate from the rest, at the end of the hall, with one bed. Think that's really far fetched? Well, they still refer to the police as the KGB.


  1. You'll be surprised, but then you have a smoke detector that is actually a very old single-channel radio from soviet age :)

  2. that's awesome, thanks! we took our best guess: )