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Theoretical Belarus, Poland Expediton

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Jan 15th, 2016, 09:22 PM
  #1
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Theoretical Belarus, Poland Expediton

Our family is considering visiting Belarus to visit the towns of our ancestors. We will be at least 8 people from a different households and we are all experienced travelers including the kids.

We also want to visit Krakow, as many of us have been there and liked the city and then Lobzenica, near Poznan for additional genealogical exploration.

We will need a guides that speaks English in both countries, except Krakow, who can even help us look through records. We have read some material on Belarus, but please let us know your experiences and impressions. It seems that bribery still exists. That the cuisine seems limited. And none of us have been in Poland for twenty years, so any comparisons to today would useful.

Thank you in advance for answers to these open ended questions. We will continue to do our travel and genealogical homework and the earliest the trip will be is summer 2017.
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Jan 15th, 2016, 11:05 PM
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Dzien Dobry.
Poland is to be considered as a western country now.
Infrastructure is ok, people are nice, inustry is developing if not booming.
I go to Poland once a year at least since 10 years.
Was in Krakow some months ago - very lovely - compare it to Prague. thanks is Dzien Kuye - you're all set, you'll find they speak enough english anyway.

Beer is said 'Pivo' -

Bealrus is still a dictatorship, bribes etc do exist - or at least it was so 7 years ago when I was in contact with them. We couldn't finalize the deal due to these difficulties among others (I didn't go but was heavily involved ).
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Jan 16th, 2016, 07:43 AM
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Thanks Whathello
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Jan 16th, 2016, 10:51 AM
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Just out of curiosity, which town in Belarus? My great-grandfather came to the United States from Bobruysk as a teenager, and in the 87 years that he spent here I don't think he expressed much of a desire to go back there.
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Jan 16th, 2016, 11:03 AM
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My son has just come back from Minsk. I haven't had a chance yet to ask what he thought of it.

He was doing TV coverage of the skating championships there. Normally he would have codriven one of the mobile studios there as well, but for Minsk they used a specialist team who have experience of the Belarus border formalities, and probably bribes.

He is off to Moscow tomorrow, so I probably can't ask him for a few days now but if no one else chips in with experience I'll find out what he thught of it all (apart from it being extremely cold there that is) asap for you.

I know getting a visa took a while, even with his company organiing it all.
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Jan 16th, 2016, 11:15 AM
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A little info www.inyourpocket.com/minsk and www.inyourpocket.com/krakow
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Jan 16th, 2016, 11:38 AM
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IDH

As you know, my travels through all of Eastern and Central Europe covered a lot of ground over several decades. Belarus was last visited in '08 when Roz was still OK...
Poland a year before that and I exchanged some travel tips with you on your ancestral "Poylishe heim"... Belarus, where we explored Roz's mom's birth village (Domachevo) is decidedly third world IMO. At the time there seemed to be a slow move toward upgrading. I will be in touch. Count on it.
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Jan 16th, 2016, 07:35 PM
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Thank you all.

My grandmothers came from small towns near Minsk and what was Pinsk. My cousin wants to visit his ancestors from his other side of the family and I forgot the name of the town. Our common ancestors are from Lobzenica but when it was called Lobsens and was part of Germany.

We still have to do a bit more genealogical research before we go.

We realize this will be a trip with, at times, limited amenities and language barriers. My cousin has traveled and worked all over the world and understands the problems. His wife and kids are also world travelers and adventurous. We have been to a number of countries where there lack of conveniences and dangers.

We will fully warn those others who wish to join us that, at times, creature comforts, food choices, and government intrusions may not be what they are used to.

Stu-I dropped you a note. Thanks.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 03:23 AM
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Finally got to talk to my son, in between trips.
He has been to Russia several times,and always enjoys it. He goes again next week.
Belarus he found very different, he described it as odd. Of course he was there for Orthodox Christmas which may have affected things. Food was better than expected, but probably because of Christmas. the restaurant was full of people in suits and Sunday best.
The drivers of the truck had to pay bribes at the border in and out, and four times to police at random stops. My son wondered if they would face a similar thing, but he at least had no problems. He would go back, but not in a hurry, and only for work, unlike Russia where he would take his family.

Not much help to you I know but at least I remembered to ask him and report back .
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Jan 27th, 2016, 05:52 AM
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Thank you for asking your son. All information is instructive.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 03:17 PM
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I have been to Minsk.

Belarus is a dictatorship and it is third world. Minsk is a civilized city, with soviet-style boulevards and department stores and theatres, but the countryside is very basic. The villages are made of huts with dirt roads where you walk knee-deep in mud (in summer).

When I was there, we were provide with English-speaking guides/interpreters who worked at the University. They were well-educated and well-behaved (and wanted us to show them a way to escape their country and make a living in the west).

I learned a lot from these interpreters. But when I dealt with officials (up to the rank of ministers) the experiences were, umph, special, to say the least. Certainly a country which is full of traps of all kinds and you might find yourself easily in jail if you say something wrong or act without sufficient consideration. Certainly not a country for tourism travels.

If you are eager to visit the home village of your ancestors try to find a trustworthy person with academic education in Minsk. You will not find professional guides like in other countries and if you find them they are not trustworthy.

Use academic contacts to find a person or social networks.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 03:19 PM
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Thank you traveler for that valuable insight.
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Feb 28th, 2017, 12:30 PM
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Wow!
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