Rosemary and Eddie drove from the UK to Belarus in the Spring of 2005. Here, they recount the journey and reflect on the experience.

We took an early morning trip through the channel tunnel. The weather had changed for the best and we drove through the Low Countries laden with baggage, clothes and presents. We aimed to stay in Berlin, but the traffic was so bad due to an accident, that we decided to press on and arrived just before the Polish border at Frankfurt Oder in Germany, where we spent our first night.

Next day we drove through Poland to the Belarus border. It took 4 1/2 hours to clear customs and we found a hotel in Brest. The car was put into a secure car park at a cost of 30p, which is essential in Belarus.

We drove through Belarus. The roads were quite empty, very straight and in good condition, like driving on the M1 in the sixties. I kept checking the dash for those horrible red lights that you don't want to see and the temperature gauge. This was not a place to break down.

We reached our destination in the afternoon, Zhlobin. We saw a mass of tower blocks that Lesley had shown us from her trip, so we knew we were in the right place. They were not named but numbered, making it easy to find. We met Yura (2003), his sister Nadia and mother Elena. Then Kirill (2003) with his mother Natasha and father Andre came over. They, like most people in Zhlobin work at the local steel factory. Then Maxim (2003) and his mother came over and many presents were exchanged.

The next day, Andre drove us to Gomel. There was a very relaxed atmosphere here and as it was Sunday, many people were sunbathing along the river bank. We took a boat trip and visited a museum and the cathedral. The following day we took Yura and Kirill to Mogilev, where we met Katia (2004), her sister Pollina and their parents Vladmir and Helena. Mogilev is a beautiful city and we visited Katia's school, a museum and the zoo.

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