Monday, August 4, 2014

Braslav Lakes Region

We kept hearing about how beautiful it is near Braslav, but never got ambitious about visiting until this week. After a week of hot weather and facing another overheated week, I found a website summarizing resorts around the Braslav Lakes and urged Alla to look for somebody who had a cancellation or any little gap in occupancy. On her first call she lucked onto Natasha.

Natasha owns or manages several properties, but couldn't offer any vacancies in the near future. Fortunately for us, however, they hit it off somehow in the course of conversation and Natasha offered us a bedroom in her own house. We took her up on it, and booked a ride in a minibus leaving the next day at noon. That morning Alla began to panic. She had booked us a stay with we-don't-know-whom in unknown circumstances in a remote village. Would we be bored to death? Starved to death? Wasting away scorched in the sun? Grossly disappointed? I tried to reassure her. Surely somebody in the village would have some kind of food to sell us. And if we hate it, we can always go back to Minsk.

As it turns out, the worst thing about this adventure will be the fact that we must at some point leave. Natasha and Viktor are generous, gregarious and interesting hosts. Their place is simply heavenly. And I can only describe the region as idyllic. (Though the grocery selection is, in fact, limited and it helps to have local connections.)

This morning I went out to the garden for my customary quiet time before starting the day. I sat in a comfortable hanging chair surrounded by flowers and fresh air. A flock of little birds chirped in the tree overhead and the family cat curled up at my feet. Bugs buzzed, cows mooed and a warm breeze trickled over my body. I thought of the swimming hole in the river behind me and the watermelon in the kitchen. I already didn't want to go home.

Today we aren't going too far, content to read, converse, swim and explore locally. Tomorrow our kind hosts promise to show is around in their car. We're definitely not going back when we said we would. We're got way too much swimming and sightseeing to accomplish.

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