As we cleared the ring road around Minsk it meant that the journey was starting. We said goodbye to our bike escorts and to the runners we picked up along the way.
But it would not be long till we would meet another man in the street. He looked sporty and was wearing a football jersey. We made conversation and slowly realized that he did not speak Russian or English. He spoke french and was from the Ivory Coast.
I have no idea what he thought about us, because it was impossible to explain to him what we were doing. Looking back I only wish that I would have found out what he was doing on the outskirts of Belarus coming from the Ivory Coast speaking no Russian. I was having my own problems getting by in English.
Eventually we left our mate and plodded along, and it was time to take a small break and I wanted to check out my first shop or in russian “magizin.”
Local shops are always fascinating to see what products they are selling. They are like a tiny window into a different culture.
Normally I am not a big soda drinker but hey we were now at the half marathon point. I had burned close to a couple of thousand calories so I wanted a cold coke.
But I would slowly learn that in Belarus the beer goes in the fridge before the coke. You can get some sort of Coke product but it only came in 1 l containers and this was slightly to much for me.
So I guess the health gods were looking out for me because they took that temptation away.
For me every turn was a new experience. The one thing I really could not picture before this adventure was the roads. In one of my first conversations with a women in a Facebook group, not only did she tell me that I may get thrown in jail, but that I may also get killed by the drivers on the road.
I later figured out she was trying to scare me, but still I had no idea what to expect from the roads. The whole day we had been on bike paths that were so wide while leaving Minsk you could have landed a plane on them.
But now we were on the outskirts and the sidewalks disappeared. The main drag slowly just morphed into small country roads, that were relatively quiet and they all had sufficient shoulders. If this was the way the rest of the trip would be, then this was one stress I no longer needed to think about.
Now we were out of Minsk and really on the road so stay tuned for what happens on our first night after everyone went home and it was just me and the bearded runner!