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frenchfrog Orsha - A travel report by Isabelle
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Orsha,  Belarus - flag Belarus -  Vitsyebskaya Voblasts'
4655 readers

frenchfrog's travel reports

Orsha, a stop on the way to Russia by train.

  24 votes
Belarus is a vast steppe with a railway line cutting through it. It is the shortest route between the Polish border and Moscow.
Orsha is an important railway junction along the Minsk-Moscow line.



The Berlin-Moscow train arriving in Orsha station.
The Berlin-Moscow train arriving in Orsha station.
Orsha is a city in the North East of Belarus, a city of around 122000 habitants. It is a port at the confluence of the Dnieper and Orshitta rivers. One of Belarus's leading rail and water transport junctions and industial centres, Orsha is the starting point of shipping on the Dnieper. The city's industries include machine building, metalworking, food processing, and the production of tools and linen.

Favourite spots:
View of the train from the platform in Orsha.
View of the train from the platform in Orsha.
I arrived at 12.30 pm local time by train from Berlin, having spend two nights on board already. By that time I had run out of water and food, so I was desperate! The railway station is the jewel in the crown, one of Orsha's best establishments. It is very clean and modern. There are a few shops inside as well as a restaurant which is well signposted on the first floor. The restaurant is very clean with marble floors and wood pannelled walls. It was splendid! Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside.

What's really great:
The fruit stall at the  local market.
The fruit stall at the local market.
Dimitri, my wagon manager, caught up with me and I asked me if I needed his help. As I was the only non Russian of the carriage, he took great care of me. (It was like having a second dad!). I gave him a few dollars so he could buy me food for later. Later he took me to the local market. There were a few stalls selling bread and tinned food, however the fruit stall had hardly anything, only a few bananas, tomatoes, avocados, some grapes and a handful of oranges. I knew that the country was very poor, but I was told that for most of the locals buying a bunch of bananas will be equivalent to a week's wages. I felt guilty having taken everything for granted in Western Europe. I bought some apples to a local woman on the way out , $1 for 5 apples!

Sights:
The old steam engine at orsha railway station.
The old steam engine at orsha railway station.
There was a display of an old steam engine next to one of the platforms in Orsha station, it is a must-see for train fanatics, worth a look for the others. The engine was bearing the communist Red Star at the front. It was very well restored and it is in top condition. It is not running however as it is stuck in block of cement.

Accommodations:
A local wooden cottage.
A local wooden cottage.
Well, I did not spend an overnight in Orsha, but I am sure that there must a hotel somewhere.
I carried on later on my own. I walked through a street where there were some really nice wooden cottages. They were really lovely.
Some of the cottages were really well cared for, but some others were about to fall over.
That was the traditional accomodation of this area. However most of them do not have lavatories and some don't even have running water.

Nightlife:
The local police cars on on od the platform next the station building.
The local police cars on on od the platform next the station building.
I don't know if the city has night clubs. I am sorry I did not ask!
Most of the youths hang out by the railway station in the dark hours.

Hangouts:
The local cafe.
The local cafe.
There is a nice cafe next to the train station where you can also buy basic goods, such as bread, chocolate, cigarettes (not for me, thanks), batteries ...

Restaurants:
An old wooden cottage
An old wooden cottage
As I mentioned before there was a lovely restaurant situated on the first floor of the train station. They offer good food, mainly soups, pork and lamb dishes. The prices were extremly cheap compared to western prices. A good meal will cost you only $2.

Other recommendations:
Church next to the station.
Church next to the station.
My stop in Orsha station was 278 minutes to be precise. The amount of time that the train stopped was displayed in minutes on the train timetable for each stop. Sadly I did not have time to see anything else.

To enter Belarus, you will need a Russian visa which will enable you to obtain a transit visa which will be valid for three days.
If you intend to stay longer you must have a letter of invitation provided by a local company prior arriving to the country. They do not issue visas on arrival. If you don't have one, you will be sent back!

Published on Tuesday January 17th, 2006


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Mon, Feb 12 2007 - 02:55 PM rating by travler

I enjoyed reading this informative report.

Sun, Mar 12 2006 - 01:57 PM rating by marianne

Very informative for a 278 minute stay
Marianne

Sat, Jan 21 2006 - 11:53 AM rating by magsalex

Just to prove that you don't need to be somewhere for a week to do a good report!! Thanks for this informative piece.

Fri, Jan 20 2006 - 03:55 PM rating by karden

Good report as for 278 minutes stop! I wounder what report you would write if you had more time!
Thanks,Darya

Thu, Jan 19 2006 - 05:22 AM rating by ardelia

I feel like going there right away after reading your report. How I wish I live somewhere near Europe..As for now, I am stuck here in Malaysia with nowhere to go.

Ardelia

Thu, Jan 19 2006 - 01:59 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii isabelle ,
very nice and beautiful report
ravi

Wed, Jan 18 2006 - 02:16 PM rating by davidx

Rudy has said what I meant to say. Most informative.

Tue, Jan 17 2006 - 07:07 PM rating by rangutan

This is an area of Europe still to be opened to tourism, so thanks Isabelle for this special and valuable info. Brief but great report, superb pictures. Members should note how even a short stop can lead to an interesting and informative **** report

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