Travel “Brest – Volhynia – Galicia”: what, where, when?
Having left habitually from Grodno to Brest and blabbed all night (exactly 12 hours) between Grodno, Gomel and Brest, since the train was, actually, to Gomel – that is, in the opposite direction, and only our carriage to Brest, I the next morning arrived in May, blooming, southern, sunny Brest (as it is called in Belarusian). In order to devote the whole day to a walk around the city, and all night to chat and spend the night in a hostel, which was for me a virgin for the first time. The morning was truly beautiful and almost happiness promising: through the rare clouds the gentle sun shone, chestnuts, shaking their lighted candles in the light breeze, greeted me, on the tops of the starlings vehemently chattered the hymn to spring and life. First of all, I went to the place of my night deployment – the Brest-Central hostel, which was not far from the bus and train stations to make sure that the reservation was valid and that the hostel was in place. Brest, train station Photo: Igor Tkachev, personal archive The wrought-iron porch, sleepy staff (at 9 a.m.), confirmation of the reservation … I also left some of my belongings and, looking around the corner of my eye, made sure that the hostel is not a bomber, but quite a decent hostel of a local spill. Having paid the night (20 Belarusian “hares” – they are about 9 American “deers” (because “tank (s)” is “deer” in their own way, for those who did not know), I headed to the other side of Brest , to the May 1 park, where I once was and where I was incredibly pleased then.How does Brest differ from the same Grodno or just a small crowded regional center, for example, because it’s its almost Ukrainian breadth – open spaces and distances that I I’m personally very heartfelt and like moisture on my Ukrainian roots.Besides, if Grodno is the most Polish, European and because of the geographical proximity and historical peculiarity, Brest is the most Ukrainian of the Belarusian cities. Almost shabby, loud, wide. Almost. Everything in the park bloomed and smelled, twittered and rejoiced in anticipation of a new day, a celebration of the continuation of life Blossoming, by candlelight, chestnuts, huge linden trees, lonely oaks … On the edge of the park I met a playful red-haired beast, who was not at all afraid of me, but, on the contrary, flirted, inviting me to come closer and follow me. With a fearless local squirrel. Photo: Igor Tkachev, personal archive In another corner of the park, horses and a lonely donkey of a fierce appearance grazed, to which I was embarrassed to approach, his appearance was so threatening, as well as his formidable donkey dignity between his legs, unusually swaying in the wind at that early hour. Who knows what he had on his donkey mind? At 11 o’clock I took a ride on the Ferris wheel, regretting that I ordered myself to be seated in an “extreme place” instead of the usual one with a wide gesture. I dangled in the wind like a button from the leggings, my legs also hung over a 40-meter precipice, and I wondered what kind of crap I would turn into if I accidentally slipped out and rushed towards Mother Earth, according to a known attraction. The city did not make a special impression from the bird’s-eye view: the city is like a city, except that it is neat, like most cities in Belarus. After nervous ballooning, in my azimuths and map, through the courtyards and bushes, I headed for the main attraction of Brest – “Brescay Krapapstsi”. On the map, and my assumptions, I had to go decently. But I was wrong. And after a couple of yards and a crossroads, the entrance to the Hero Fortress came up to me. Brest Fortress: for whom the “hero” is for most the Brest Fortress amusement park Photo: Igor Tkachev, personal archive Once upon a time in my childhood, one of my favorite books was a book about the defenders of the Brest Fortress. As I remember the names of the heroes of Gavrilov and Kizhevatov. Then, when life itself brought me to Belarus and Brest itself, the first thing I did was to compare my childhood impressions with reality. Reality, as always, disappointed the remnants of my youthful maximalism and the beginnings of an adult idealism with its mundane descendants. This time I was heading there already without much idealistic claims, realizing that people are pigs everywhere … uh, that is ordinary people, and to expect something lofty from them would be inhuman. All the same arch with a star in a stone, on the left there is a Thirst memorial with a warrior crawling for water to the Southern Bug, in the distance a bowed head is the main monument, and it has stood nearby. Church, museum … Thirst Memorial Photo: Igor Tkachev, personal archive As then, young people kiss at the monuments, children run, scream, climb on pedestals, not knowing that this is not a playground, and only their mothers and teachers they are not very willingly correcting, pulling … In the fortress itself there is a warehouse, a toilet (I remember the first time I was simply outraged by the idea of making a toilet where they died, died), a souvenir shop … The feeling of a western theme park with chewing gum and Coca-Cola. Today, it’s not so demanding anymore, I think, or maybe that’s why those young people died so that these young people, today, could kiss in that place.