I came expecting -
A throwback to 1950's Cold War Communism and the last of the European dictatorships. When I first came to Europe there was Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal and Tito in Yugoslavia. There were "Vota Communista" banners in Italy. King Constantine ruled in Greece. Charles de Gaulle was President of France. And Princess Grace Kelly reigned in Monaco. Hassan II was the ruler of Morocco.
Instead, I've found ...
A lovely fall countryside
A modern city with acres of parks still gloriously retaining the colors of Fall
Free of litter
Modern infrastructure and obvious investment
Multilingual (much better English than in Russia)
Whoever writes those Wikitravel and Lonely Planet posts must have come here in the early 90's and never updated their descriptions.
Else they live in Dubai and consider everywhere else primitive.
Next door to the hotel is the Minsk Galleria. All the modern shops, an excellent food court and numerous upscale restaurants. In the basement is a large supermarket with everything one would wish for. I haven't been able to find the peanut butter yet but will continue to look.
The circus here is world class, with all the traditional acts. My favorites are the balancing act and the teeter-board.
Outside the city are two World Heritage Sites at Mir and Radziwil. Both are among the most interesting castle-palace complexes I have visited.
Finally, the visa free process at the airport was ridiculously simple. And this will soon be extended to 30 days rather than 5. The last year when comparative data is available was 2015. That year Belarus had just over 100,000 foreign visitors. That placed it at 168th on the World's list. By contrast Haiti, my stop earlier this year, had over half a million. And my Florida expects 125 Million visitors this year.
No more info for you guys. I'm just going to go and enjoy the surprises of Europe's last Dictatorship.
You're on your own,