In 2010 Brazilians Patricia and Vinicius sold out all the property in Rio and went to travel all over the world. The couple has visited 65 countries in the next 6 years. They say they are not tourists: their idea is to try the life of locals – Japanese in Japan, French in France, Chileans in Chile.
In January Brazilians came to Belarus, rented a flat in one of the neighborhoods in Minsk and started testing what’s it like to live Belarusian.
Vinicius is a programmer and Patricia is a wedding photographer; they’ve been together for 15 years.
The idea to change Brazilian address to the world’s one came to travelers in Argentina. They went to spend a couple of days in Buenos Aires, fell in love with the spirit of the city and decided to stay there.
“By the end of 2010 we settled everything and decided to move. At first we wanted to bring house stuff with us, but found out it was very expensive. So we sold everything out,” Vinicius recalls.
How do these guys usually travel? At first they choose the continent where they’ll spend the next year, then decide which countries to visit. It’s much cheaper: on the one hand, you save money on flights, and on the other hand it’s easier in terms of logistics.
The exploration of Eurasia began in October 2016 and has so far included France, Poland and Belarus. The couple came to Belarus for three months as this is how long Brazilians are allowed to stay without a visa.
“We did not know much about Belarus. And, probably, would have never come here were it now for one guy we met in Krakow. He had just stayed in Belarus and really liked the country,” Vinicius said.
“We felt inspired and it coincided with the start of visa-free travel between the two countries in November. This determined our future destination.”
Belarusians and Brazilians both like visiting friends and eating
Brazilians were a little worried when they were entering Belarus through Brest.
“In the train at the Belarusian-Polish border I gave my passport to the border officer and said “Hello”. Suddenly he began singing “Is it me you’re looking for? I can see it in your eyes” (Lionel Richie’s song – note),” Patricia recalled.
“And he was singing in a fluent English!” Vinicius adds. “We sighed with relief. Good attitude is felt around.”
Foreigners agree that Belarusians hardly smile.
“Yes, when one’s walking down the street, people around look serious, but after the first “Hello” everything changes,” Vinicius said. “Belarusians may not be as apologetic as the British when they push you in the subway, but they are easy to get along.”
The couple recalls that when they left a notice about their arrival on a couch surfing website, there were immediately three people ready to show them around Minsk.
They say Belarusians and Brazilians are very alike: both nations are family people, who love to visit their friends and eat.
PT: Fomos a uma festa com danças típicas aqui na #Bielorússia. Foi muito legal. Até eu dancei e, ao final, muita comida típica foi servida. Muuuuito bom. EN: We’ve been to a party here with typical dances, #Belarus. It was so nice.At the end, a lot of food was served. It was so delicious. @unumdesign #unum
Once Patricia and Vinicius were invited at a concert. After it, people sat down to celebrate.
“They kept telling us: “Try this, eat this” as if we were starving. In other words, just like in Brazil!”
“Is it forbidden to take pictures of Lenin?”
In Minsk the family rented a flat in Kamennaya Gorka. Vinicius works for a Brazilian IT-company, while Patricia makes videos for their YouTube-channel and goes shopping.
She was surprised by a comparatively poor choice of vegetables in supermarkets. It is difficult, for example, to find lettuce, arugula, spinach.
But she says products are cheap in Belarus. “Compared to Rio, everything is cheap here,” Patricia smiles.
The Brazilians were astonished by ice on rivers and lakes. They’ve never seen frozen rivers before.
“To see it, we are ready to stand -16°C,” they say.
The couple prefers to spend their weekends out – they’ve been to Dudutki museum, Mir Castle, have explored Minsk.
“There are a lot of funny stories with the language. I remember how I was taking pictures of a railway station in Brest – I did not know it’s not allowed – and a policeman came up to me. I did not understand what happened. I looked at him and said: “Sorry”. He seemed lost, said “Okay” and went away,” Patricia laughs.
PT: Voltando do Museu a céu aberto Dudutki aqui na #Bielorússia com a igrejinha charmosa ao fundo. PT: Coming bach by bus from #Dudutki open air Museum with the beautiful church in the background. @unumdesign #unum
Публикация от Casal Partiu Nômades Digitais (@casalpartiu)
“Is it true that it’s not allowed to take photos of monuments to Lenin? No? Ah, ok, I’ve already taken three,” Patricia adds.
At least 6 good reasons to visit Belarus
When they have time, ‘Belarusian’ Brazilians follow local news.
They say the news about 5-days visa-free entry was a pleasant surprise for them.
Vinicius was so impressed that he even made up a list of the reasons why foreigners should come to Belarus:
- Belarus is close to the EU where millions of tourists arrive daily. Now that one doesn’t need a lot of documents, why not include Belarus in the itinerary?
- Belarus is safe, cheap and clean compared with Brazil, for example.
- There is good transport connection and cheap public transport.
- It is very green, especially in summer.
- It’s not crowded with tourists. Many people have never been here, so Belarus is definitely worth visiting.
- A good choice of apartments for rent with good internet.
“People always think they can offer less than there actually is,” the traveler shares his opinion.
“For example, Belarus has rich Soviet heritage like architecture and the metro. Even Russia doesn’t have so much. And it very exciting to see a part of history that has gone away recently.”
In general, the couple likes their time in Belarus, but doesn’t plan to stay for long. They say it’s enough to stay in Belarus for three months to feel the country.
“We have been on the road for six years. And we have no reasons to stop.”
The version of this article in Russian was published by TUT.BY. Translated by Margarita Tishutina for BelarusFeed.