In the train back to Minsk, for the first time the feeling hit me that my trip was almost over. I was looking at the scenery floating by when I actually realized that I was now about to leave Russia, after six weeks of hopping from one place to the next. My trip was almost over and I was on my way back. I felt sad, knowing that all things do come to an end.
On the way back, something almost surreal happened. Just before the Belorussian border, when the train was moving very slowly, maybe at some 10km/hour, we passed a small village. Just outside of the village, reasonably close to the train tracks, a big overhanging tree was standing with behind it nothing but rolling hills with the greenest fields imaginable. Under the tree, a couple was enjoying summer, it being some 25 degrees in the shade. Remarkably, the couple wasn’t a young couple. Judging from they’re looks they were 60, maybe 70 years old and they were smiling and enjoying summer. The woman used the tree to sit against and the man sat a little bit to the side, supporting himself with his left hand and resting his right hand on the woman’s knee.
When the train passed, they both looked up. I was looking out of the window and I could easily imagine that they were looking at me, smiling, watching me as I was leaving their country. Then, both man and woman held up their hands and started waving, saying goodbye to the visitor that I had been over these past weeks. Still smiling, I started to smile too and waved back, hoping for them to see me and me knowing that my trip to Russia had been worth my time.
I shared my compartment with two Belarussian colleagues who worked for an insurance-agency. Both were married, but not with each other, although invariably they made me think otherwise. Still, they both spoke good enough English and we managed to talk about Russia, politics, bananas and vodka (what else?).