My understandable frustration with the difficulties of obtaining a visa for Belarus (early to Beijing as HK does not have a consulate, personal attendance (twice), queueing in a long line of hopeful immigrants (?) and a trip to pay to a bank across town) were all at least to be necessary as I had been told that Russia – Belarus was a difficult crossing.

What crossing – we didn’t even stop. A cursory nod at a bored policeman and we are in Belarus. It was harder and took longer to get into the Belarus Embassy than it did to get into the country!

However the fuss surrounding the entry was sufficient. An early start to get through rush hour traffic to the Start Control at one of the other hotels (no traffic) and then a long wait just inside Belarus for a fixed start time. Apparently the police have closed roads for this afternoons stages and there is also a parade and lunch along the way so we are not allowed to head off until the set time. All a bit of a hassle on a day that is already 600+km