From Brest you can visit a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage, the Bialowieza Forest. It is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest in Europe. It extends across parts of Poland and Belarus. But all the information and explanation about its flora and fauna can be found on the internet, this is true story about my experience.
When some friends come to visit me in Sevilla I enjoy showing them the whole city and all the secrets it hides. This time I have received the same, here people are kind and professor Maksimuk arranged generously the visit. I can?t speak Russian and it is a handicap here, they are not ready to host people who speak other languages.
I was told that it is mushroom hunting, it is the reason why we found lots of car parked near the road which lead to the entrance. People have to ask for permission before gathering mushrooms and after they have to pay depending on the kg. collected.
The entrance is similar to an attraction for tourists, it does not seem like a Forest. Bikes can be rented there and what you pay depends on how long you want to stay. Over 27km through the Forest, including the visit to Papa Noel?s house cost 100.000BYR, it is approximately 7? per 4 hours
I have to say that I enjoyed a lot, breathing clean air, with a good temperature and the roads were cleaned and well signposted. I was told that in winter the Papa Noel house gets full of families in a beautiful atmosphere. I can imagine it because it is like a tale, with lots of? characters from Russian folktales. I could try the local meal, exquisite mushrooms and a strong alcoholic beverage, with a tea made with wild herbs.
But, to be honest, I was a little disappointed. The road through the Forest is a tarmac road, cars are allowed to enter and they go very fast, people can gather mushrooms there, and the most astonishing thing is that there are people who visit the Forest by bus. So I ask myself how somebody can enjoy nature inside a bus. I missed the possibility to hike through the park with a guide.
If someone looks for information about this Forest, it can be found that there is also a reserve for animals, the European bison and someone else. But, what a pity!! They are in cages, or in small space. I hope that there are other places inside the Forest with these animals moving freely.
If I have the chance of visiting it again, I would like to go when the trees had the autumn colors.
In the afternoon we visited a defense tower from the XIII century. I was told that it is the only one which remains, of twelve that where spread through an area that now is Poland, Belarus and Ukranie. It is the Kamenets Tower in Belaya Vezha.
It is necessary to say that the tower has been renovated at the beginning of XX century, and I liked how it has been done. From the top of the tower you can see the Bialowieza Forest which is 20km far away.
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