Belarus is a low-lying country straddling the shortest route between Moscow and Poland. It has survived control by the Soviets to emerge as a welcome respite from the main tourist trails with more to see than you might expect. Wide stretches of unbroken birch groves, vast forested marshlands, and wooden villages amid rolling green fields. The friendly hospitality of the Belarusians is legendary.

Ukraine rewards travellers with hospitable people, magnificent architecture and miles of gently rolling steppes. Almost every city and town has a centuries-old cathedral, exquisite mosaics and many open air museums of folk architecture. Kiev is the capital with bustling street and an energetic nightlife. The food is absolutely marvellous and you will be humming bandura tunes for weeks.