22.07.2012 - 24.07.2012
Exhausted after so many late nights in st Petersberg and Moscow we headed
for domedevo airport early in the morning. After getting a little lost on
the metro again we managed to board our flight to Ulan Ude via Novosibirsk.
The flight was about 7 hrs in total and we crossed about 5 time zones, it
makes you realise what a massive country we are in!
eating caviar in the airport
We had been warned by the lonely planet to organize transport from the
airport in ulan ude so when we landed there was a man with a sign saying
" govi" which had to be us! The airport was one crowded room where we had to
fight to get our luggage, strange!
That night we were so jet lagged so we stayed up till 4am sitting in the
hall way where we could pick up wifi signal trying to arrange the next
couple of days. We unfortunately arrived on a Sunday night so no tour
companies were open and we found very limited info online so after 2 hours
of shut eye we headed for the bus station at 6am to try get to a town
called Goryaninsk on the lake, it is about 170km from ulan ude.
We could not see any place to buy a ticket so we assumed you could get one
from the driver. After showing our tour book to people we figured out which
bus to take, they are little mini combis. We got on the bus after 2 hrs of
waiting and got kicked off because we didn't have tickets. Some young kid
appeared out of nowhere and sold us two tickets, it was all a bit strange
as the bus seemed to be full but after all the confusion and everyone
Laughing at us we headed off.
The bus took 4 hrs to do 170kms and it was a hair raising bumpy ride! We
were dropped off in a little square that felt a bit like the Transkei,
There were cows lying around, one general store, a funny old sanitarium and
a few drunk people(40,000 Russians die a year of alcohol poisoning)After
walking around with our back backs on we both panicked a bit as we had no
idea where we were going or where we were going to stay. We were the only
tourists in the place, everyone seemed to be locals from ulan ude! After
pointing to the word hotel in Russian In the book we finally found a little
guest house. We checked In there for 2 nights and had all our meals there
which was great because there were no other places to eat in the little
town. We got to sample lots of local food! Some great omul fish cakes, a
whole fish, lots of soups and rice! They don't use knives at all, you only
eat with a fork and spoon and they only drink hot black tea at meals!
Lake Baikal is positioned in southeastern (Siberia) Russia, directly to
the north of Mongolia.
It is the oldest (*still existing*) freshwater lake on the planet, it is
also measured as the deepest continental body of water at 1620 m. In
addition, it is the largest freshwater lake by volume, containing an
astounding 20% of the planet's fresh water.
With a maximum width of 96 km, Lake Baikal is about 626 km in length.
The lake was a 5 minute walk from the town, we had fun exploring and going
for lovely walks. The lake has waves and sandy shores so it feels like you
at the beach. It was very remote with only a few people camping on the
shore. We had locals come up to us and ask to take photos of us a few
times, we obviously didn't look like Russians! They were fascinated that we
were from "Africa" and very friendly although the conversations were the,
speaking Russian and us just nodding!
We had some lovely sunshine and very strong winds but we manged to swim and
have 2 lovely days of r&r there.
sleeping like a hobo on the beach
ps: We have uploaded a few more pics from the travels so far if you feel like looking!