Irkutsk & Bajkal

11/6 Irkutsk. Meet Pablo again in train station, Russia is small… To hostel. Sleep. Grey day. Rain. Meet Canadian girl again. Walked in the city. In the rain. Streets drowned. Diner with Pascal and Russian friends. Super evening/night. Anastacia (Nastya) even told me I could sleep at her place.

12/6 Sleep long. Realized I lost my camera and went to look for it. Nothing. Took my bag to Nastya to stay at her place. Dinner together. And a beer together. With Pascal too.

13/6 Lazy day. Made pancakes and chocolate salami. Belgian stew I will make another day.

14/6 To Listvyanka by marshrutka, to bolshe koty by boat. Walking back 20km to Listvyanka alongside Bajkal, following partly the Great Bajkal Trail. And then back to Irkutsk by marshrutka. Concert in the evening of a French band, playing electronic music (good drummer!) in a night club. With Pascal and Mark. Followed by a visit to the Irish pub with Mark.

15/6 Picnic at Angara river. Its more like bbq. Shashlik. Together with Nastya, pascal, igor and Natalya. After we visited Irkutsk like tourists. The famous Cathedral, eternal flame, some square,…

16/6 Driving to Arshan. It was supposed to be good weather but it turned completely against me while inside the mashrutka. 😦 Once there I met a Russian Buryat guy, Chingis, who used to be a boxer when he was younger. We looked for a guesthouse together. Once found he drove us to the second datsan (tomorrow the first, touristic one). It was no weather for hiking, so I treated myself to a leg massage in a massage saloon 🙂 And in the evening we had a real Russian “banya”!

17/6 We walked to the waterfall and up the hill -with a view- and drank the healing Arshan water (which tastes awful). After seeing the first (touristic) datsan and some pancakes, we said goodbye and I took the bus back to Irkutsk.

18/6 Nastya and me undertook a final excursion to Listvyanka. We were going to have a ride on the hovercraft. But it didn’t show up. We changed plans and ate omul fish from Bajkal at the beach, with a beer. Delicious. And suddenly i collected all my guts together and decided to have a dip in Bajkal. They say one lives 25 years longer then… As long as they are healthy long years that’s ok for me. I would devote those extra years to more traveling 🙂 At night, a goodbye beer with Pascal and the transsiberian to Krasnoyarsk. It was delayed 30′, so the train left at 2.15am. I was in a lower bed.

19/6 I was so lucky I was surrounded by people who started talking from 8am-10.30am, one sitting on the foot end of my bed, while I desperately wanted to sleep more since I only got on the train at 2am. I looked around and in the whole wagon they were the only ones talking, everyone else was asleep or lying down silently. And when I finally surrendered and decided not to try to sleep anymore, they fell silently slept. Grmbl! It’s really not too bad actually, I just gotta mindfully empty my bucket of tolerance once more. The rest of the day was an alternation of sleeping and reading. Really glad to have a book here. And in this very moment someone is so friendly to share his disco music from his cellphone with the whole area. Some are geniuses in filling others’ buckets of tolerance! In the mean time it became warmer and warmer… Hotter and hotter… And walking to the restaurant wagon, I started to see drunk Russians here and there. I arrived in Krasnoyarsk in the evening. Julia and Svetlana (Sveti) were awaiting me at the quay, took me to their place, fed me dinner and ready for more sleeping. Sweet!

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