04.05.2014 - 07.05.2014 15 °C
We arrived in Irkutsk at 4:30. It was still pitch black and 1* Celsius outside. After approximately 45 minutes searching for the direction we finally found a bus to Listvyanka at Lake Baikal. At nine we arrived at our guesthouse and there I took one of the nicest showers in my life I guess (I think Zuzka was happy too after 4 days without a shower in the train).
Listvyanka is a famous travel destination for tourists and Russian people during the summer. We however had all this beauty for ourselves as the season has barely started yet. I wanted to take a nice swim in the lake but quickly made up my mind as there were still some parts frozen The lake is pretty impressive and presents 20% of the worlds fresh water reserves and is 600 km in diameter (larger than the size of Slovakia). There was not much to do though but we had a relaxing 4 days. The only highlight I would say was that we saw a wolf very close to us in the taiga. We also went to an exhibition park where they show the history of Siberian architecture.
Next day we departed to Ulan Bator. We had to wait a few hours at the station, and decided to stay at a guarded cosy place - which we needed to pay for. Since, after a while we run out of rubel I went to the bank machine close to the station. The ATM was out of order and a few sinister guys were waiting in the bank. I went out and one of them wanted to show me where a different ATM is. He showed me but then kept on following me, I decided to turn around to go back. When he approached me he said that I should go with him and that it is very close. He then asked me if I had a cellphone. That was enough and I decided to go back, just when I wanted to leave he grabbed me by the arm and pulled on my jacket. I tossed my arm free and pushed him back, just when he was tripping back I ran like Usain Bolt back to the station. He was small (still taller than I am and thin, but you never know...besides that he had tattoos on his hands and scars in his face. Later when I was back with Zuzka at the protected station we saw him with 3 other guys. That was way more excitement than I wished for and left me with a slightly negative impression of Russia (the country is still beautiful and impressive).
We took our train at 22 pm and had the whole compartment for us. While we were playing cards and had a good time heavy smoke came out of the roof. The conductors were frantically moving and finally opened the windows. After a while the smoke faded away and everything was back to normal. The way to Ulan Bator is full of marvelous nature and we met our Canadian friend Darryel again. Together with him and another nice guy, Cahir from Ireland, we will continue to travel...and finally we shared the slivovica we brought from Slovakia
P.S. For now we will only post pictures from the iPhone until we have a 'good copy' cable to upload the pictures from the camera.
P.P.S. Our trip to Lhasa, Tibet and the Everest base camp is cancelled as the group we wanted to take called the trip off. We see it positively as it will give us a chance to see Australia or New Zealand later in the journey.
Do Irkutsku sme dorazili 4.5. o 5:30 miestneho casu. Bola tma a asi 1 stupen, na stanici vsetci "napomocni", ako sme si uz v Rusku zvykli. Nakoniec sme ale uspesne zistili, ako sa dostat z vlakovej na autobusovu stanicu, odkial asi za 10 minut odchadzal autobus do dediny Listvjanka, nasho ciela na brehu Bajkalskeho jazera. O 9 sme uz boli v ubytovani, Sasha's guesthouse, v teple a popijali sme s chutou caj. A potom sme si dali vytuzenu sprchu!
Listvjanka je popularne bajkalske letovisko, ktore oziva hlavne v letnych mesiacoch. My sme tam takto na zaciatku maja boli spolu este s jednym japonskym parom sami. Lodicky este tiez nejazdili, pretoze jazero by mohlo byt na niektorych miestach zamrznute. Tobiho plan okupat sa v Bajkale za kazdu cenu sa rozplynul velmi rychlo, hned pri prvom dotyku ladovej vody. Od nasej domacej sme sa dozvedeli, ze zima bola tento rok ale velmi mierna a jazero zamrzlo az vo februari... Bajkalske jazero je najhlbsie na svete vdaka svojmu tektonickemu povodu. Preto sme na druhom brehu mohli vidiet 3000 metrov vysoke hory. Nachadza sa v nom 20 % svetovych zasob pitnej vody (je naozaj pitna, vyskusali sme). Svojou dlzkou viac ako 600 km je vacsie ako Slovensko.
Uprimne povedane, nemali sme tam az tak moc co robit, ale bol to dobry relax. Kazdy den sme zacali vybornymi domacimi ranajkami: volske oko, parky, palacinky s dzemom. Boli sme na ture v Pribajkalskom narodnom parku, kde su nadherne vyhlady na jazero a obzervatorium. Na odporucanie domacej sme si spravili vylet do skanzenu Taltsy s ukazkami typickych sibirskych domov. A na plazi sme si dali grilovany barani saslik so Zlatym bazantom
Posledny den rano nas vonku cakalo poriadne prekvapenie - 10 cm snehu a fujavica. Nastastie sme v ten den uz odchadzali, najprv naspat do Irkustku. Kupili sme listok na vlak do Ulaanbaataru a cakali na vlakovej stanici, lebo v snehovej fujavici sa nic moc nedalo robit. Tobi chcel ist este vybrat peniaze, tak sa vybral sam a ja som zostala pri ruksakoch. Bankomaty hned pred stanicou nefungovali, ale stali pri nich chalani, jeden z nich sa hned ponukol, ze Tobimu ukaze, kde je iny bankomat. Po chvilke cesty sa Tobiho opytal, ci ma telefon. To uz bolo podozrive. Tobi mu povedal, ze nemusi ist s nim, ze to uz najde sam, ale chalan ho zacal tahat za bundu, ze nech ide s nim. Tobi sa mu rychlo vytrhol, sotil ho do seba prec a sprintoval naspat na stanicu ako Usain Bolt. Chalan bol sice maly a chudy, ale mal potetovane ruky a jazvy na tvari, no clovek nikdy nevie. Z okna stanice sme ho videli potlkat sa pred budovou s tromi dalsimi chalanmi, ale nastastie sa nam podarilo sa im vyhnut.
Vecer o 22:00 sme teda nasadli na mongolsky vlak, konecne sami v kupe (takze ziadne napinave historky tentokrat), stretli sme hned jedneho spolucestovala, Cahir z Irska, a tak konecne nastal cas otvorit slivovicu a sprijemnit si vecer. Na druhy den sme vo vlaku stretli aj Kanadana Darryela, ktory s nami cestoval uz do Irkutsku. Ako sme tak vo stvorici hrali druhy vecer karty, zacalo sa v kupe zrazu dymit z vetraku. Vsetci sme vybehli na chodbu a nastastie sa to po otvoreni okien za chvilku vyvetralo a katastrofa bola zazehnana.
P.S. Uz mame konecne aj fotky, z Tobiho telefonu. Zistili sme totiz, ze nemame ako nahrat fotky z fotaku do iPadu, ale v Cine snad zozenieme nejaky "good copy" kabel.
P.P.S. Sme nuteni zmenit plany a nepojdeme do Tibetu. Ziadna agentura nam nenasla skupinu a ak by sme isli len sami dvaja, bolo by to strasne drahe. Za tie peniaze radsej pojdeme nakoniec na Novy Zeland alebo do Australie. Musime teda vymysliet nahradny plan v Cine, ale to asi nebude problem! Nakoniec sa do toho Chengdu na pandy naozaj pozrieme