Sunday, May 24, 2020

At lake Baikal

Back in the USSR

Leaving Mongolia we crossed our fourth time into Russia, which was a bit of a hassle as they wanted every document filled out twice. I guess to safe on photocopier costs? πŸ€·‍♂️

Enjoying some smoked salmon πŸ˜‹

First stop was in Ulan-Ude, where we went crazy shopping for groceries πŸ˜ After a month of little shops in the middle of nowhere which would sell shitty pasta, maybe tomato sauce, some sad looking onions or potatoes and mainly vodka it was quite the delight! All the lovely meat, salmon, wine, anti-pasti, Swiss cheese and chocolate and much more wasn't cheap tough πŸ˜‚ We went a bit overboard but were literally culinary starved πŸ˜†

After having stocked up on groceries we headed up north to the Zabaykalsky National Park which has a big peninsula that juts into the lake. Just off its coast lies an archipelago where the Baikal seal can be seen. They are the only fresh water seal population in the world but sadly the weather was too rough for boats going out πŸ˜”

Still the peninsula was great, connected to the mainland with a big sandy strip which did not look like being somewhere in Siberia. The beware of bears signs were a bit unnerving but the locals didn't mind so when in Rome... πŸ˜„ For the next day we drove further onto the island looking for a place to camp, being a national park you're not allowed to wild camp but there are little camp spots scattered around the area right at the lake even with little outhouses πŸ’©

Chilling at the beach
Crossing the island gave us the chance to help some locals in distress. One of the many UAZ buses looked like it had rolled down the hill, windscreen missing and roof rather battered. Nevertheless the driver asked if we could tow him up the next hill, planing on coasting down afterwards?! πŸ˜‚ Only while being towed up we realised that there was another (drunken?) guy laying in the cab which didn't make a move πŸ€£ The driver was super happy and grinning from ear to ear, thus showing is all gold teeth. You gotta love the Russians πŸ˜†

Our little spot

The next day we saw them at the harbour where they immediately came to thank us again and tried to organise a boat for us. But even with their help none of the captains wanted to go out πŸ™

So another day at the beach then!πŸ–