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... any English but we managed to order through more pointing. We also bought some beers from our provodnitsa as apparently that makes them a bit friendlier towards you. I'm not sure it worked with Wills as every time she came in to do the hoovering he was having a nap. I think she wanted to go and slam the bin shut to get revenge.
So after 4 days of seeing snow and trees and snow and trees we arrived in Irkutsk. The first thing I noticed is feeling really ...
The five of us were met on arrival in Irkutsk and whisked straight off to Listvyanka, a small lakeside settlement about 70kms away. We were taken to our accommodation, supposedly a 3-star hotel, but in reality a bed and breakfast establishment run by a jovial Russian and his wife. We were at first concerned that this seemed to be a long way up one of the few lanes running perpendicular to the main road and so pretty ...
... and totally useless facts out of the way, we took a trip to Olkhon Island in the middle of the lake. We went there by bus, and I tell you, Russian roads can be pretty ****** when you're out in the middle of nowhere. We sat in the back seat of the bus, and due to all the bumps and holes in the road we were frequently lifted no less than 20cm up from our seats. Interesting! We sat in the middle of ...
4) Toilet troubles I had planned to start this part of the blog by fully relaying my ridiculous effort at using the toilet for the first time on the train. Having spent the last hour or so putting that story together, I managed to delete the whole thing - "You're fingers are too fat!". Ten minutes, several childish tantrums "I'm not writing any more, whats the point?" and seat head butts later (despite Helen's stoic best efforts to calm me down by finding a ...
... above the taiga
(swampy grassy bush lands); traversed rolling hills (again covered
with birch and pine forests) and seen many many villages of izbas
(wooden houses) and the occasional city. All this and a comfortable
crossing from Europe to Asia accomplished in part with our very
helpful provodnitsas and, of course, the many workers and the
prisoners from the gulags who suffered terribly to build the