Our Baikal experience

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Olga's Baikal Guest House

Flag of Russia  , Irkutsk,
Friday, September 10, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage site Lake Baikal is the world's oldest and deepest (1,642 metres) lake. It is amazing! The water is very clean – you can even drink it in more remote areas!

We decide to spend some time together with the couple we met in the minibus. We go for a walk during the day and rent a banya (sauna) in the evening. Banya is a traditional Russian steam bath where people wash themselves and often hit (massage) themselves or others with dried branches and leaves from white birch, oak or eucalyptus (called veniks) in order to improve the blood circulation. And, that’s what we did! We even ran 5 times to the lake and bathed there in the freezing water. I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E.

Our host Olga, a lovely lady that has spent all her life in the village, tells us that if you swim in Lake Baikal you add to your life expectancy extra 25 years. So basically, Agi is 1 and Rudi is 5 years old now. Olga is brilliant! Her omelette in the morning is just what we need after yesterdays crazy adventures. We are staying at her house and she makes us really welcome.

It is very interesting to meet locals and spend some time together. Vladimir tells us that Russians have big difficulties to travel round the world. There is a LOT of paper work involved and some documents you can organise only in Moscow. As he lives in Vladivostok that is a far east end of Russia, it is too far and too expensive to travel.

Next day we say goodbye to our new travel friends and join a tour boat round the lake. We enjoy healthy and nice food and watch beautiful sunset. So, far our best stop in Russian Trans Siberian route. We are time limited and we have to move forward as we are greedy and want to see many, many places, but we wish we could have spent there a week.

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