From Irkutsk I took a bus to Listvyanka and finally got to see the great Baikal Lake. It has the size of my home country and loads of water. I mean, really a shit load of water. It even has waves and boats; and did I mention the water?
I booked a bed in one of the valleys nearby and went through the most unwelcoming check in ever. The concept of Baikaler hostel was fantastic and also the reason why I wanted to stay there, but the woman running the place was clearly very frustrated. Even though I was their only guest, it looked to be a big assignment to even pretend they were happy to see me.
Waking up in this oasis of quietness, I decided to extend my stay. Not only because this huge lake and its surroundings impressed me enormously, but also because I like to evoke.
Yes, I will irritate you another night with a smile. Thank you very much.
After aerating in the small village and observing the first tourists I have crossed so far, I took a ferry to Port Baikal.
During check out I strongly believe to have remarked a slight uplift of her right lip. Victory shall be mine!
Never had I taken a boat without having "I'm on a boat" of The Lonely Island in my head, so I had my moment on the deck rapping some lyrics, for keeping the tradition alive.
After one hour, I had to say my floating friend goodbye. Without even looking around I headed towards a small shop in front of the dark port. I was eager to try my rehearsed Russian phrase and asked where the train station was, but blinded by the first signs of civilization it was clearly right there. You could impossibly miss it. Except for me, of course. This was the cutest station I had ever seen, with a real locomotive, doing it's thing, just like in the cartoons. I am a very happy woman.
The reason why this route is so damn cheap, was because of the 7 hours and 45 minutes gap between the only ferry arriving in Port Baikal and the unique Circum Baikal train. It's like the impossible route that Google maps gives you because transport doesn't run at night, so it lets you wait for hours in the middle of nowhere. In Belgium I would have laughed it away and just forget about it, but this is Siberia.
The amusing realizations of travelling in low season.
Cleverly, in all Russian railway stations you can book dorm beds while you wait for your train. Stingy as I am, I started connecting with a French guy, started drinking vodka and slept in the sofa's of the station like a real bum.
The female security guard disjunctively frightened me when I wanted to plug in my camera.
I secretly put it somewhere else, but when she got on to me, my heart bounced in my throat. God, this woman was terrifying. Sleep-time was over, and I had learned my lesson. I was not ready for the 12 hours of non-sleeping day-train at all.
Fun fact: the bottle of vodka had the same price as the dorm beds offered in the station.