Day 16 - Irkutsk / Russia

Bratislava to Beijing
Irkutsk / Russia

In Irkutsk we were most interested in visiting lake Baikal. But, we not only wanted to see the Siberian fresh sea, but also to leave on ice of this magnificent natural miracle. Despite the fact that Siberia is now dominated by sub-zero temperatures, the spring sun warms very much during the day. MOE closely monitors the condition of the ice, and it is likely that by the time we arrive on the ice, rescuers will close the exit on it. We were constantly in touch with Irkutsk, and received information about the state of the ice.

To our arrival the nearest exit to the city on the lake, near Listvyanka, was closed under weather conditions. But, chances to get to the frozen lake at us remained. However, for this purpose it was necessary to pass more than 120 kilometers on a dirt road. Before the start, we washed the car, realizing that in a small village on the shore of lake Baikal will be harmful washing. After just a couple of kilometers we realized that a clean car to the lake will not reach. 

Before leaving for the ice buy a few cans of water and rags. Right on the edge of the village we organize an impromptu mini-wash. A little more than 10 minutes and here we have a clean car ready for work.

On the lake busy traffic. Tourists who came to admire the winter fairy tale in large groups have fun to the best of their financial capabilities. Here are the locals Parking the car right on the ice skating. A little further, a group of tourists goes for a walk through Baikal on a boat with an air cushion. and right next to us more family arranged a fun photo shoot. Children lying on the ice, adults remove them and everyone is in a good mood.

Baikal fascinates with its size, transparency of multi-meter ice covered with intricate cracks and some all-consuming tranquility. Here you just want to sit on the shore and watch the surrounding landscape. And at the same time, there's a colossal energy filling you over the edge. We would be happy to stay here a little longer, but we are waiting for the border with Mongolia.

How big and diverse Russia is. If in Moscow and Siberia we admired Christian cathedrals, meadows and mixed fields, in Buryatia the picture changed dramatically. We go among the hills covered with rare trees, going down from them we get into small pine woods, and in the villages admire the Buddhists datsan and talk with local lamas about life in monasteries.

At the moment, we have 14,596 and only a few days left before Beijing. The average consumption of our Volkswagen Touareg is just 9.0 litres on hundred kilometres of a way. This is a wonderful indicator given the fact that we go not only in a straight line, but also climb mountains, constantly stop and often overtake passing vehicles. the roadbed is teeming with a huge number of holes, and instead of where the drainage pipes for many years, it sank and then formed a very unpleasant trampolines. But the most unpleasant are cold spots occurring at every turn. Almost cleared at a speed as you immediately lose the car and get into a very unpleasant situation. We move as carefully as possible, trying to avoid road defects and gently overcome ice traps. What caused genuine surprise to the local population, they are all of these obstacles no hindrance, they rush about their business at tremendous speeds.

In the side of the road we notice a large fire and several people standing around him. The first thing that comes to mind is that travelers have set up camp for the night. While we were approaching we understand that this does not tourists. The guide explains to us that there is now a shaman conducts a ritual. See how things can be, but only if the audience agrees, and the shaman will permit. Quick negotiations and we get the approval. Around a fire are laid out bottles with alcohol, knives, amulets and diamonds. Before our eyes, the Minister of worship is trying to establish contact with the spirits. Throat singing combined with the harp really makes you step back from what is happening outside the light of the fire. The sight was so unusual that you can't understand this is happening to you or you're watching a documentary. The head does not fit, you're watching funeral ritual, and a few minutes ago, you were uploaded to the server in Germany to film for the day stuff.