Published: July 21st 2012July 20th 2012
Okay the area is starting to grow on me, but only if I ignore the main street and only think about the unpaved roads and the strange wooden houses.
We started the day with a hike in the Siberian forest that surrounds the lake, it was pretty hot day so we ended up sweating bucket loads. Our guide was not very talkative and mostly marched ahead of us. The hike went round the mountain and down to a secluded spot by the lake for lunch where we met a few Russian students who wanted to practice their English.
The hike was enjoyable but it seemed a little intense for a leisure hike, they didn't mention this when we booked it! Fortunately we had walking gear (decent boots, long trousers and shirts to avoid in horse flies and ticks and DEET) but I still managed to twist my ankle which could well put a downer on the next few days. I did manage to finish the hike but it was a lot less fun!
Afterwards we had a slow walk back to the hotel (well, a hobble for me) via the shop to pick up a few beers for
a relaxing evening. Just before the beers we went for a quick paddle in the lake, and they're not lying about how cold it is. I barely managed more than 30 seconds and never got in passed my ankles!
Back at the hotel we ended up chatting to two Irish girls in the next room along who are doing a very similar trip to us. In fact I think they're staying at the same places we are in Mongolia and on the same train to Beijing so we'll have familiar faces all the way now.
For dinner we met up with Ben again who had travelled to Listvyanka that day and a lad called Rich who Ben found at the hostel. Rich speaks very good Russian so we let him do all the ordering! We were all a little fished out so went for meat dishes, I had the very tasty Siberian steak. This seems to involve baking it with cheese instead of frying it but I was impressed.
Transfer back to Irkutsk city tomorrow to have a look around, before a short sleep to catch a 04:50 train to Mongolia
There are more photos below