Siberia is cool!

Siberia has not exactly lived up to expectations so far. Considering we came from a snowy Mongolia, it seemed odd to arrive to Irkutsk and be walking around comfortably in shorts and t shirts, but now 5 days later it started snowing on us again… Still not cold enough to accumulate though, it all just melts as it hits the ground.

There are several other observations I have made about this place so far.

1) They seem to love all things Paris related. Here’s me with the Eiffel Tower:

2) There are lots of really neat old wooden houses just in amongst modern buildings, and often painted with different pastel shades. They look like something straight out of a movie set:

Not the best example but you get the idea

3) It kinda looks like Lenin’s about to smack the back of some invisible person’s head:

...maybe he's just directing traffic.

4) There is a sweet dragon welded out of junk around the corner from the hostel:

5) Funky architecture:

6) The Irkutsk flag design is pretty badical:

We made a small side trip for a couple days over to Olkhon Island, the world’s 3rd largest lake-bound island on Lake Baikal, home to the world’s only fresh water seals. Hurrah for nature! We were promised a hovercraft ride to get over to the island because the ice was too thick for boats but not thick enough to support a vehicle. On the list of “totally awesome stuff 8-yr old Damo, Dave and Mike will lose their shit over,” hovercrafts are ranking pretty high up there, probably just behind the Simpsons. And dinosaurs, can’t forget dinosaurs.

No hovercraft ever appeared, so I have to say I am very dissapoint. And sorry. Much like the Russian guy who took a disliking to me because after asking me something in Russian I responded with “sorry, no Russian” as I continued walking… but that’s a story for another day.

We stayed at a pretty sweet homestead with log cabins and wood fires, had all our meals cooked for us and a great place to just relax and do a lot of nothing (because let’s face it, we all live such stressful lives!).

Our bedroom

...and this is our shower

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather lately, a bit of nausea mixed with the flu so I spent most of my time sleeping. I did try and head out a few times to checkout the place and I have to say it was some of the prettiest scenery I’ve ever come across (as per usual, waaaaaaaaaaaaay better in real life).

We even went swimming in there at one point. Probably not good for my health since I was already fluey, but screw health, you only live once.

Also, Damien plays a ukelele. Astonishingly well.

Tonight we leave for Moscow aboard the vodka train!

Written on May 18, 2011