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September 19 – 2011 Banyas and Baikal

Posted by on September 28, 2011

Took ferry at 6:40 am to Listvianka and hopped onto the bus to Irkutsk. We then boarded a minivan that would take us to Ohlkon Island on Lake Baikal, a 6 hour trip by road and ferry. At the lunch stop we had borscht, goulash, stewed cabbage and beers – good grub, for sure.
We arrived at Nikita’s Guesthouse on Ohlkon and got the last room for 3 nights, at the lodge. Really neat place with lots of old painted, rustic buildings. Cost us $30 Cdn a day which included 3 great meals at the big main lodge – Omul fish twice a day! Our room had 3 beds and very cozy with nice thick quilts as the nights were freezing. No showers, banyas instead…
The banya was a room with scalding hot water in a huge tank, wooden floor, buckets and ladles, and huge barrels with ice cold water. We wore our chawels to the banya. www.chawel.com was funded by Dragon’s Den and I had picked them up for the 3 of us for our trip. Basically, it is a towel/changeroom in one and is light and made out of microfibre material so dries in no time. Pictures will be shown when I get the photo page up!
The banya was great and so refreshing with the hot water, and then ladles of the frigid water splashed on our bodies.
We rented bikes and toured for a day – forests, mountains, beaches. Stopping at the beach, we stripped down and dove into the frigid waters of Lake Baikal. Temp was around 8 celsius…It was a very quick dip. Celebrated with shots of vodka and then back to the lodge for some Omul and soup and bread.
We have had the most amazing weather – 20 – 25 celsius everyday in Russia. Off to Irkutsk!

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