After the 3.5 days on the train, I was ready for new adventures. I got off in Irkutsk, a city close to the shores of the Lake Baikal. It was an important city when it comes to trading, for example, the old tea route goes through this place and it can be discovered in the market. There were so many qualities and tastes of tea, in beautiful boxes (Christine, I saw some for you…but they don’t fit into my bag…) from all over the Asian continent. The city still has a lot of old traditional wooden houses, however, most of them would need investments for renovation, some of them seem to go under or have a falling roof.
Soon after arriving to the city, I went off to the Olkhon Island on the big Lake Baikal. The lake covers a surface of more than 31’000qkm – close to Switzerland’s surface – just imagine! The island is of stunning beauty, beautiful landscapes, wonderful autumn coloured forests, sandy beaches, rocks often with spiritual meanings for the shamans where they hold their rituals. Often, there was a very strong wind and some days it was already quite cold here, so I’ve put on all layers of my winter clothing already – I would say – well prepared! I did a lot of walking and biking and the last evening, I did a banya (similar to sauna) at the beach and for cooling down I jumped into the into the lake – so nice!
Enjoy some images of the bike ride from the west to the east shore of the island: