Leaving Irkutsk and Lake Baikal

Previous page - Listvyanka


Leaving Listvyanka

The bus back from the lake took ages longer than the bus going out there. We had to be back on the train at 7:20 p.m. but had to go back to the hostel first. We were starting to worry that we were running out of time.

Consequently, instead of walking, we grabbed a taxi from the Irkutsk bus depot to take us to the Angara Hotel. We again withdrew money from the ATM at the hotel and got the usual supplies from the nearby supermarket to last us the next three days on the train. We then walked fast to the Admiral Hostel. Leonid had kindly allowed us to leave our gear at the hostel and to have a shower before we left - all at no extra cost which was sincerely appreciated. Once back there we grabbed a final shower, zipped up our luggage and then back into another taxi for our ride back to Irkutsk railway station.



White blossoming trees we saw so often White blossoming trees we saw so often

Admiral Hostel Irkutsk

Despite its problems we still enjoyed staying at the Admiral Hostel. The beds were extremely comfy and the rooms were very quiet. It's in quite a good location too. There was always masses of hot water which was fantastic. I mentioned the story of the hostel toilet earlier on. Here it is:

The toilet had us puzzled right from the time we each first used it. There was a thick grey toilet paper to use. It was quite rough on the backside, I might add. Whenever we flushed the toilet the toilet paper would never fully flush away. There never seemed to be enough water to flush down it. The cistern looked big enough but there was never enough water coming out of it. We wondered if Leonid had put a brick inside the cistern to save on water usage?

Right beside the toilet we had noticed a basket which always held pieces of scrunched, grey toilet paper. What was the purpose of it we wondered? Did people dry their clean, wet hands on the toilet paper and then discard it into the basket? Hmmmm!

All was revealed when I mentioned our concerns to one of the travellers from Finland.

He said that we weren't supposed to flush loo paper down the loo at all. All the toilet paper must go in the basket or otherwise the loo would clog up. My God, it was a wonder we hadn't clogged it up ten times over! Nobody had given us this piece of vital information. We could never put our poo-ey paper in that basket. That was just too gross, so from then on we put our dirty loo paper in a plastic bag, knotted it up and we threw it into a nearby bin each time we went out. I knew heaps of empty plastic bags would be handy on out holiday but I never thought they would be used for this purpose.


Trams are seen throughout Irkutsk Trams are seen throughout Irkutsk
Exquisite window decorations Exquisite window decorations










Ian was fascinated by the trams in Irkutsk. They all have this enormous metal pole attached to the front of them. Woe betide any car that was in front of them if the tram didn't stop fast enough because the pole would ram right into the back of the car. They looked quite dangerous.

I was entranced by the windows in the houses. Some were very close to the pavements - much closer than those featured in the photograph above. Look at the intricate carved wood around those windows - they are works of art.



Front of the Irkutsk railway station Front of the Irkutsk railway station

Leaving Irkutsk

Now back to the main story: The road at the front of the Irkutsk railway station can be a very busy area. Cars park two deep and behind them come hurtling buses, trams and other assorted vehicles. The drivers zip around very fast and spend a lot of the time tooting on horns at each other or yelling out the window at each other. It is quite entertaining.

After getting out of our taxi we waited outside the station as it was nightmarishly busy inside. I decided to have a drink from a newly purchased bottle of water. Little did I know we had accidentally bought fizzy water and as the top of the bottle was opened, out shot a fountain of water all up and over me and over my big ruck sack. The bottle must have been shaking around in the taxi. Grhhh!


Next page - From Irkutsk to Perm on the Baikal train


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.