After the hell of the yellow s**t road teams Kasotiri and Commonwealth made it Irkutsk. After a leisurely lunch at a German Beer Hall, chosen because of it’s free WIFI, we drove another couple of hours down the road to the famous lake Baikal.
We spent two nights camping on the shores of the beautiful and vast lake and took the opportunity to relax, catching up on sleep, vehicle maintenance and washing! While here we have had time to reflect on our time in Russia - and here is a brief list of some of the many things we have learned in this interesting country:
Some cows know how to use a zebra crossing.
When you think you’ve found the worst toilet ever, another will come along and surpass your expectations.
When you think that no one would ever dare overtake the truck ahead, the six Russians behind you will.
How to order food using chicken impressions.
Playing ‘eye spy’ is difficult in Siberia. Once you’ve done trees, sky, grass and road there are few other options.
Although they tend to look unfriendly, Russians are usually extremely cheerful and helpful when you get talking to them.
There is a lot to be said for cheap Russian Vodka.
The ability to waft flies away from your backside whilst having a poo.
Bug guts are orange and they really mess up your windscreen.
Sometimes, if your vehicle lights don’t work then all you need to do is kick them.
Don’t sleep somewhere if there are bullet holes in the camp site sign.
Russia takes the word ‘pot hole’ to a new level.
Caviar flavour crisps taste like Russian toilets.
Cheese is rarely found.
Mosquitoes will bite you anywhere.
English language maps of Russia are pointless as all of the road signs are in Cyrillic.
Sleeping on the floor of an ambulance is remarkably comfortable.
The traffic in Irkutsk is worse than London.
Last night while camping on the shore of Lake Baikal, the weather took a turn for the worse so this morning we decided to press on to find somewhere else to stay. With the ambulances loaded with soaking laundy we trudged on through the driving rain until, by coincidence, we met up with teams Breakfast in Mongolia and Temujin at a service station. After a brief exchange of travel tales (Temujin and Breakfast had both gone through Kazakhstan) we set off again. Robin and Richard C decided to go on in the Breakfast ambulance and try to get as close to the Mongolian border as possible. The rest of us took a chilled drive into the city of Ulan Ude where we all treated ourselves to a night in the classiest hotel in town!