Thursday, May 26, 2016
Since Katherine is leaving soon we decided we should go somewhere that we wouldn't be able to get to when we left Russia. Since we heard amazing things about Baikal, and it's deep in Siberia, we thought it would be probably the only time in our lives we'd be able to go (for "cheap"). We left on the 25th and it started off really shaky. On our flight from Ufa to Moscow there was a very drunk man who tried got up as the plane was still ascending into the air, practically fell on a woman, and tried to go into the bathroom to smoke. The flight attendants didn't seem to be too concerned so that was reassuring.
My friend, Dima, picked us up from the airport and then took us on a tour of Irkutsk. Driving around I fell in love with the buildings of the city and there was so much amazing graffiti. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the graffiti I saw in the beginning, and we didn't get a chance to go back the rest of the trip. Dima showed us some really cool places in the city and knew so much about it's history. He took us to a harbor with these decrepit boats. I was fascinated by these boats. I felt like they are something I'd see in the middle of an apocalypse, and the placid surroundings only added to the mood. On our way back to the car there were two guys who needed help. Their car battery died and they needed help restarting it. However, neither of them had jumper cables, so they actually took the cords from their speakers and made cables from that! I was amazed that it would actually work! I think that was probably the 5 Year Story for the trip, besides the abandoned sanatorium we went to!
Dima then took us to Вкус Неба because it had a nice view of the city. Afterwards, we went to the shore and then walked around 130 Kvartal, which is the historical center of Irkutsk, but not necessarily the most exciting place to be. Then we went to the former Irkutsk State Linguistic University to take pictures of the graffiti around the campus.
Jet lag hit Katherine and I really hard, so we went back to our hostel to take a nap. Our hostel had the cutest cat who came and took a nap with us. We were both pretty sure this cat was part dog. It acted so much like a cat, and that's probably the reason we both really liked it.
Katherine woke up pretty late and by that time we were hungry. We walked to a cafe and then walked along the river shore. We didn't do much else that night probably because we were still getting over the jet lag. One thing you should know if you visit Irkutsk its that there is a Green Line Walking Tour which is a self paced tour showing you the main tourist points in the city. In some places its hard to see where the line is, but it's definitely worth walking especially if you don't have a local to show you around.