Baikal

Staying in the tiny village of Baikalsk with my host, we woke early-ish to catch a bus to the next town to catch a train to Port Baikal.

Enjoyed a breakfast of pelmany (dumplings) whilst gazing at the mountain view.

Lake Baikal is still iced over, but starting to melt (so no walking on ice for me).

Innokentiy took me to the supermarket to stock up on snacks, they stocked cans of horse meat!

Staying in the tiny village of Baikalsk with my host, we woke early-ish to catch a bus to the next town to catch a train to Port Baikal.

Enjoyed a breakfast of pelmany (dumplings) whilst gazing at the mountain view.

Lake Baikal is still iced over, but starting to melt (so no walking on ice for me).

Innokentiy took me to the supermarket to stock up on snacks, they stocked cans of horse meat!

Apparently this is the guy who came up with the idea of the Transiberian railroad.

Pretty amazing views from the train as it trundles alongside the lake’s edge.

When I did manage to peel my eyes away from the view and look out the other window I noticed tiny little settlements.

We arrived at Port Baikal where we would be staying the night.

Had a little explore, the temperature changes here were really weird, you’d be walking along quite comfortable, then all of a sudden you would hit a pocket of cold. Like walking through ghosts!

The water here is said to be drinkable straight from the lake. That may have been true at some point in time, but when you see the locals littering the shore and throwing fag butts into the clear waters…I wasn’t about to drink it!

It was so peaceful here, exactly how I imagined. I could have stayed standing here staring out at the water and mountains, listening to the ripples of the water and the cracking of the ice melting for a good hour.

Innokentiy wanted to show me around a bit.

This is where lake Baikal ends and the river begins, this bit never freezes, which is lucky as they closed the road from Port Baikal to Irkutsk. So you have to take a little boat over to the other side to take the bus!

Now, I would consider myself a fairly responsible traveler, as in, I do a bit of research about the country I’m going to to find out if I need certain vaccinations from any nasties. I did this research and it showed we don’t need anything.

I learned from my host that in Siberia there are ticks that may be infected with encephalitis. Which, if you look it up, is a bloody horrific thing to be infected with as it eats away at your brain cells. Scary. Obviously, I’m not vaccinated against this. And sure enough, a bloody tick landed on me! I freaked out a little bit. I like my brain. I like it functioning. I didn’t get bitten, but you don’t feel these buggers land on you OR bite you, so by the time you’ve found them with their heads buried under your skin, it’s too late.

Tried to enjoy the view of the sun setting over Baikal, whilst constantly checking my coat and trousers for ticks!

Finally made it back out of the grass and to our ‘hotel’ which is also the train station, as I discovered in the night when trains sit outside chugging the engine and tooting their whistles regardless of the fact it’s 3am.

I jumped into the shower as soon as we were checked in and examined myself for ticks. There were none! Thank goodness. My brain is safe, for now.

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Dunedin to the Catlins

There’s a Cadburys World in Dunedin, it didn’t escape us!





We weren’t allowed to take our phones in to take pictures-making chocolate is top secret! 
We were given a bar or chocolate in each room. New Zealander chocolate.


We were informed (by the Cadbury World guide) that the train station in Dunedin is the second most photographed landmark in the world. The first being Sydney Opera House. We dutifully had our picture taken with it…



It was then time to leave Dunedin, and head for the Catlins.

Didn’t take long until we found a scenic route and walk.



Everytime we stop somewhere I’m always glad we did. Everywhere is awesome and unique.



This is Tunnel beach, as the only way to get to the beach is through a tunnel! Ingenious.






We had been tipped off by a fellow traveler, Callum, who was driving around the country in the opposite direction, that Cannibal Bay was a good spot for getting pretty close to the sea lions.






We had planned to stay in a campsite on the other side of this beach point, Newhaven, but when we turned up it was closed. The closest place was Surat Bay Lodge.



We took a romantic walk on the beach as the sun went down…








Temple Run

I booked a tour to take me to the Angkor temples, pick up at a reasonable 8am, not so reasonable when you woke at 5am.
After much faffing about at the tour office, we were finally loaded into mini vans and taken to the temple ticket office.
One horrible photo later I have my day pass. 

Arrived at the temple, Angkor Wat, our guide gave us a brief history.



This wall carving represents a story of Hinduism using snake and mountain to churn the sea to dry it up to get holy water.





We were then taken to the hall of 1000 Buddha statues. Except there are now about 40 left and they are mainly missing heads and hands which makes them pretty creepy looking.




Swimming pool of the gods.

We were left to wander around a bit.






The tour said it would provide water, with the amount I drink I wasn’t going to rely on that. I’m glad I didn’t. 


We did stop in the shade for a drink, not included. An ice cold coconut was called for! 



We then moved onto the next temple.

The Tomb Raider temple.








A carving of a ‘dinosaur’.
Onto the temple with all the heads, Bayon.



Some Buddhist monks were visiting the temple.

 The tour guide took some funny photos of us with the faces.


Buddha with a rather disturbing make up job. 


Last stop, temple to watch the sunset.
And elephants.


This last temple is a 15 minute walk up a hill, then up some steep steps, onto the top. 



That was me done for the day! 
Waited about 3 hours to watch the sun go down. Can’t say it was really that impressive. Glad I’ve done it.


Real treat was when I walked back down the hill, the elephant was still there and the tour guide took pictures of me with her! 



Made my day.
Was a really good tour group, everyone chatted with one another and took a shine to the solo female traveler. With most of them encouraging me to keep traveling as long as I can! 
Don’t mind if I do!
Finally made it back to the hostel completely cream crackered, went in the shower with my clothes on seeing as they needed washing too!
Once I’d freshened up, went across the road to have some food, ordered a Khmer curry. Honestly, the best meal I’ve had since being in Asia! 


Sooo good!
Now I’ve refueled, time to have a look into where I want to go once my time in Siem is over…