East Baikal – Goriashinks and a sanatorium – trip and first impressions

The idea was to go to Ust-Barguzin but there were no more tickets for the only daily scheduled bus. The hostel owners tried to convince us to go by minibus at 6am with an extra fee from him taking us to the station for 100R (public transport would cost 20R). I did not like the idea and after discussing with Eva we decided to go only to Goriashinks, a 3-hour away village from Ulan-Ude in the same direction, instead of 5-hour bus. Without ticket we would try our luck at the bus station at 8am.

At 6am there was already noise of people arriving to the hostel. At 8am we were at the bus station, a minibus was about to leave to Goriashinks. The driver was nice enough to still go with us to the ticket booth but there were only places for the 11 o’clock scheduled bus. Outside the station I see two minibuses going to Barguzin who could leave us on our village. While calling for Eva one of them leaves. The other agrees to take us for 500R each. We knew it was expensive but we did not want to wait 3 hours.

At 8:40 he leaves, half-full. It goes until the train station. Almost no-one seems interested on going to East Baikal. At 9:45 the driver says me something ’30 minutes’. With the time passing I thought it would be at 10:30 that we would leave. Nothing happens. There were, meanwhile, people to almost fill-up the 15 places of the ‘Hyace’ which in my childhood was known to have only 9 or maximum 12 places. The remaining passengers chat or smoke or go to the toilet during all this time. No one asks the driver when he intends to leave, no one seems annoyed to be waiting.

At 11:00 there was order to sit down but, for other 10 minutes, already with the engine on, the driver does nothing. Our backpacks are on the roof, attached by ropes.

The trip begins, he creates a central lane in the city traffic. As soon as the bumps of the road start we feel the need of going to the toilet.

We stand for 2 hours until we stopped at a small restaurant to eat. Stree toilet, a hole-kind one as usual. We eat ‘buuzi’ and goulash in 5 minutes not to take more time than the others.

The minibus leave us at the crossing to Goriashinks. We walk and ask the way to the sanatorium. As soon we get in a lady – Tatiana I think beeing her name – says ‘parlez-vous francais?’ when she hear us. We answer that also english and german. She takes us to the reception and we see she want to help us. She asks to call to someone who would speak english. I speak with someone, I say we want 2 nights with breakfast and dinner. And shower. “Supper also?”, asks the person after exchanging the phone 2 times with Tatiana. We say yes and we see she understood ‘dinner’ as lunch. Our dictionary confirms – the translation for dinner is the same that for lunch: обед. Tatiana tells the receptionist our desires and her fills several papers.

With one of the papers and Tatiana we go to the finance department, a room at the end of the corrider where, with the price list and a calculator, they fill another form and prints out a receipt in the computer. We go now to the cash booth and exchange papers and money. It was 5600R, 60E/night full-board. We return to the reception to show that we paid and receive another paper and the room key. Tatiana follow us. She tells us in Russia where the restaurant is, times for the meals. We say our nationalities, jobs, trip. She asks our age and kids. Патом… She leaves us at the renovated room with bad quality furniture. The taps bad attached (if I had pliers…) worked badly.

We walked in the surrounding forest, we found a marked trail which finished abruptly. We like to be surrounded by forest.

For dinner in the disorganized canteen we had a small meal. The russians eat in 10 minutes and we are the last to leave. We go to walk until the lake, impressing. Sandy beach and also river stones. Trails of jeeps which pass time to time. We see the sunset behind the mountaints the other side of the lake and we throw stones to the water.
When we return there is music in the ‘club’. The social place of the sanatorium where you can rent everything from balls, bycicles, DVD reader, iron, etc. In one room people dance at 70s music. The dance very bad (like me) and there are no drinks. Before sleep we still go to the bar, the other side of the reserve, drink a bad Bulgarian wine. The price is per 100ml but the glass is 200ml. Russian logic.

P.S. from Eva: I just added the photo of “Bathhouse 2”.