Tuesday, June 30, 2009
But we, the "Stolen Car Project" working on it! We means a lot of people and we really have to say Tank you to all of them.
No details now. But today we had some hope, lets see what happen next.
Translated versions, not perfect but understandable:
Now we are living like Homeless Santa Claus and his wife. But there are nice people and we are couch surfing through Irkutsk.
Before the car was stolen we were one week together with my parents. It was really nice. Later more since I am not really in the mood now to write so much.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Grey streets impossible, white streets off-road experience, yellow streets you can go at least 50 km/h, and Red you have Asphalt
13th to 14th
After asking 5 people for the way to Juri Panovs, the sculptors, house we finally found it. In front of the house are three or four wooden columns and from each maybe 5 or more faces looking on you. You can see that he mostly used the already natural existent shapes of the tree. But each face has really strong expression and one almost look like a BORG from the spaceship enterprise. The neighbour Алексеи told us that Juri Panov died 8 months ago.. He looked like "Popey", stripped to the waist, with a French cap on his head. "Mr. Popey" asked us to come in his garden where he is building his own wooden ship. The ship looks like the once in the cartoons (You know this East German one, Abrafaxe or how was it written?). The ship is 18 m long and has two mast with the heigth of 8 m. Next year in the winter he is planning to transport it down to the Ангара, first over his potato field, then over the fence (:), and down the village road to the river. It is really impressing what he made by himself the last 6 years. If there is no wind he will use an old tractor engine. He is pensioner and his hobby is Siberian handicraft, like cups made from birch bark, and building his own ship. Kotomi wanted to have the birch cups we bought some and asked him for the way we wanted to go to the island Олхон. He explained us it is a bad road but possible. Nevertheless there is a national park but if you want to drive there just tell them you want to meet my friend Виктор. Well, I thought would be a nice idea and in my map the road was printed grey. In the legend they just say unpaved road. We went to the entry point of the park close to the village черемшанка.
At the ranger house I carefully opened the door to the garden since I am afraid of the dog but nobody is there. But the barking of the dog made them come out. The rangers girlfriend was just making some kind of Piroschki, flour filled with fish and Onion. She was speaking quite good English and invites us to come in to have some. I explain where we want to go but it seems we could go in even without the written permission of the park director (:). But it would not help us since the grey road is impossible at least in this time of the year. It is just a winter road and now we would just stuck in the middle of the mountains somewhere in the mud. Well after chatting and talking we go back to
The morning is very nice and we almost decide to stay one more day until a lot of horseflies want to eat us, but especially Kotomi. This makes us easy to decide to go on to the north. Before we ask at the petrol station if it is possible, she looks at our car and say yes. First there are just deep tracks of the trucks which transport the wood but since it is dry it is possible. Going on it starting to be holes filled with water but still hard underground. After maybe 20 km it gets more hard to find the way and we often almost stuck in the holes which have a muddy underground now. That is the first time I am really happy that we bougth the Landcruiser that can lock all diffrentials separately. In
12th of June:
After almost two weeks living in the nature having almost everyday our fire and a peacefull place at the Baikal, some river, or just being invited somewhere in the village, we coming back to the "reality". Already on the way between Ust Bargusin and
We went to the Mongolian consulate. They are very friendly and they also could speak English. It was good that we did not dry to apply for the Visa in Ulan Ude, as they were quite stoic. If you wait 1 week you have to pay around 1500 RUB (ca. 35 EUR); we wait 2 weeks which is 1020 Rubel (ca. 23 EUR). Well as usual we went for shopping vegetables .... and some beer sitting on a big place where they made some kind of music dancing contest. From Russian Kosak dance, Arabic belly dance, Buriat, to Techno they had everything. We did not want to stay here for the nigth so we decided to go to Больжой Речка, where some sculptor is/was living. The village is at the Ангара the only river that is flowing out of the Байкал. All the other rivers flowing into the Байкал. We found a nice but cold place at the Ангара where also a lot of other people, I guess from
Monday, June 15, 2009
7th of June:
After a really rainy night we started to the
Gerd asked me how we like the roof tent so far. Basically it is really nice. It is like a home. You open it in a minute and you have your home sweet home everywhere you go. Buuuut......, we had to learn some things.
1. Never buy the Chinese product. Maybe everybody knows but although the one German company which is selling this tent gets it from
2. It gets really noisy and we are sometimes afraid to fly away if there is heavy wind. In this case I cover it now with an additional strong plastic sheet. Do not take a thin one it will be noisy to.
3. Isolation: well in the cold areas we had the problem that the mattress was quite wet below in the morning. We were hot (:) the bottom of the tent cold, where warm and cold air meets you have condense water. I bought additional isolation mats, you the one you use in tent. I changed the order of all components several times until I got the best order. Now the mattress is not wet anymore.
I do not know other roof tents of this kind but maybe some of the problems you will also have. The two
But I still think it was a good decision to buy the roof tent (:).
8th to 9th of June:
We visited Eva and Andrei in their house. They moved there 4 or 5 years ago and when they started there was nothing. The previous owner was drinker and he sold everything from inside the house what he could carry. Doors, parts of the oven .... If you look at the house now it is a really warm and cozy place. Kotomi just wanted to have such a house and she almost forced me to promise that we build a Banja some day in
It was really interesting to talking with both of them. Andrei’s gandgrandfather was living close to
Andrei had to go to work early so he went to bed and I was talking with Eva almost until 2 in the morning while Kotomi was checking e-mails. During talking we recognised a lot of things we both like although we are not the same star sign (:). We also talked about problems they have. Both made there own place really nice and giving their heart into the place. However it is hard to make friends. Also Andrei’s friends from the village are not living there anymore. Everybody who studied did not come back. Only Andrei, who want to take care about his family and of course he likes his motherland, came back to Ust Bargusin. Actually that is the same that happens in my hometown or also in the small cities of
However, world problems or discrimination was just an interesting topic. We enjoyed the time at Eva’s and Andrei’s place very much.
Thank You, Arrigato (:)
10th to 11th:
We stayed one more day at the nice
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I got the question from Gerd who is asking if the places we go are also possible for backpackers. Around Ust Bargusin it is a really nice place for backpackers too. You can go to Moskau and from there to Ulan Ude and then take a bus to here. From there you can hitch hike to the national park and the
Gerd also asked how about to join our trip? Of course that would be nice. We have only one problem and we regret this already, we took out both of our back seats and put Diesel tanks, something like a shelf with boxes, and a lot of Japanese food. That means if somebody wants to join, which we would really like, she/he has to rent a car or driver or something, or he has to sit on the roof (:). For now the plan is to be in
2nd to 3rd of June:
Ok now to the hike; this is possible for everybody who comes to Ust Bargusin as backpacker. There are also other hiking possibilities, like some
Going down next day was even harder and we also need almost 6 hours. Especially the steep part is not funny. I wished to have the paraglide with me. Anyway we had to walk and also down we needed a lot of water. But after that we just went to the sand beach made our camp and a fire and jumped in the water of the Baikal.
One thing: the view in June is always a little bit dusty. Eva told me in July it would be better and clearer. So if you want to go here it is better in July. I enjoyed also this time and we had still snow at the top which is also pretty nice.
5th to 7th of June:
After the hike we were going to the Bargusin valley. Anyway we had to go to Bargusin because we were running out of money. Eva told us that this is the only close place which has a Bankomat (Cash dispenser). It is true but we came too late for the Bank, it was already closed. In the Magasin they had one too, but it is only working at the opening hours of the bank. Since it was Friday we had to stay around Bargusin until Monday.
Eva told us it is better to go along the east side of the Bargusin valley where you have a nice view in the valley. We decided to use the biggest road in our map. But almost all bridges are broken so we had to cross the river with the car. Some we could not cross because it was to sandy and muddy. Through the street already grass and flowers were crowing and left and right the meadows were full with white, purple, and yellow flowers. We went in the mountains to the east and suddenly a nice rock formation appeared N 53.64433°, E 110.01958°. Here we stayed the night.
Next morning we were driving through the
At N 53.70007°, E 110.06493° you have a nice view over the valley. In the west the snow caped mountains and in the foreground a stone which is a holy shaman point for the Buriat people. The stone is framed with a fence that is almost covered with blue and yellow bands. Andrei explained me later the meaning of these bands. The bands will always move in the wind, it is like the Tibetan prayer wheels, as long as they are moving your wish our pray never stops. And Eva told me the Buriat story about this place:
When the Buriats came first time with there cows in this valley and wanted to leave it in autumn, before the cold winter approaches, one bull did not want to go out of the valley. They forced him several times to leave the valley but he always went back. Finally he became this stone. The "holy spirit", who is living now at this place, is the protector from all living creatures in the valley.
The basic difference between the Shamanism and the Buddhism are the places. In the Buddhism you often have a temple. In case of the Shamanism there is a holy place, mostly mountain, or natural point, where some kind of "holy spirit" is living. The Shaman can connect to this spirit. One of such places we found here N 54.09127°, E 110.11263° (Eva can you please check in Google earth if this is the mountain you were looking for. Is this the mountain where you get holy for one year if you climb it? If it is the mountain please tell me the name!). Along the road we saw a lot of cars, these blue bands in the trees, a small white Buddhist Stupa, and we heard some sounds. We were wondering why so many people gather around here. We stopped; just curious what is going on. We were walking through the trees with the bands and reached an open place in the middle of the trees, where you could sometimes see a mountain through a hole in the black clouds. The people, almost all Buriats, were sitting in a half circle, looking in the direction of the mountain. In the same direction maybe 5 or more Shamans were playing a drum. They wear the same wicks as we saw it in the Buddhist temple in Ingolstwing. Somehow it reminds at an Indian ceremony (at least in my imagination). It was a big half circle maybe 200 people, Kotomi guessed, I thought it were 100, but I am not that good at guessing. The shamans playing the drum and repeating some words or something like that. After some time the Shamans turned around 90 degree and looking in this other direction, while all people in the half circle followed this movement. Each move around 90 degree was followed by rising up some gifts for the "holy spirit" and rotating it. The gifts were: all kind of food, cookies, bread, sweets or very often you could see them holding an open bottle of Vodka. Everybody was wearing a cap, some just take an old plastic bag, some just put a leather handbag on the head. When I was talking with Eva later she explained me that they have to cover the head in respect to the "holy spirit". (It is funny for the same reason we should take of the cap in a Christian church) The ceremony includes not only all four directions, it also includes the direction of the mountain, the direction of the sky and the earth. During the ceremony it was getting darker because of the rain clouds that were concentrating around the mountain. In the end the Shamans were reading/singing a list of hand written wishes (we guessed). It was funny the one Shaman had to stop sometimes since he could not read what the people wrote. After the ceremony was finished the people went home really fast and it started to rain. All those things together, let me feel very mystic in this moment. Later the mountains were also sometimes in the clouds and it suddenly start to rain. Still it was quite impressive and who knows maybe there is really some “Holy Spirit” living at/in that mountain.
After the ceremony a policemen, I asked him the day before for the direction in Bargusin, came to us. First I did not recognised him but Kotomi did. Soon 4 or 5 policemen were around our car and wanted to know what we are doing, where we come from, and where we are going. They did not ask as policemen’s they were just interested. All of them looked like Buriat and joined the ceremony before. They explained that the ceremony was only Shamanism and not Buddhist. Eva told me that it is often complicated to know which is Shamanism or Buddhism. The people mix both and do not think about it. They just do it as their parents have done. However, the policemen told us that water of the spring at this place is very healthy. I asked is it hot? They said "no, but if you drive always straight and do not follow the asphalt then you will reach after 50 or 80 km or xx km some hot springs, nu just drive straight .... and you will see". Ok and that was our plan for the next day, since we had to stay in the valley at least until Monday when the Bank is open again and we can get money to buy a Diesel to go back to Ust Bargusin.
PS.: I am always slow at writing and behind Kotomi but sometimes there is no time for writing, sounds strange but ist like that (:)
Monday, June 8, 2009
|From Tokyo to East Baikal|
To select this pictures took us almost half a day, just for you (:). Enjoy and travel with us!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
25th – 26th N 52.53691°, E 107.08783°: Well we stayed close to the beautiful village where Иван is living. The nights were cold and windy. We were sleeping long and the at first we had to find a place which is wind protected. We found a nice place in the forest and still could see Baikal. The forest is full of these pink flowers and the "Baikal ocean" has white crests. It is beautiful but cold and we decide for a walk along the shore maybe we can see some Baikal seals. The neighbours of Иван a father and his two sons are fishermen. They told us the day before that close to the village they can see sometimes the Baikal seal, the only fresh water seal in the world. They also wanted to sell us the skin of the baby seal which they coincidentally caught with their fisher net. Thanks but we do not need! But they asked us if we want to have smoked fish, because they will smoke (:) next day. Well that is what we did in the afternoon we went there to see how they make and to buy some of the fish. Of course they wanted that we buy all. This would be 30 fishes which are really too much. Anyway we had to try 3 different kind Омуль (Omul) which is something like a salmon. I liked this one most; it is really tasty and a little bit oily. The two others are Хариус (Harius) and Окунь (Okun); do not ask me for German or English names I do not know. I just know that you can find Омуль only here in the Baikal. The smoking is simple; make a fire and above this put a metal plate on which you put a small metal box. On the ground of the box you can put chips of your favorite wood from apple, cherry or …. trees. In the box is a metal mesh where the fishes are put, 20-30 min from time to time put some water below the cover of the box, that is all. I remember in
The father and the two almost grown up boys live from the lake and the fishing. The mother is working as a nurse in the city Ulan Ude (around 150 km). She comes back only one time the month. If there are no tourists who buy the fish, which may happen only in the short summer, then they feed their huge scary dog with it (of course not scary for Kotomi, the dog got very peaceful and forgot to protect the house (:) while playing with her).
27th N 53.05555°, E 108.32648°: Since the
28th to 30th N 53.30017°, E 108.66704°: 28th morning we tried the hot springs. Unfortunately the hot spring was closed but it seemed they prepare for the coming season. The only thing we could do was to put our feet in a small rinse of hot water. The area seems not to be private operated and if you ask something they just say Я не знаю .... не работает .... (I do not now …. It is not working) or something like that maybe, at 6 a clock…. or tomorrow … not at weekends, but it was in the middle of the week. Anyway we decided not to look for places anymore which are described in the book it is better just to go somewhere and take the chances as they come. However, we were waiting in the car; it was snowing outside, for the promised Sauna at 6 pm. But finally it was not open and somebody else said we need reservation. A friendly guy, who is working for the sports center in one of the thousand properly signed buildings told us a place of a Banja outside the area. Unfortunately also this was …. не работает .... So we left the Курорт (Kurort, like in German for health resort or Spa) Горячинск and were driving in the direction of Уст Баргузин (Ust Bargusin). There is a national park and a penisula with promising nice nature. As always, around 8 to 9 pm we found our sleeping place, which is really incredible, wind protected and view to a sand beach with pine, birch and larch trees in an ocean of flowers. Looking over the lake we can see sometimes the snow covered mountains which suddenly show up in the middle of the clouds and disappear some minutes later. Those are the mountains from "Heilige Nase" I do not know in English maybe "holy nose". Whatever, try to find with Google Maps and the GPS coordinates I gave you at the beginning. We made again a fire. This time I remembered a back country trip with my cousin Thomas in the
29th it is not so cold anymore the sky clears up until the evening with an sunset that let us feel like floating in a river of thousand colors. For me it is a lot even so I am partially colorblind. For Kotomi it was more, she was almost exploding at that evening, she could not believe it, green and pink and all the colors which look almost grey for me. All this with the snow capped mountains of the Bargusin valley in the background. Well this was the evening, but what did we do at the day time, she was writing blog and I had this idea to have a Banja directly at the Baikal. I was all the time looking for something like that to have the opportunity to go directly after the Banja in the lake, sorry ocean. As always she thought it will not work (:). Nevertheless, I wanted to try to build my own Banja and just see if it is not working or working. So I used an big plastic sheet to build something like a tent, then I made a big fire and heat up a lot of big stones, which I got from the beach. When they are yellow put them in the tent (be careful (:), the grass is burning fast, so put some water before) and ready is your self made Banja. Sit inside relax if you can and throw some water from time to time on the hot stones. It is working great, I used the stones three times, going in the Baikal for swimming which is not so cold anymore and enjoy again the hot steam in your private Banja at any place you want (:). I was so happy, it is a small thing and sounds maybe weird for you, but having my Banja at this place was just great. Well (30th) today we stay here one more day reading, cooking and enjoying the sun and the warm wind at this peaceful place.
Now I think maybe also heaven can be sometimes warm, not only hell. The days before, I thought heaven must be cold since it is the opposite of hell. (:)
31th of Mai N 53.40644°, E 108.9878 °: we made our way to Ust Bargusin as we had nothing to eat anymore. We choose one of the thousands Magasins and since it is weekend we also allow us some beer. The town looks like a village with wide streets. It seems like it wanted to be a town, but finally, the architects decide to build village houses beside that wide streets. Anyway I like those wooden houses more than the concrete metal glass city buildings. Having our food we drove to the beach which is really amazing. I know it sounds strange everyday something beautiful, can this really be true. As long as you stay at the Baikal it seems so. We just sit on the white sand beach, having our weekend beer. Close to us are some grandparents, their daughter and grandson enjoying the sunset over the Baikal. The grandmother is sitting on a fishing boat, which is on the beach. We somehow started to communicate and she told me that she never left the village. We both come to the conclusion that this here is the nicest place in the world, no need to go somewhere else. It seems her daughter does not feel the same. Maybe she is around 25 and she is obviously bored from this "stupid" nature. With her big city outfit her Tokyo Sunglasses and a fake shiny leather jacket she really does not fit in this place. Later on I met a guy at the beach who is grilling some Omul at the fire. In the background is his big American truck, which he is using as his beach ghetto blaster. His hometown is Ust Bargusin, where he comes one time the month. The other time he is on the road between Sankt Petersburg and
While Kotomi is preparing Thai Curry with chicken a married couple is approaching with their 4x4 and enjoys the last minutes of the sunset. Kotomi greets them with Здраствуите (Hallo) and they come to us asking the usual questions and observing interested our car, roof tent and kitchen. They invite us to their home. We tell them that the beach is so nice and we set up already everything for the evening. "It would be better for us to come tomorrow". Well and that is what we will do next day, we will visit Оля и Валере.
1st of June N 53.41757°, E 109.02075°: Before we go to Оля и Валери we want to visit Eva, a German we met some days ago, in the Visitor centre of the
While we were talking suddenly the door opens and a sunburned guy with wild hair maybe in his forties and his Hippy-like girlfriend or maybe wife step in. They are Germans too, just coming from
Eva says: "there is no street .... !"
"Isn't there a dirt road ?....."
Eva: "no there are mountains .... ,"
"... where is the supermarket ?" (Actually outside you can find thousands of Magasins (:))
... and so on and on ........
Later we decided to call them Mister and Misses Hectic, because they were so fast that we even could not get there names. I wonder how they travelled through all these countries, just in a rush never have a time to feel and understand the people. I think in their mind they are still in
Оля и Валере:
The day before, they invited us to their home. They are also living in such a double house like Eva. The difference is that they totally renewed their part. Inside everything is in western style, wide screen TV, new kitchen, everything new. The bath is in Turkish style with golden ornaments and the shower is all electronic, but they can not use now because they do not know how to operate the electronic. And it is funny they still use their Siberian toilette which is outside the house and just a hole in the garden where you put a small wooden house over it. Both are around 50 and their kids are already married. The two sons are living in Sankt Petersburg and Ulan Ude. Оля and Валере import clothing from
2nd N 53.62197°, E 108.92251°: In the morning we meet Eva again since she told us that her Russian friend, who is studying in the USA and is visiting now, also want to go to the same mountain on the Peninsula Holy Nose as we want to go. But somehow they did not show up and were not sure anymore if they want to go to the mountain or the Hot Spring. Therefore, we start alone. First you have to take a small ferry from Ust Bargusin to cross the river.This reminds at a story when i was 5 years old and travelling with my parents:
That time we were travelling with our old Russian Lada in
After the ferry it is just 1 km until the entry of the national park. Here you have to pay an entry fee. Two park ranger stopping us asking for the passport and how long we were travelling at the Baikal. After web told them that we are here around 1 1/2 week they starting to calculate somethhing. In the end there is a number of almost 3000 Rubel. Nice try, funny cute old guys. They are really nice but they wanted to be clever. I try to explain them that I do not understand why I should pay for the days outside the park. So if I would be 4 weeks outside the park and then coming one day in the park theyy would charge 4 weeks and a day !?!? (:) That is funny. So I told them we will stay four days. Which makes 50 Rubel per person per day and the car which is 100 Rubel. Finally we paid 500 Rubel. Anyway my wallet was empty since we could not get a money in Ust Bargusin. So 500 was all they could get. But still I like that two guys even they tried to cheat. After that you are driving on a natural bridge made of sand and marsh around 25 km to the peninsula. There we stayed the nigth at a really clean and nice river aclose to some shaman point, where everybody drops some coins or cigaretts or puts a blue band in the tree.
In the evening Sascha is passing by the first time. He gives us some Omul and say he will come back later since he has to go back to Ust Bargusin. The dried Omul is half raw so we decide to grill it at the fire. On the way back he drop by again and we are sitting at the fire. We offer him some tea and although he would prefer Vodka he enjoy the tea with us. He told us that he drives for the fishing company and complaining about the small salary he gets. After that he went to small village Glinka. This is actually the starting point for the next days hike. Everybody told us we should not put the car there because the people are not so good there. But Sascha is really nice and we decide we will park the car there. Also Eva just said to me: "Only the people who woory will get a problem." So I decide not to worry.
Another day I will write about the hike it is enough for now. Just one thing: I got a SMS from my friend Rudi while sitting on top of some mountain peaceful silence and around me I could see everywhere the Baikal and in the West the suns set. Isn't it a strange coincidence that I get this SMS from friend with whom I enjoy backcountry skiing and mountains. Anyway here the SMS: "Hallo M&K, gibt es auch Bilder zu deinem Blog, ich fand es sehr interessant zulesen, kannst am Ende ein Buch rausmachen -:) Viele Gru?e an Alle und gute Reise, Rudi
@Home: Wir hatten kein Geld mehr auf unserer Telefonkarte. D.h. da wir in einer anderen Zone in Russland sind und unsere Karte in Vladivostok registriert ist konnte uns niemand anrufen da wir da auch was zahlen müssen. Wir hatten nur in den kleinen Orten keine Möglichkeit das Ding aufzuladen.
@Rudi: We hope we will have a fast Internet in some days so we will try to upload some pictures. And later in
@Mutti: Jetzt ist es schon warmer auch wenn es ab und zu mal regnet. Vegetarisch essen vor allem auf dem Trip mit den Buriaten ist sicher möglich heißt aber das man alles von Irkutsk mitschleppen muss, da Sie sich sonst eigentlich anders erbähren.