When I was arranging this three night trip to Olkhon Island all those months ago when I was back home, it was the one I was most excited about. Well, it didn’t disappoint! I booked my minibus taxi in the town, and they came to pick me up on the Saturday morning. There was only one guy in the van when it picked me up, Trevor from England. We then went on to pick up a further group of people, along with all their huge rucksacks, but we managed to squeeze them in. Packed in like sardines, to our dismay we stopped at another hostel, with two further guys and all their gear! It was a crazy squash but we did it, and we’d certainly be getting to know each other very well over our 6 hour journey! Fourteen people and all their gear were packed into this what I think was probably a 12 seat minibus! (The driver certainly didn’t like to hang around either! Although his speedo was broken so I’m not quite sure exactly how fast he was going, but he was overtaking everything in sight!)
At the ferry point
My first find at the place we had booked to stay!
Nikita’s Homestead was where I had booked my 3 nights, and at first I was worried because nearly all of the minivan guys I’d got to know over the last 6 hours were staying at another place, and I had enjoyed their company (I got in the bubble!) and I was worried I’d made the wrong choice, and so I very nearly changed my mind at the last minute, but I thought no, Nikita’s is where I wanted to stay all those months ago I’m going to stick with it. I needn’t have worried one bit though, Nikita’s was lovely, a group of beautiful wooden buildings with guests from all over the world.
After checking in, I met a Swiss girl Silja, who had literally just arrived before me. We were sharing the same room, and got on so well that in fact we spent the whole of the next three days together!
The atmosphere at Nikita’s was fantastic, everyone was so friendly, the staff very helpful, and the food was plentiful with good tasty choices. I was also in my element, the place was heaving with cats and dogs! I particularly took a shine to the little white kitten…..could have popped him in my rucksack!
On the first evening Silja and I went to the on site French Bistro, and drank some very welcome glasses of hot mulled wine. Bliss.
On the Sunday we booked to go on s tour to the Northern cape of the island. It was an extremely bumpy ride, as there are no roads on the island, only dirt tracks. At least they were generous with the seating numbers in this one!
A few pics from the tour of the island
A funny little bit of driftwood with a face!
Cow on the beach!
People here tie little bits of material to the trees as shamanic offerings
They also leave coins and cigarettes as offerings
Seals on the rocks
Our driver made us a lovely fish soup for lunch
Apparently if you throw stones at the big rock you will get a husband (or wife, whichever your preference!)
I am quite ashamed at this blatantly obvious ‘girl throw’!
You even get to choose the kids!
Bit of a better throw!
Back at Nikita’s, I find another friend….
On the Monday Silja and I went to a cooking class with a lovely lady called Marsha. She taught us how to make varenikki. We made dough which was similar to pasta, and the filling, although I was a little unsure at first on hearing what it would be, cabbage and egg….was actually delicious!
In the afternoon we went on a two hour horse riding trek. It was lovely trotting through the woods, over the hills and along the dirt tracks on the island, taking in the views around us. The guy that took us was a bit miserable and just disappeared at the end without saying a word! Oh well, we enjoyed it even if he didn’t!
A few more pictures from out and as bout on the island, and the views from the hill on the last night.
The room we shared
This is by far my favourite bit of the trip so far. I would love to come back to Olkhon Island in the winter, when the lake freezes with ice 1-3 metres thick! Apparently it freezes so clear though, that it doesn’t even look like it’s frozen! Brave are those who drive across it, especially as apparently you can hear the ice cracking and creaking as you drive across it. Even though this is normal and is pretty safe, I would be terrified!