Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 82: Lake Baikal

We were all silent as we took down our makeshift camp and loaded the bikes to leave the Island of Ol’Chon. It is by far the most beautiful place that Poor Circulation has visited so far. If we ever experiences other places that can compare to this, ….. then we will count ourselves to be very fortunate indeed.

We’d covered just over 10,000 miles to reach this place and on our way back to the mainland Rik and I had a special treat in store for Alan. Unwilling to risk further falls on the sandy tracks, Alan had missed the opportunity to travel with Rik and myself to Nikita’s the previous day. Nikita is a former Russian Olympian who has developed his large home on Ol’Chon into an oasis for overland travellers. It is famous for it’s hospitality and the sheer beauty of it’s location, … and rightly so.

From the rear of a complex of buildings that Nikita lets out to travellers there is quite simply one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on this earth. A lush grass slope runs down to a sheer cliff overhangs Lake Baikal below. Single trees stand upright against the force of gravity and mirror a tall white rock rising proudly and defiantly from the silent, still and pure blue waters of the lake. The cows and crickets make the only noise here and if any people do enter this area, …. they do so in voluntary silence. It is spectacular and mind blowing, …. you can only stand in silence whilst admiring one of natures finest offerings and absorbing all that you can see and feel.

On this leaving day I led Alan along the better of the roads and took him as close to Nikita’s as possible. We were within fifty meters of Nikita’s when I finally stopped the bike and invited him to walk down to the cliff with me. Unfortunately Alan felt that it would be better is we made our way back to the ferry and onto the mainland as quickly as possible. It’s difficult to describe exactly how disappointed I felt at that precise moment, .. not for myself but for Alan. I was excited about seeing his expression when this amazing sight unfolded before him, ….. we’d ridden more than 10,000 miles and Alan had the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience one of the finest locations in the world.

I’ve had several accidents over the years and I can really empathise with the fact that Alan’s lost some confidence. We’re riding heavy bikes on marginal roads but I hope that over the coming days he can overcome this and begin to relax more and enjoy the journey. We always knew that riding around the world would not be the easiest thing to do and that the roads across Russia would at times be difficult, …. so it’s just something that we’ve both just got to get on with.

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