After some great days in the Baikal region it was time to leave Russia.
As it turned out that my Graeme, my scottish roommate from Olkhon Island, was leaving Irkutsk on the same train as me, we decided to meet in front of the train station for having some beers together before our departure. What should happen then was one of the weirdest things I experienced so far.We were just about to buy some beer in the supermarket as some russian guys asked as where we are from. Then Graeme told them that he was from Scotland and suddenly he was their best friend. They told us that we shouldn’t buy any beer, because this is not good, but we should drink some vodka with them instead.
They invited us to their house and after shortly thinking about we decided to join them. Not knowing, what would happen there, we went up the stairs to one of the guys’ apartment. Inside the apartment they offered us some food and vodka, which where both very good.
One of them spoke some English and he told us stories about his life and family. It turned out that he and his friends were all police officers and already been fighting in several places as Chechnya and Northern Africa. Also they showed us their uniforms with several badges of honor on it. The english speaking guy invited us to stay at his house for some more days and also offered the possibility of having a shower as it was quite hot that day. Our biggest problem was that we didn’t know how to tell them that we need to leave, because we need to catch our train to Mongolia. One hour before the departure we put on our shoes and after packing all our things, we didn’t know how the get out the apartment, because one of the guys showed us the key and the door was still locked. After some minutes the door was open and we went downstairs with the three guys, that brought us to the train station. As we went down, they gave us some russian food in a plastic bag, so that we would have a snack on the train. That not enough, they wanted to invite us for another dinner at the train station.
Finally we said goodbye to them and went to our train…
On the train we met Nichlas, a guy from Denmark, that we already met some days earlier at Olkhon Island. Also Paul and Lisa, a couple from Ireland, were on the train. We spent some hours of talking before we went to bed. The night itself on the train was cold, but quiet. The next day we arrived in the early afternoon at Naushki, the russian city at the border to Mongolia. From there Graeme took several Taxis and Minibuses to Ulan Bator and arrived later in the evening. For the rest of us it was 5 hours waiting on the russian side of the border. Several passport and custom controls later we finally crossed the border.
On the mongolian side it was another two hours waiting for processing the immigration and waiting for some other trains. Finally we continued our journey to UB at 9pm, where we arrived at 6.30 the next morning. We were more then one hour late, but as we got picked up at the railway station, we didn’t have to care about anything.
Finally Nichlas and I arrived at the hostel at 7am. First person we met there was Graeme who arrived already some hours earlier.