The wall of the bad smell hit me like a Rambo’s blow. After few minutes the thick air wall absorbed me and I became the part of the train community.
Another 30 hours on the train and the largest ride so far. Tired of big cities, I decided to skip Krasnoyarsk and go straight from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk. Spending the last weeks around Lake Baikal should be a good decision.
Irkutsk, is so far the most popular stop on the Trans-Siberian route. With Lake Baikal 70km away from the city, you can find numerous agencies to organize your trip there. If you are more independent, and want to visit Baikal all by yourself, please read my next posts to get to know how to do it.
If you travel by night trains, couple of nights in Irkutsk should be enough. Arriving early in the morning was always a “time saver” for me. There was never a problem to do early check in at any of the hostels. Take a shower, coffee and still enjoy the whole day in the city.
Thirty hours in the train can be fun but as well pain in the ass. So, this time I decided- for the first time- to take a taxi from the station to the hostel. Good choice Jules!- I thought when the taxi started moving. Hungry, sweaty and tired, I would die trying to reach the hostel on feet. When the car was crossing the bridge on the river Angara, which is separating Western part from Eastern, I was already charmed with its beauty. Spell has been broken as fast as it appeared, when I realized that the taxi driver is about to scam me.
When I left the taxi at the hostel, he asked me 500 RUB for the ride, where normally on the around 4km run, I should pay max 200 RUB. I was right. Damn you intuition, you are always right. Good thing is to trust it, really. I tried to tell to the driver that it’s too much. I even asked at the hostel and the receptionist only reaction was to dull her eyes and sadly shake her head. “It’s too much, but what can you do?”- she said. Well, I can do, just watch me.
I went outside, paid and left angry. In few minutes I found the taxi company site online. I contacted them through the site to make a complaint. I was smart enough to make pics of the taxi number, when my intuition said so. With calm, I explained the situation to the manager, gave him details of the taxi and asked if the price was right or not. In less than 30 min I had my money back! Finally the taxi should cost me 185 RUB and I got back 315 RUB. That’s a good dinner there huh or even a (almost) one night in the hostel.
Ok. it was not about money. It is about the rules. You don’t scam Jules, you just don’t…