Reading about this massive lake in Siberia called lake Baikal made me wonder. After having stayed in Ulaanbaaatar for a few weeks I decided that I was too close to the lake Baikal and I had to go there.
See the great photos of the frozen Baikal here A journey to Lake Baikal
The journey from Ulaanbaatar to the lake Baikal is more than 1200km, due to the time frame and that Susanne was not coming I decided on a bus and train ride there. Before I could leave Mongolia I needed a Russian visa which is infamous for being a hard nut. I read around on the internet and found the webpage of the Russian embassy in Ulaanbaatar. The web page contained the information I needed. First an invitation from Russia, was found here and then fill in the form from the embassy webpage, good to go. Went there and got the papers sorted, okay was not that easy because my invitation letter or tourist voucher as it is called had the wrong dates. After a few mixups as now it was Mongolian new years, the Tsagaan Sar, and banks were closed, paying was then difficult. In the end I got it and was very simple in fact only due to my own mixups made it a bit complicated, the employees at the embassy were very helpful and friendly.
With a borrowed backpack on my back packed with tent and needed equipment to explore the wild Siberia I jumped on the bus to Ulan Ude in Russia a 12hours bus ride, it has been a long time since I have been on a bus for this long not since Iran. Stayed a night at the Travellers House hostel in Ulan Ude. The next day I went to the train station and booked a ticket for the afternoon to Irkutsk. Yes Irkutsk a city I can really relate to Siberia and the trans Siberian railway. Had time to wander around Ulan Ude a city which is the capital of the Buryat region. A small city with nice wooden houses and likeable people. It is one of the few places in Russia where buddhism is a major religion.