Having spent 300$ on train tickets crossing half of Russia we needed to get back on track with our 10$/person/day budget and got off the train in Ust-Kut at 5am to try our luck hitch-hiking on a road that exists only partially (mostly on the map 🙂 ).
Whoever did pick us up couldn’t really believe their ears, there are hardly any people living here, much less traveling through and definitely not coming “back” from South East Asia. While train tickets in summer are most expensive the few accommodation options that do exist are unaffordable. To top it all the quality of the places is mildly above sharing a train bunk, but luckily we find great hosts like Katya, a mother of two who runs a few businesses and amazingly finds (makes!) time to show us around with her phone ringing constantly.
Nastya had been in touch with her for a few days already while we were contemplating whether to take her up on her offer to join her husband who is driving a truck up to Russia’s North spending 5 days on a barge along the Lena river and 3 days driving to get to the Sakha republic, the coldest place on earth. Both Nastya as well as my mum tried to convince me that it would be a great idea (Funny to see how things can change 🙂 ). However I wasn’t sure whether two weeks in a truck and the same view on taiga we already had from the train were too convincing. Maybe next time…
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