This morning, as Josh and I left the hostel we were accompanied by one of Listvyanka’s many stray dogs. At first this was quite sweet and charming, but half an hour later it was getting tiresome, not to mention dangerous, as our furry companion kept running out into oncoming traffic. We tried a variety of techniques to rid ourselves of our unwanted guest, but sadly nothing seemed to be working; apparently dogs can see and hear rather well. Eventually we were able to distract the dog with a nearby pedestrian, thereby ridding ourselves of our third wheel and any associated guilt that may have been brought about by an untimely demise.
Most of the day was spent trekking around the local scenery, including a 2 km trek on the ice from a nearby fishing village (Port Baikal, which we had reached by hitching a ride on a passing fishing vessel). By the time we came back to the hostel we were pretty beat, and so asked the owner to fire up the Banya. A Russian Banya is basically a sauna, but with the additional requirement of having to beat one another with birch twigs. As Josh and I stood there, totally naked except for our felt hats (allegedly used to protect one’s hair from the steam), hitting one another with tree branches, I couldn’t help feeling that the whole experience, whilst no doubt exceptionally good for my skin, was just the teeniest bit homoerotic.