After four full days of no shower, instant noodle meals, canned fish, melted butter, stale bread and instant coffee on the Trans Mongolian train from Moscow to Irkutsk we were ready for a huge cup of good coffee- only to arrive and be greeted by Nescafe Instant Coffee at our homestay in Listvyanka.
According to Euromonitor.com Nestle supplies 23% of the coffee consumed in Russia in 2013, followed by Kraft Foods 19%, Strauss 7%, Orimi Trade 7%, Tchibo Frisch-Röst-Kaffee 6%.
Our host Nikolai talked and smiled all day long and not a word was in English. Our Russian were limited to ‘nyet’, ‘da’ and ‘spasibo’…
He served a hearty breakfast every morning with cold cuts, cheese, bread, instant coffee, and cucumbers from his garden. Here was a table for four, not quite enough for four hungry travelers.
And the instant coffee? Oh well, at least they were served in porcelain cups and ‘teapot’ with hot water.
We traveled over 5,000 km (3,266 miles) to Irkutsk from Moscow on the Trans Mongolian train to see Lake Baikal. The instant coffee at Nikolai’s house did not disappoint us at all. The location trumped everything else including the lack of good coffee and limited hot showers.
The village of Listvyanka is located two hours from Irkutsk and it is the gateway to Lake Baikal.