January 6, 2013

The End of Lake Baikal – Here comes Irkutsk

Continuing my Russian journey…

So, we’d spent a short time at Lake Baikal, but today was our last morning and by the end of the day we’d be back on a train heading further across Russian Sibera.

Before we left, we had one more highlight to come: A cruise on Lake Baikal, touring the Bolshoe Goloustnoe area from the lake. From the water we had a different perspective of the area. There really weren’t too many houses at all along the shores of the Lake outside the village area. In the summer with the warm weather it would have been nice having nobody around, but in the winter with the snow and ice, I could imagine you would feel very isolated. Maybe the houses that were there were holiday houses perhaps? The wind on the lake was fresh and consistent (it was reasonably strong and was cold enough to need a good jumper). From the water you could also see how rugged and how high the hills of the Pribaikalsky National Park were, although the photos don’t really do the height justice. There was a guy fishing on the edge of the lake and the mountains towered behind him. There was a little fishing port at the village, but not sure how successful it was.

How High!

How High!

Holiday Home?

Holiday Home?

As I wandered back through the village to our accommodation to grab my stuff and meet the transport, I reflected on my time at Lake Baikal. The 90 hours on the train seemed like a lifetime ago and a world away. This area was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, the hosts of the homestay (we were the first to stay in the new building), the rustic lifestyle, the beautiful scenery and ahh, the serenity!

The shore line

Ahh, the serenity!

I’m sure our group would have voted to spend the rest of the day there, but unfortunately our transport to Irkutsk had been arranged and couldn’t be changed. I grabbed some supplies from the store next door to where we were staying – a pizza sort of thing for lunch and of course some ice cream. Prices were still cheaper than Moscow, almost unbelievable!

The little shop

The little shop

I managed to stay awake for the trip back to Irkutsk, and was privileged to see an eagle actually capture its prey. It swooped from the sky, grabbed the little animal, then flew away. Somebody asked whether I’d managed to get a photo, unfortunately not, I thought I was doing well to actually see it! The scenery on the road back is great, the rivers that wind their way through are a lot like the little streams that flow gently through the hills in the mountains around Victoria, deceptively seeming to wind along slowly, but as the water rushes over the rocks, you realise it is flowing quite fast. Except that they’re much wider – I guess they’re rivers not streams…



The rest of the day at Irkutsk – in the next post.


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