Howdy all fron Russia! Today I had the chance to take a day trip to Lake Baikal. I’m stay in the city of Irkutsk, which is 63km from the town of Listvyanka, so I hopped on a mini-bus today and made my way down to see the world’s largest inland lake, which holds something like a fifth of the world’s fresh (non-salty!) Water.
The place apparently comes alive at the weekends, which it wasn’t today, which had its pluses (not too many tourists other than myself around) and its minuses (the tourist offices were all closed). There weather was pretty cold, around 10 to 12 degrees, but frankly that’s a hellova lot better than yesterday where it didn’t rise much past zero.
The town itself isn’t all that interesting. It sits on the thin bit of land between the mountains and the lake. I went for a walk one way down the shore and then the other. I had shashlik for lunch as they painted the railings outside. There was a lot of painting and preparation going on, as I think the weather is finally turning and sooner or later the weekends are going to start getting busy as the tourist season kicks off. There were a couple of hydrofoils coming into to land though which was interesting.
I decided for a walk up to this observatory at the end of town. It was actually quite a beautiful walk up the hill through the forest. The trees are getting greener, it was just the Siberia I had imagined before coming here. The trees are very thin, which seems to be common in Russia, but there were many of them.
The clouds prevented perfect photos, but, I was just happy it was neither snowing nor raining. It was about a 40 minute hike up the hill, and I was running out of time and I was glad it wasn’t much longer as I wanted to get back to Irkutsk in reasonable time. Then when I reached the observatory, the gate was closed. Luckily, it wasn’t lock and I dragged the bar keeping it closed across and walked through and up some steps to the ground and the feet of the telescope, and the highest point of the day, good for photos. I took a couple and a man appeared down below telling me to get out!
What had I done? I had this place recommended by hostel staff! Was I breaking Russian law? Was I in big trouble? As it was, I walked back down, closed the gate and the guy didn’t follow me. Crisis averted! I don’t think really there was anything to worry about, but, you never know!
Thanks, as always, for reading. Take care, and May the Journey Never End!