To Irkutsk By Cow

Now this is going way too quickly. Time seems to fly with these pit stops as you try to get a feel for these places. A relatively short train trip of 8 hours from Ulan-Ude to Irkutsk we see more of the original wooden buildings as we get into the city. We got the #1 Tram from the station to get to our hotel and we had a very helpful conductor, couldn’t speak a word of English but still helped us to get off at Lenina for our hotel, lovely chap.

Another lovely place, Irkutsk. Known for it’s Buryat trading past and that the Decemberists transplanted themselves here by way of exile after the failed coup in 1825. So there’s some lovely pre-Soviet architecture going on. Need some new adjectives to replace lovely 🤔. 

Really don’t know how they keep the wooden houses warm in the winter. Haven’t had a chance to see inside one but hope this will happen at some point.

Had some great food and we favoured Rassolnik Restaurant for the local delicacies, rabbit and wild fowl on the menu. Blooming marvellous. 

Irkutsk is also the main gateway to the Southern end of the Baikal Lake, Pribaikalsky National Park. We booked an overnight walking trip through Baikaler, though you could do it on your own we wanted to keep it easy. It ended up a little more troublesome but we’ll save that little episode for TripAdvisor.

So Lake Baikal, the largest Lake in the world. Or is it?

We made some new friends on this excursion as there was 4 of us on it. David and Anna, father and daughter, from Minnesota, home of Lake Superior. 

There’s a lake off. 

Turns out Superior is largest by area and Baikal by volume. Again, thank us later if that turns up in a pub quiz.

So we walked the Great Baikal Trail from Listvyanka to Bolshie Koty. Splendid route:

Would have been stupendous views as well if it wasn’t cloudy and raining. Super weather for walking, not so special for marvelling. 

Makes for better moody textural photos though:

Chin up, it’s only a bit of rain!

We stayed in a cosy place called Lesnaya 7, built by it’s owner Alexi. 

A local artist, Alexandra Martynova, had painted our one room house that we stayed in:

Alexandra’s a painter, not a decorator
Room for the night

It turns out our little house was just as magic as our magic ger, it blew the clouds away over night:

Title: ЛУЖА, dedicated to Anna

So we have time for another walk that will take us another 5km east:

Easy for you to say

So we got to see the lake in the splendour of blue skies:

Then some time to chill back in Bolshie Koty before we head back to Irkutsk:

Now back to Irkutsk for some last touristy stuff:

Quick glimpse of Holy Cross Church
Lenin is always there
Irkutsk Emblem, Babr, taking a shine to Alex.

Next stop Novosibirsk. 


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