vendredi 26 novembre 2010

Siberia

Our week in Siberia was mainly divided in 3 parts: Listvyanka and the Olkhone Island on the Baikal Lake.

Irkutsk: We were hosted by Anastasia during our whole stay in Irkutsk and around. She lives in a very comfy apartment not far from the city center which was marvelous for us. As a tourism student, she did a terrific job in showing us the best places in her city and helping us to plan everything. Irkutsk is roughly around 500.000 inhabitants, It is the capital of Siberia, and is located about 60 kms from the Baikal lake felt better there than in Moscow; probably because it is smaller for one thing, and also because I enjoyed very much the wooden style of the old houses that seem to be eaten by the ground little by little.

As often, people seem more relax around here than in the capital city of the country. Thus, the cultural life as well as the fact that the nature is not far away brings a new light on the Russian lifestyle. In brief: I enjoyed very much Irkutsk
J

Listvyanka and the Baikal Lake: During our stay, we decided to take a one day tour to Listvyanka, the closest town from Irkutsk which has a direct access to the Baikal Lake. We were told that the countryside around the town would offer some pretty interesting sightseeing points. We met in the minibus a German guy (Niko) who was also on a quite long journey, and therefore spent the day together, walking around in the woods. We got kind of trap in the loop of “the-view-is-nice-from-here-but-I’m-pretty-sure-the-view-would-be-even-nice- from-the-next-hill-right-there”, and therefore we ended up walking all day long from one hill to another. The weather was perfect, the colors incredibly beautiful and we therefore quickly forgot that the combination of snow and steep hills made the “road” very slippery. The pictures I guess speak for themselves…. On the way back we tried the local fish that every Russian had told us about when we were in the train: the omoul. It is kind of steamed fish which absolutely delicious, especially after 5 hours of running around in the Siberian countryside.

Olkhone Island: The last thing we wanted to do is to stay a couple of days (or rather a couple of nights) on the Olkhone Island as we wanted both to see the Baikal lake from one of its most beautiful part and also try to camp in not so warm conditions (remember we are in Siberia in November…). The Baikal Lake is what you would call a HUGE lake, which is the size of a country like Switzerland and has 22% of the worldwide reserves of drinkable water (or at least this is what Russians claim…). Another interesting fact is that it gets completely frozen in winter, and you can actually walk or even drive on it. Trust me it is hard to believe when you see this gigantic lake, but even in Nivember we could actually walk on some (small) parts of it. If you want to know more about it, please check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Baikal. Couple of great days hiking… again, you should check the pictures. It was the first time in my life I camped in these conditions: in the middle of a forest, with view on the lake in the morning; and of course between -5 and – 10 degrees Celsius during the night. It was actually nice even though you do need to think twice before you get out of your sleeping bag in the morning. Condensation would let a few drops of water on the opening of the bag which would make your mouth and your hands wet when you wake up. Not the best feeling ever at this temperature… but overall a good experience!

Gallery of pictures:

Irkutsk: http://picasaweb.google.com/UMAE10/Irkoutsk?authkey=Gv1sRgCKyeo8me1_6IOQ&feat=directlink

Listvyanka: http://picasaweb.google.com/UMAE10/Listvwanka?authkey=Gv1sRgCLjdgJy-1szUeA&feat=directlink

Olkhone Island: http://picasaweb.google.com/UMAE10/IleDOlkhone?authkey=Gv1sRgCICLptmGoqiCSA&feat=directlink

That’s all for now… next step: Mongolia !

Benoit

3 commentaires:

Maria Ghibu a dit…

haha, English version is shorter, so not fair :). luckily i can read them both :P...

Bill a dit…
Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.
Bill a dit…

“the-view-is-nice-from-here-but-I’m-pretty-sure-the-view-would-be-even-nicer-from-the-next-hill-right-there”
ohh Benoit, this is my dream of life - to be trapped in that loop forever!:)
"nicer" btw, not just "nice"
i`m not speaking about other mistakes, but don`t bother, please continue!:))

Alexey, Moscow

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