Tuesday, June 19, 2012
We roused early and packed our bags to ready for our next train. We checked out of the hotel after eating another filling breakfast. Bags left at the hotel, we chartered a ride to Lake Baikal. It cost $150 for the day but he stopped anywhere we wanted and spoke a little English.
He stopped by a spring and we indulged on the clean water. Then we pressed on to Taltsy Museum of Architecture where we wandered through the rain and collection of buildings. A reindeer followed Pepper’s instructions to participate on our photographs.
We went to the Baikal Museum and enjoyed the displays of Baikal fish and the fresh water seals. Nothing at the museum seemed to be in English though so a quick run by the displays seemed acceptable.
I have wanted to see Lake Baikal for twenty years. It has one fifth of the world’s liquid freshwater, mote than all the Great Lakes combined. It is supremely deep considering the width. It is the deepest lake in the world. And today it was completely fogged in. Just my luck. When we had an opportunity city to see an active volcano and lava in Central America floods kept me from seeing it. You would think that an interest in natural features would be reliable. I understand when we went to see the wild horses in Mongolia and they were not around because we couldn’t go far enough into the park due to the fresh snow.
Oh well. I sipped some of her water, took a few pictures and we went to the market area in Listvianka. We bought fresh smoked omul which we liked better than the dried kind. We had strawberries and pine nuts and barbequed pork all rinsed down with Russian beer.
Our final stop was at the St. Nicholaas Church and the nearby Retro Park. The park is a collection of old Soviet cars and motorcycles and metal sculptures.
An hour and a half ride back to the hotel and we had time for dinner before heading to the train station. Getting to the station turned out to be a bit of an adventure. No taxis were available but right in front of our hotel was a stop for busses and mini busses. Pepper found our which ones went to the train station and after a few misses because of fast stops or full mini busses we finally crammed onto one and made it to the station a little more than a half hour before our departure.
Train number 1 rolled in. We loaded onto carriage 3 and berth 5. It is a bit nicer than our last compartment. There is power available, a three channel television, six stations of a radio at each bunk (sort of like on an airplane). Sadly, the window does not open – but there is air conditioning. The bottom bunks fold from a seat to a sleeping cot.