Trans-Siberian Railway 2017 travel blog

West coast

Russian van

Gulag remains

East coast

Near 3 brothers

Today we did a 7 hour tour which took 9 hours to complete. It was an tour of the northern half of Olkhon Island.

The scenery was spectacular. There were 8 other people in our group - 2 Chinese and 6 Russians. Olkhon Island is the largest, and only inhabited island on Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is the deepest, oldest and largest (by volume) freshwater lake on Earth. It is 1,638 metres deep, 636 km long and contains 20% of the world's fresh water.

One of the stops was at a former gulag site, where part of the remaining ruins are of the fishing operation that the prisoners worked at. 3 the other stops were at amazing viewpoints of the natural landscape. The final stop was at the meteorological station on the island - set in a beautiful bay.

The reason our tour took so long, was that we became seriously stuck in mud at one stage, with our van sliding sideways. The van only stopped sliding when it became lodged on a tree, which was outside my window. In an all-out effort to free himself of the mud, the driver blew a tyre, so we then had a double problem. By then, we were all outside the van, watching and trying to help or push the van or whatever seemed appropriate at the time. The driver was totally patient the whole time. He didn’t appear to even be annoyed. All in a day’s work?

So our day involved a lot of climbing, a lot of walking, a lot of learning about Russian culture from our fellow travellers. And a lot of photos - I took 170 photos just today.

The outstanding memory will be of the spectacular scenery.

Dinner tonight was Borscht with sour cream.

Then we went to the Parisienne Cafe on site, for an after dinner drink.

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