Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Irkutskaya, Russia

Sep 28, 2018 - Irkutsk - The Paris of Siberia?

Not quite. Although the wide boulevards, tree lined streets, parks along the river are somewhat reminiscent of Paris it's not even close. But it was the arts and intellectual climate that earned Irkutsk that sobriquet. Irkutsk also has excellent restaurants - Russian, Italian, Georgian ... and the service is excellent. I hadn't expected that but it is very welcome. The highlight of Irkutsk is getting out and down to Lake Baikal. On the way we stop at the Taltsy Museum of Siberian Architecture. Travel with http://talci-irkutsk.ru/ Fall days...

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Sep 7, 2017 - Lake Baikal to Irkutsk

In the morning I went on a boat trip (small boat – maximum 4 people) out on Lake Baikal. No Baikal seals but it was good to see the lake from a different perspective and to gain an appreciation of just how big it is. At times we could see the bottom of the lake with a depth of just 2 metres and then it suddenly drops off to a depth of 200 metres. I then went for a walk by myself through the village, which made me realise just how hard life must be for these. It makes you wonder about the priorities of the government, considering the amount...

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Trip Journal

Beijing to Berlin

Jul 24, 2017 - Last day in Irkutsk

Our plan was to spend the day visiting museums. It turns out that they are all closed on Mondays. So we set out to walk around and see what we could find. We came to a small park filled with military equipment - tanks and a truck and a rocket. Then we walked to a Russian Orthodox Church. Inside there was an icon of the Romanov family. We walked to the Trubetskoy Decembrist Mansion, expecting it to be closed (as advised by the internet), but it was open! The husband had been exiled to Siberia for an unsuccessful coup against the...

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Jul 23, 2017 - Return to Irkutsk

Today started with a last visit to the beach before breakfast. Breakfast was my favourite - crepes and condensed milk. I had never tried this before Russia - it is seriously delicious. Then the bus trip back to Irkutsk, which Gordon has offered to describe: Gordon: Worst bus trip ever! (And that includes the time the pre-school teacher put me on the wrong bus after school, and I ended up in Whoop Whoop - a locale quite unfamiliar to me at such a tender age.) There's a reason there's an industry out there, compiling TV programs out of...

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Jul 22, 2017 - Rain day

The day started out bright and sunny. We walked down to the local shops to see what they had to offer. The town is like a movie set from a Wild West movie. Dirt roads. Run down wooden houses. Fences nearly falling down. A few supermarkets - none looking particularly interested in having customers. It hit 30 degrees by midday, so we headed home to change into cooler clothes. A few minutes later, we were out exploring again. This time along the coast. We came to a small port. You were taking your life in your own hands walking along the...

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Jul 21, 2017 - Tour of north Olkhon Island

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...

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Jul 20, 2017 - Olkhon Island

Today involved a lot of travel. First, we caught the bus from Irkutsk to Lake Baikal, a car-ferry over to Olkhon Island, then drove 38km on a dirt road. This is the view as we crossed the lake. Although the air temperature was mid-20's, the water was somewhere between 4 and 8 degrees, Behind our guesthouse is this series of Sharmen poles - they are very colourful. This rock is only minutes from our guesthouse. We explored for the whole afternoon, then buffet dinner with the other guests.

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Jul 19, 2017 - Train to Irkutsk

Today was an 8 hour train trip from one part of Siberia to another part of Siberia. We started in Ulan Ude and finished in Irkutsk. This is the view from our train on the way At one place, the train stopped for us to take photos of Lake Baikal - the world's largest fresh water lake. We arrived in Irkutsk at 5pm and immediately set out to explore the city. We went to the old part of town for dinner. It is also full of restaurants and activities, like these huge bikes. We didn't arrived back at our homestay till after 10pm.

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May 26, 2014 - Listvyanka and Lake Baikal

Listvyanka - not Irkutsk We are on the move again - in the air flying Aeroflot Airline from Irkutsk to Moscow and then to St Petersburg. Imagine this: it will take us six hours to reach Moscow and we will change five time zones. It is only four time zones between Halifax and Vancouver!! Wow! I thought we were staying in Irkutsk and that it was on Lake Baikal - wrong on both counts. We were picked up at Irkutsk train station (all of our pick-ups have been super efficient to date) and driven for an hour on a very good road to the tourist...

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May 24, 2014 - More Train Observations

More Train Observations The last train on our Trans-Siberian journey, the one from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk, is jerkier than the previous ones. For some unknown reason, a lady brought us a "business lunch" that she insisted we take. The first course was good chicken soup and a roll. As we were slurping the soup, there was a sudden and huge jolt and Andrew wailed like a banshee (Ruth's term). His entire bowl of soup had leaped off the table and onto his lap, Ruth's trousers, the floor and a bit onto our seat. It was a huge mess! Both the...

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Nov 2, 2013 - Days 74 to 77 - Olkhon Island (Russia)

After the refreshing (?!) 30 minute walk from the hostel to the bus station, we clambered into a mini-van for the six hour trip to Khuzhir, the main “town” on Olkhon Island. The van was decked out with curtains and also had a small plasma screen showing some US film, which had been wonderfully dubbed into Russian. After some three hours on the road, and passing deep snow in places, we pulled into the main “services” on the road for lunch. After a hearty Borsch and hair of the dog, it was back to the bus for another 90 minute drive to the...

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Oct 29, 2013 - Day 73 - Irkutsk (Russia)

Arriving in Irkutsk on the morning of Tuesday 29th October, I left the station to walk to the hostel but it was quite a bit further than I thought and, 45 minutes later, I was climbing the stairs in a rather run-down building to the hostel. However, once inside the hostel (basically a flat) things looked better as it was clean and in good condition. After checking in, having a shower (at last!) and dumping my bag, it was off to see what Irkutsk had to offer. Unfortunately I was a tad tired after the long journey, so I really didn’t explore...

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