Irkutsk

Trip Start Sep 21, 2007
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Trip End Apr 10, 2009


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Friday, October 5, 2007

Hey there,

The last time I wrote something from Yekaterinburg, this time I am in Irkutsk. Below I'll tell
what happened after Yekaterinburg. After Yekaterinburg we waited a long time in the waiting hall at the train station before our train left for Omsk. We didn't like Yekaterinburg too much, and we were glad to see that Omsk was a bit more interesting, although it's hard to explain why, because there were no major sights in Omsk as well. Just a feeling I guess. There was a beach along the river and some pretty buildings. Like in Yekaterinburg we waited a while in the waiting hall of this train station for our next train to take us to Novosibirsk. In Novosibirsk it rained pretty much the whole day, but we had our rain gear and we were fine. There's a huge theater in this largest Siberian town, but unfortunately we were not able to get a view of the interior (and there were no performances for the next few days. We rated Novosibirsk in between Yekaterinburg and Omsk. After the waiting procedure - which we killed with silly games - our train left after midnight for a short trip to Taiga. At around 5 in the morning we got out of the train in Taiga and boarded a local train with ridiculously hot stoves under the wooden benches to Tomsk. In Tomsk (and also in Taiga) it was near freezing, around 3 degrees Celsius. Tomsk is a nice university town, but because of the rain we enjoyed the a little less a we would've if it were not for the rain. There were some pretty ramshackle Siberian style wooden houses and some nice churches as well. Late afternoon we took the local train back to Taiga (where it was 1 degree Celsius and it snowed) and from there we got on the train to Krasnoyarsk. On this train we had our I guess almost mandatory vodka drinking session with two young Russian neurosurgeons. There were very friendly and could speak quite a bit English. After too many shots of vodka and some beer as well we went to sleep at around 2 o'clock at night. The next morning we arrived in Krasnoyarsk. Inger couldn't be bothered by Krasnoyarsk and I had the same feeling at first, but after I started reading and almost fell asleep I decided to go for a walk around town, which I did for about 2,5 hours. An hour or so after I came back to the train station the next train brought us to Irkutsk.

Irkutsk is the place where we are now. The first day here we had a quick look at the old centre with some fine churches, arranged our ticket from Ulan-Ude to Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia and befriended the English couple Anna and Pete. Today the four of us went to Listvyanka on Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world (about a mile deep). The weather today was cold (about 5 degrees Celsius), but with blue skies, the first we've seen since Vladimir (which seems ages ago). After a great brunch including red caviar we did a very brave thing and we went swimming in Lake Baikal (we guesses it was near about 5 degrees Celsius). I was in there for almost a minute... brrr. After that we quickly got back into the 3 layers of clothes. Now we're back in Irkutsk and I am writing this travelogue.

Tomorrow we'll go to Ulan-Ude and after that to Mongolia, which we both look forward to!

By the way, I posted a few pictures, but because of the slow connection here there are only a few... more will follow!

That's it for now.

Greetz, Michel.
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