Train around Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake at 1637m deep, its 636km long and 60km wide. It’s formed by the shifting tectonic plates and will eventually become an ocean. Today our train ride took us from the eastern side in Ulan Ude to the west in Irkutsk.
This time the train was an old Soviet warhorse but was comfortable enough for the trundle around the south side of the lake. Autumn has brought with it some lovely colours to the trees and we enjoyed sitting back reading and writing and looking out the window at the world passing by.
It’s bitterly cold here already and many of the smaller lakes we passed were already iced over and there was snow on the ground. Still the whole area had a beauty about it although those living here must be enduring a pretty tough existence. It’s funny we are in Russia but still 5000km away from Moscow and we haven’t heard of many of the places we are visiting in between.
We arrived in Irkutsk at a really pretty train station and were soon enough in a taxi. Now we have a pretty foolproof system in place for finding where we are due to stay and so far it’s worked pretty well. So we were a bit alarmed when the taxi driver was so insistent that where we wanted to go wasn’t right. We had a number to call but he had no credit so we had to trust his local knowledge and eventually found ourselves parked in a dimly lit car park behind a dodgy apartment block. We weren’t quite sure what was going on but felt fairly safe. Eventually a huge guy knocked on the window of the taxi and said for us to follow him to the apartment. 
Up the sewerage smelling hallway we went until he opened the door on what really was quite a pleasant surprise!! No Internet but luckily we had already booked for the next night so we weren’t that fussed.
By now it was just about dinner time and we wanted to visit an area of town called 130 Kvartal which was an area of old wooden buildings which had been converted into bars, restaurants, museums and shops. It was really pretty cool and reminded us a bit of a ski resort and considering it was Monday night during the off season it had a nice feel about it.
We found a highly recommended place which served fancy versions of the local delicacies and we ended up gorging ourselves on some fantastic food. During the meal I checked to see if there was any internet and found out that we had an urgent email from our hotel for the next night. They were going to be unable to honour our booking as they had burnt down!! Lucky we weren’t a day ahead!!
Still with the wonders of modern technology we were soon sorted out, finished our deserts and walked the meal off with a walk home in the bitter cold!! T

Ready to go.

Sarah certainly got some stares cleaning the window!

The Autumn colours around the lake were beautiful.

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