Freezing in Siberia

Lake Baikal Travel Blog

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Some random house which I thought was pretty in a rustic kind of way.
Landed in Siberia today. Can honestly say its the coldest place I have ever been to. It was -35 degrees Celcius when we stepped off the train in Irkutsk to meet our guide Peter.

After a brief lunch and overview of the city we headed straight to Lake Baikal. Which is the reason why a lot of people pass through Irkutsk.  Irkutsk itself is pretty unremarkable, its a standard small Russian city with a few shops and offices. Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world. I think I read that something like a third of the worlds freshwater is in Lake Baikal. Don't quote me on that though. It's been years since I've read my LP travel guide.
The sunset over Lake Baikal
During the summer months, Lake Baikal and its surrounds have plenty of flora and fauna, and is a popular spot to go hiking in. During winter, there is no hiking and not much to see around the lake itself.

To say Lake Baikal is tranquil, quaint and beautiful would be an understatement. It litterally takes your breath away how big it is. It stretches for miles. In winter all you see before you is a endless horizon of frozen water.

It's such a big difference stepping into Siberia coming from the big cities of St Petersburg and Moscow. People are friendlier and are actually smiling when you spot them walking on the streets. Which is a pretty rare occurance due to the extreme cold.

After taking a shower, we headed out to walk the 2 km to the biological museum. That shower was without a doubt the best shower I have ever had.
Making the same shot more lomo
By the time we reached Siberia, we had been cooped up on the train for 5 days without taking a shower at all. Suprisingly we didn't stink that much. That's probably because we didn't exert ourselves too much and didn't sweat. But anyway, having a shower after not having one for days was bliss. Plus the feeling of hot water warming your body up from the cold weather outside. Because of the extreme cold. I'm literally wearing half my clothes in my backpack when I stepped outside for the walk. I've got 2 beanies on (I'm so glad I brought 2), 2 layers of thermals plus long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirts, not to mention my jacket. We must have looked like Michellin men when we stepped out into the cold. The walk over was not good. We were slipping and sliding walking down hills and walking really slow to avoid going arse over tit. Which made matters worse as it meant we were out in the cold longer. Long the straight section on the main road, we set a cracking pace though as our bodies felt like they were going to freeze. You know your in trouble when your eyelashes start to freeze over. But it was nice to know that I wasn't the only one feeling the cold. One of the girls had a hole in her shoe (she had normal sneakers) and was really feeling the cold.

After our brief visit to the biological museum, we watched the sun set over the lake. We also took this opportunity to walk over the frozen lake after been told it was safe to do so. I believe its at least 10-20 meters thick the ice over the lake. So it had no problems sustaining our weight. There were even cracks in the ice which went down a bit but still were sturdy enough to walk over. Because of the sheer size of the lake, it would not be uncommon to spot 4WD cars driving across the lake. As it was much quicker than driving around the lake.

Once the sun had set we made our way to this little tavern to have some delicious fish which had been caught from the lake.
highlandmist says:
arse over tit, hahaha ;) i haven't heard that since the uk. only i guess you would say it with an oz accent. :)
Posted on: Dec 15, 2007
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Some random house which I thought …
Some random house which I thought…
The sunset over Lake Baikal
The sunset over Lake Baikal
Making the same shot more lomo
Making the same shot more lomo
Lake Baikal
photo by: dfoo