12 Dec Impressions about Baikal and the Trans-Siberian Railway, a story by Sten
ExploRussia publishes stories of people, who travelled around Russia and have something to share with you. This post is from our friend Sten from Estonia, who shares his impressions about Baikal and Transsiberian railway. He had spent some time in Russia, being the part of AIESEC internship program. Now he is sharing with us his impressions about Lake Baikal, to where he took Transsiberian path. Enjoy!
“As many travellers I had a dream of taking the Trans-Siberian railway to travel across the continent. With each moment of the preparation the idea seemed to be more and more attractive, until one day everything was ready for the departure.
I started my journey from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia that is situated on the shore of the Baltic Sea. My goal was to take the train as far to the East as I can afford while making memorable stops along the way. I managed to travel more than 10000 kilometers by train in less than 3 months and go all the way to Khabarovsk in the East of Russia.
When I look back to my trip now I can say with confidence that one of the places that I would recommend the most is Lake Baikal – the deepest and among the clearest of all lakes in the world. There are many ways how to see the Lake Baikal. You could see it from the window of the Trans-Siberian train that passes the shore so close that it’s pretty hard to miss the spectacular view.
As I stayed in Irkutsk (the biggest city around the Baikal area and also a stop for the Trans-Siberian trains) for two nights, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to touch the lake with my own hand. So after finding the bus station and ~70 kilometers in the minibus I arrived in Listvyanka – a relatively small settlement on the shore of Lake Baikal. I was lucky enough to be in time for the guided boat ride on the lake so I could enjoy the delightful views together with new interesting facts. Despite the warm and sunny weather in Irkutsk just 70 kilometers away, it was much cooler in Listvyanka and especially on the Lake Baikal. Fortunately they had warm blankets to keep all the passengers of the
Shark (that was the name of a small ship) warm and comfortable.
I have plenty of picturesque memories from Listvyanka and Irkutsk that are nice to remember and share, but as with all such experiences my main recommendation is to go there and feel the atmosphere yourself. If possible then taking the Trans-Siberian railway would be my personal favourite approach. If there is not enough time or patience for the long journey on the railway, then take the flight to Irkutsk and a much shorter trip by train around the lake.”
If you enjoyed Sten’s impressions about Baikal, don’t hesitate to book one of our Baikal tours and experience Siberia yourself!