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Meet the local guide: interview with Yana

Yana is our wonderful ExploRussia guide from Irkutsk  team. Today she is answering some questions about Irkutsk and Lake Baikal for you.

a woman wearing a hat

Why did you move to Irkutsk from your hometown?

My hometown is really nearby only 20 km away so I can say that I’ve always lived in Irkutsk.

What do you like about Irkutsk?

I like that modern buildings are contrasting with wooden houses. I enjoy our little cafes where you can enjoy sea buckthorn tea and make yourself warm.

What is your favorite coffee shop in Irkutsk? Why?

My favorite coffee shop is Castro Cafe (Address: 3 Iulya, 7, 3 Июля,7). I come here if I want to work for a couple of hours or just talk to my friends. I enjoy a very friendly atmosphere and delicious coffee here.

a person wearing a purple hat with a mountain in the background

What Siberian dish do you prefer over other dishes? Where can our guests try it?

I prefer raw frozen fresh fish it is called “raskolodka”. It is super delicious. You can try it at Trapeznikov restaurant (Address: 5 Armii, 67, 5 Армии, 67).

Which site in the city is highly recommended by you? Why?

I highly recommend the lower embankment of the Angara River. The view is just fascinating and there are amazing churches around.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I am crazy about long-distance ice-skating. I am very lucky as I can do it every winter on Baikal Lake. The average distance is 40-50km a day. And yeah it’s absolutely possible and not difficult especially if you like it and have nordic skates and no wind 🙂

a man in a boat on a body of water

What is the best season to see Baikal? Why?

I highly recommend winter as you can enjoy transparent ice, amazing ice caves and beautiful snow around. But all seasons are great as you can do different things. For example, going kayaking. It is possible only in summer.

Give me, please, three adjectives to describe Lake Baikal.

 Powerful, gorgeous, transparent.

What spot at the lake do you like best? Why?

 I really like Bolshie Koty, because a beautiful trail from Listvyanka takes you there. It’s possible to cover 20 km a day taking amazing pictures, relaxing, and enjoying the view. You can stay overnight there, and the next day get back to Listvyanka or keep hiking to Bolshoe Goloustnoe. It’s 30 km more. This trail is called the Great Baikal Trail. Everything around you is just stunning. In summer, we go kayaking along the shore where the trail is.

If it was your first time in Siberia, what are three things you would bring to your home country?

 I would bring delicious pine nuts, local herbs for your tea (thyme, sagan dayli) and maybe salted fish if your flight is not too far 🙂

a man sitting on top of a mountain

Book Irkutsk and Baikal tours with our local guides. Don’t miss your best day ever.

Written by Marina, a local guide