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Published: October 3rd 2012
This is pelmeni,pasta dumplings served in stock
Apologies for the delay, but normal blog service is being resumed, slowly...
Katya met us at the Irkutsk railway platform and whisked us to Listvyanka on the shores of Lake Baikal about 60km away.The drive took us swiftly onto the main road linking the two towns cutting a swathe through the forest.The town of Listvyanka consists of one road that stretches 4.5km along the lake shore with 3 valleys that run inland.It has a couple of restaurants,the Lake Baikal museum, a few hotels,some bed and breakfasts,a market,tourist offices,the Nerpinarium-more of this later,a post office,a few small shops and a cake shop.We stayed in a two storey wooden bed and breakfast 5 minutes from the Lake shore.There is no public transport so walking was required to get anywhere.We had a nice meal on our first evening next to the recommended cake shop-the banana pastry for dessert was amazing.
Lake Baikal was formed 25-30 million years ago and is the worlds deepest lake,up to 1637 metres in places.It is 636km from north to south and contains almost 1/5 of the planets unfrozen fresh water.It has hundreds of endemic species including an estimated 60,000 Nerpa seals-hence the Nerpinarium.
The next day
we headed out into the gloom as mist had descended over the lake during the night.We checked out the small market which sold some lovely jewelery,fresh fish,Nerpa souvenirs and herbal tea in colourful boxes.We walked along the shore to the museum which charted the interesting history of the lake and included a mock submarine ride to the bottom of the lake.We needed more roubles and the only ATM in the town is in the hotel at the top of the hill overlooking the museum so we trekked up there. On the way back into town we had a meal at Proshly Vek where I tried the local fish,omul which is a distant relative of salmon.Didn't know fish had family trees,another interesting fact learnt.As there is only one road we had to walk back past, well into!! , the cake shop again.
Next day we had planned to catch the ferry from Listvyanka to Irkutsk but the weather seemed to have other ideas as it was misty again.We braved the conditions for a very brief paddle in the lake,well to be truthful it was more of a toe dip but had to be done.We wandered inland a bit as we
had read about Retro Park which is a small garden of sculptures made from old pre-Soviet era cars and motorbikes.We managed to find it and it was full of cleverly designed pieces.We checked out of the b&b and did some last minute shopping before boarding a marshrutka to take us to Irkutsk and the next part of our adventure...
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