Trans-Siberian Part 15: Day 4 on the big train - Lake Baikal to Mongolia
I had a better night's sleep but I was still woken up by a commotion at around 4.30am - although not woken up so much that I felt I needed to get up and have a look. The train has stopped at Irkutsk and filled up with passengers! All of the cabins in our carriage are now fully occupied - the Chinese guards who were living in them have disappeared and we have a variety of nationalities standing in the corridor and looking out of the window.
I got back to sleep with the intention of waking up at 7am to see the journey around Lake Baikal, but Xavier knocked on our door at 6am saying we'd reached the lake, so I wandered out into the corridor bleary-eyed to see how it was looking first thing in the morning. I'm so glad he did because within 60 seconds I was taking photos like this:
As we journeyed around I was surprised to see exactly how much ice was still on the lake. Quite a lot. In fact more and more as we rode around it.
Lake Baikal is meant to be where you lean out of the train to take the obligatory "train going round the bend" shots.
There seemed to be more towns too, although it was at this point that my phone with its Russian Beeline SIM card stopped finding 3G. I'd managed to get it for about two-thirds of the journey from Moscow.
Into Ulan Ude at lunchtime, on a mission to find the world's biggest Giant Head of Lenin, which is only about 200 yards from the station. It's quite a spectacle, over 25 feet high and well worth seeing. Unfortunately we misinterpreted the map and ended up leaving the station on the north side instead of the south side, and then spent 15 minutes running around with a camera in hand looking for a head that wasn't there. I grabbed a few pictures of the town, including an equally-impressive solid gold statue of Lenin (well it's probably solid gold but it might just be gold paint).
There's also a funky music and drama sculpture on the building behind Lenin which I think I missed when I took the photo.
Again the Chinese guards were ferrying everyone back onto the train after 20 minutes even though it didn't leave until dead on schedule, 35 minutes after arriving. This is very annoying.
Almost 50km up the track I grabbed a photo of a level crossing. There must be hundreds if not thousands of these on the line, and every single one of them is manned. (Womaned. It's always a woman).
After this we followed the shore of another lake, Gusinoye Ozero (Goose Lake). This might be the last glimpse of water before more steppes and desert.
As the train was leaving the lake I held my camera out of the window, shut my eyes and clicked just once hoping for the best. I really should do that more often.
|Next:||Trans-Siberian Part 16: crossing the Russia/Mongolia border|
|Previous:||Trans-Siberian Part 14: Day 3 on the big train - Tayga to Nizhneudinsk|
Last updated 01 June 2013 12:54
I think I'm meant to do an "About" here but I think you'd be more interested in seeing a random seagull.