Friday, July 17, 2009

Lake Baikal, Russia - Day 97 - 99

We were woken up by our wagon attendant to see the most surreal sight outside our train window - soft mist covered fields with a floating purple haze hanging over it.

After pulling up at Irkutsk station, we had an eventful time getting to Listvyanka - a little fishing village on Lake Baikal. Isaac got a bit of motion sickness and threw up over me and himself while we were in a public bus which left him cranky and uncomfortable for the rest of the ride.

Lake Baikal is the most voluminous lake in the world, is home to over 1000 species of plants and animals and is a UNESCO World heritage site. Even if the facts mean little to me, I was immediately smitten by the serenity of the lake. The waters are crystal clear and the lake's waters gently lap up on pebble covered beaches.

There is surprisingly little tourist traffic given it is high-season but there are lots of locals going about their daily routine which consists of fishing, selling fish and eating fish. But not just any fish. Omul is a white salmon like fish that can only be found here and has spurred overfishing to the point that it is now an endangered species.
We are staying at a guesthouse on a street lined with traditional Siberian homes and its a real treat to witness the slow pace of everyday life - grazing cattle, men drawing water from the wells and firewood being hauled into homes.

A video of Isaac throwing pebbles which lasted for over an hour.

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