Listvyanka and Lake Baikal
We arrived in Listvyanka around noon, via taxi. We’d thought to take a bus, but in the end allowed ourselves to be convinced by a taxi driver that we’d get there much faster if he took us. And we wanted to get there, drop our bags at our hotel, and explore the town. Listvyanka is on the shore of Lake Baikal, which is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. According to Wikipedia, it contains “roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water.”And all that water is clear, clean, and beautiful.
The drive from Irkutsk to Listvyanka took about an hour, maybe closer to 90 minutes. Steve and the taxi driver chatted away in the front, while I sat in the back and tried to follow the conversation as much as I could. (My Russian has about 10 years of rust on it, and needs some serious elbow grease to polish it up.) Their conversation ranged from pensions, to speeding tickets, to Russian-American politics during the years before I was born, to mushroom hunting, to the state of Lake Baikal, which is apparently a bit low this year. And probably a few other topics that I missed.
Meanwhile, I was keeping an eye on the scenery because it is very beautiful here. The trees seems even more colorful today than they did from the train yesterday, with yellows and reds mixed liberally with the green. White birch tree trunks stand tall amidst the color. It really is beautiful, though we didn’t stop and none of the pictures I tried to take through the window turned out well.
Our driver took us straight to our hotel, which I must say was much nicer than walking would have been–the hotel is a bit far from town, and up a hill. It was nice not to carry our bags, which we promptly abandoned in our rooms as we headed back to town in search of lunch.
We walked a lot this afternoon, probably about nine or ten miles along the shore of Lake Baikal. I didn’t take too many pictures, as the day was a bit overcast and things didn’t “pop” as much as I’d like in photos. But it was a lovely walk, full of good things.
We came back to our hotel earlier than usual, and here I sit updating posts and looking at pictures. The rest of this particular day in what photos I did take.
Edited to add: Steve talks about Listvyanka in Change of plans.