Lake Baikal

Trip Start Jun 09, 2003
Trip End Jun 02, 2007

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Flag of Russia  ,
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

It was nice to finally get off the train. Not so nice to experience my first squat toilet at the station. It was an hours drive to Lake Baikal from the station. I stayed in a typical Russian house called an Izba in a little town called Listvyana on Lake Baikal. It's basically one big room with a huge big stove in the middle, the rooms are sectioned off with wooden partitions. We were very lucky as we had an indoor toilet. David, Kath, Jack and Barbara had to use an outdoor toilet in the house they were staying in. Our guide Elya took us for a walk along the lakeside and to the Lake Museum. The museum was fascinating. Here's some Lake Baikal facts for you:
It's the biggest fresh water lake in the world.
Most lakes can be traced back for 10,000 - 15,000 years old. Lake Baikal is thought to be about 25 million years old.
There are 336 rivers running into the lake and only 1 running out. If all the rivers stopped flowing into the lake it would take 400 years for the lake to empty.
In winter the lake freezes and cars can drive on it - they used to lay rail tracks and the train would cross the lake.
There are over 3000 different species in the lake and 84% are unique to Lake Baikal and can be found nowhere else in the world.
The lake is growing 1cm wider every year.
If the world's water supply dried up, Lake Baikal could provide water for the whole world for the next 40 years.
Anyway enough facts for now.
I experienced my first Russian Sauna. It's much like a normal sauna but you have hot and cold water so you can also wash - it was very nice.
For our lunch we ate Omul, which is a fish that is unique to Lake Baikal. It was very nice.
It was another early night as I was still tired from lack of sleep on the train.
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