One thing is sure: The journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a wonderful experience! While driving through gorgeous Siberian landscapes, you have enough time for reading, writing, eating, drinking, sleeping … and simply enjoy the very relaxed atmosphere on these trains. You will instantly be in contact with Russian travelers. Chatting – even if you don’t speak one word russian – suddenly seems to work very easily. There seems to be an unwritten law: Whatever you eat, you share it with your neighbours. (And – of course: you also share your drinks! Only a few hours after we left Moscow railway station, we were invited for the first Vodka. And it did not remain only one. Each Vodka includes various rituals: toast, handshakes, hugs, kisses … Journeys in the Transsib are definitely a beautiful venture!
The first stop we made was in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia. Novosibirsk is one of those cities that you really do not have to visit. But after 55 hours in the train, it was necessary to stretch our legs and walk a little bit. More exciting than Novisibirsk was ist little neighbour-city: This place is totally hidden in the forest. It’s no joke: Because oft he huge amount of trees, we almost could not see the town!!!
A jewel of a very special kind is „the Sea of Siberia“, lake Baikal. Apart from two very small tourist places, there are almost no towns or villages along the 2000 km long coastline. Only untouched nature and crystal clear (but ice cold) water. Here are some interesting facts about this huge lake:
– Lake Baikal is over 600 km long and 80 km wide. Its surface is about the size of Belgium.
– Lake Baikal is with ist depth of over 1600 m the deepest lake in the world.
– If all the rivers on earth would flow in the empty Baikal-Bassin, it would take one year until the bassin was filled!
– 22% of the fresh water supply of the earth is stored in Lake Baikal
We spent around 7 days in the Baikal with hiking, sun-bathing and relaxing. We were 4 of these days on the island of Olkhon, which is well-reputated for its mild climate: in wintertime, the temperature sinks „only“ on 30 degrees below zero 😉
Unfortunately, our Russia-adventure comes to an end tomorrow. Our conclusion: The bad reputation of this country and the negative prejudices are completely unjustified. Not only we think this way: We have spoken to several other travellers, who made the same (positive) experiences. We would not hesitate to come back to Russia again – even in the icecold wintertime! But perhaps then only to the „warmer“ Olkhon Island)
From to morrow morning, Mongolia will be our new „home country“. What we will experience between yurts and camel humps, we tell you as soon as we are being connected tot he internet. Stay tuned!
Silvan & Veronica