Lake Baikal is the biggest lake in the world by volume, and there are recreational train trips going around it. Some prefer to go around by foot, it said to take 3 to 5 days to complete the picturesque route, but some, like Evgeny prefer to take a train ride. It’s a much faster and easier way to enjoy all the landmarks around the Lake and you can get everything done in a day. They deliberately make several stops so people can walk around and enjoy the scenery, the local meals being cooked by the babushkas, etc.
The trip is called a roundtrip on purpose – the route makes a circle around the lake (or something more like a stretched oval around it). So the first stop is the last stop. Let’s follow Evgeny and see some things he has seen and photographed:
Evgeny says that the trip costs 2,700 rubles per person, which is roughly $77 (as at the summer of 2014).
You see the train on the left? This is the train that takes people on the trip.
Here is it, arriving.
Evgeny says that the railroad station building where his trip started is a landmark in itself: it is the only building in Russia that is made of unpolished red and white marble, and even though it is a unique building it’s been said that the name of the architect who made it was lost in the course of history.
That’s a monument for the guy who supervised the construction of the Round Baikal Railroad.
And that’s the town around the station.
After the train leaves the town, the lake shore starts.
This railroad was called the most expensive rail road in the country (with all its tunnels, projects made by Italian engineers, etc). It was called a “Golden Buckle” at the time of its construction.
The tourists taking the trip come from different parts of Russia and from around the world. Evgeny says these women are from St. Petersburg (which is a few thousand kilometers away from the lake) and sitting next to them was a girl from Japan.
When the train reaches this place it makes its longest stop. People can walk around, get food, or even swim in the lake.
That’s the train again.
And this is the longest tunnel on the route.
When you get around to looking for food, the local grannies can cook things you order on demand. Evgeny says he got a plate of “Pelmeni” for 180 rubles (about five dollars) and he says he thought it was the best pelmeni he’d had in his life.
An “Italian wall”. Probably named after the Italian architects and engineers which were involved in the construction.
The lake is around 60 km wide in this place. The white clouds on the horizon are not clouds but the snowy mountain tops on the other side of the lake.