Food and More Interesting Facts about Lake Baikal

Friday, March 07, 2014
Irkutsky District, Irkutskaya oblast, Russian Federation
In Poland we had some excellent food, a tripe soup was particularly memorable, but in Russia until now we have been struggling . With the exception from the snack we had in the GUM shopping centre the food in Moscow was poor and the food on the train even worse. At one station I bought two donuts, about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. They were sugar coated and tasted exactly the same as donuts at home except that where we would put jam there was a sausage and mashed potato, they were cold. A Russian complete meal, sweet on the outside and the main course within!

Things improved last night with a visit to a pub which specialises in traditional Russian
food. My soup had at least half a pound of stewing steak in the bowl as well as lemon and prunes (not sure where in Siberia they come from). This was followed by a very greasy but tasty beef dish. Gill had a fish pie based on fish from the lake which was also very good. We are going back there again tonight.

More "interesting" facts about the lake.
So as not to overload you with interesting facts about lake Baikal I held back a couple for today! The water is very clear, apparently in June you can see down 40m (by July the various organisms make the water cloudy), it is so clean that you can drink it straight from the lake. The sponges growing in abundance, like soft coral, cleanse the water. There are also a number of thermal springs which release hot water. This makes the ice very thin in a few specific points which people who drive off the designated routes find out to their cost see

Today we visited a Russian Orthodox Church, a service was in progress, six or seven elderly (older than us) ladies were standing around (there were no pews) and kept on crossing themselves and eventually went up and took the bread and wine. There was a choir hidden behind a screen, members of which kept on peeping round at the strange visitors. The only man present was the priest, he was very old, had a great long beard and forgot his lines at one point and had to be prompted by one of the choristers.
After that excitement we walked miles (well, 1000metres) up a mountain to a ski lift which then took us a little further up. Being non-skiers we opted for a ride down as to walk it would have endangered our fragile bones had one of us slipped. Snowboarding seems more popular than skiing.
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