Saturday, 8 September 2012

A magical lake in Siberia

On our first day in Russia, in the small town of Listvyanka next to Lake Baikal we were blessed with gorgeous weather. The sun was shining and glistening off the bright blue hues of the water. We took this opportunity to take in the views from a nearby lookout-point. The view was stunning and I took far more pictures than was possible to post here. The second day here was a lot more overcast and rainy, and we took a boat trip on the water where we learnt even more about the lake than we had read about before. Here's what I could remember after the trip;

  • This is the world's deepest lake, not the biggest as I had previously thought.
  • The water is so pure that it is possible to drink it straight from the lake without any filtering.
  • Most of the area around the lake are national parks.
  • There is one point on the lake where all winds converge and create a whirlpool. It is thought that this was responsible for a fairly recently discovered shipwreck, which occured about 100 years ago .
  • The lake is home to the world's only freshwater seals. They live on an island in the northern part of the lake. (and you can see two of them swimming around in the Local museum aquarium).
  • The Angara river is the only river to run out of the lake, it is so fast flowing it never freezes over. It is the only river in Siberia not to freeze in winter.
  • During the winter it is possible to drive upon the lake's frozen ice.
  • There is a valley in the north of the lake where the rock is red. Shaman's believe women cannot go to this area and men who do will suffer hallucinations. Scientists believe this is an area with a large amount of electromagnetic energy.
  • The deepest point of water in the lake is 1,642 m, but the lake rift full of sediment goes further down 7km. It is one of the deepest points in the world. The deepest being the Mariana trench in the pacific ocean at 11km. Due to tectonic plate movement Baikal's deepest point is thought to increase about 2cm each year.
After our boat tour, the rain started to get heavier so we found a nice place for some food. For this, our second meal in Listvyanka, I once again had fish from the lake (fish soup) and the most amazing potatoes since I left England over 2 years ago (not many can compare to my dad's roast spuds). Maybe I've been in Asia too long but the food on my first two days in Russia tastes like heaven. Baikal lake is fascinating, and a wonderfully beautiful place to be. On this rainy day in Kiev, I wish I was back there staring across the crystal clear waters and tucking into those lush potatoes and some equally comforting Siberian style fish.

Souvenirs from the lake

Gorgeous wooden houses with colourful shutters were all over this town

The best photo I could get as he was swimming so fast!

Fish served Russian style and Siberian style (which were kinda the same...)

Butterflies were everywhere

Our boat trip

Bit cloudier today...

and slightly more wind-swept

Fish soup and caviar

Delicious potatoes.

Oh to be back here again.

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