Russia
Irkutsk

Here you’ll find travel reports about Irkutsk. Discover travel destinations in Russia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

24 travelers at this place:

  • Day15

    Beautiful Lake Baikal

    June 22, 2017 in Russia

    Today's visit to Lake Baikal has been one of the highlights of the trip so far. An early start and one hour on the bus from Irkutsk, following the River Angara, brought me to this wonderful place. Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake, and contains 20% of the world’s freshwater supplies If all the rest of the world’s drinking water ran out tomorrow, Lake Baikal could supply the entire population of the planet for the next 40 years! Known as the Blue Eye of Siberia, it can apparently be seen from space.

    The main town, Listvyanka, is a bit touristy as you might expect. I joined in some of the tourist fun and enjoyed a show at the Nerpinarium by Lake Baikal’s famous freshwater seals. Not exactly Sea World, but the kids, and this adult, enjoyed their performance. I had a lovely walk in the sunshine along the front, and found a nice restaurant where I dined on fresh Omul, a fish only found in Lake Baikal, baked with cheese and potatoes - lovely (and I’m no’ a fish haun). A highlight however was going on a short boat trip to experience part of the lake. Again the weather hot and sunny, and it was a pleasure to feel some breeze about you and admire the beautiful scenery.

    Back safely in Irkutsk, no thanks to the marshrutka driver, who insisted I sat in the front of his packed minibus, while he drank coffee, smoked, ate his lunch, used his mobile phone, played loud Russian ballads which he sang along with, while driving at breakneck speed. When he stopped to pick up more passengers, an old woman got in the front beside me and I signalled to him that I couldn't find the seat belt - he dismissed me with a wave indicating I didn't need it - and I noticed he wasn't wearing one either!

    Once back in the city I had a walk round the extensive market. Although it was late afternoon it was still thriving with a huge selection of fish, fruit and veg, meat and bakery items. I decided to stock up on goods to get ready for tomorrow’s marathon train journey - 3.5 days to Vladivostok! As I probably won't have wifi on the train you may not hear from me for a while. What's that you say - thank goodness?
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  • Day13

    Life on board the Trans Siberian

    June 20, 2017 in Russia

    For those of you imagining the Trans Siberian as being pulled across the frozen wastes of Siberia by a puffing steam locomotive - think again. The whole line has been electrified by Russian Railways (RZD). Gone too are the days of the marble bathtub, ingeniously designed not to overflow as the train rounded a corner. Tanks full of fish in the dining room are sadly no longer a feature of the cuisine in the restaurant car. However the Trans Siberian still has a mystique and attraction of its own, and so far I am loving it.

    For someone more accustomed to 10 minute trips on the Cathcart Circle, journeys of 24 hours plus are a different matter for me altogether. This leg of the journey takes 48 hours. I am sharing a compartment this time with a young military guy, who fortunately speaks some English. When I said I thought soldiers travelled in the multi occupancy 54 berth carriages, as opposed to our comparatively luxurious 4 berth kupe (2nd class) compartment, he laughed and proudly declared that he was an officer. He kindly offered to share his food, but I headed for the restaurant car for breakfast. Again it was largely deserted but, in wee Jean’s style, I asked for a table for one!

    As ever, most things I pointed to were ‘aff the menu’ and I ended up with some kind of cold fish with olives, eggs with small slices of ham, a bread roll and black tea - all in all not too bad. I was disappointed however not to have experienced the ‘pickled pike with stuffed cabbage’, or the ‘rabbit living with onions and potatoes served with greenery’. Ah well, another time.

    As if it wasn't confusing enough, Russian trains run to Moscow time, and even local station clocks show this. This is regardless of the fact that this huge country spans 7 time zones. When I was due to catch this train at 03.54 in the middle of the night, my ticket said it departed at 01.54 - panic! But ours not to reason why..

    The weather is sunny and hot today. The countryside whizzes by - mainly forests, lush fields, mighty rivers or woods of birch trees (that reminds me of being beaten in the banya - ouch!). Occasionally, small isolated train platforms sit in the middle of nowhere (reminiscent of Fiddler on the Roof - ‘Far From The Home I Love’, Liz!).

    Our carriage is fairly quiet. I decided to explore the train to get some exercise. The next carriage had a party of Germans heading to Siberia. They had put up a huge poster/map of ‘Russland ’ with pictures of wildlife such as bears and wolves they might spot en route. Sadly the only wildlife we've seen so far have been the local neds, hanging about some of the stations as we zip through!

    As I was taking my stroll through the length of the train, I saw some SV or 1st class compartments - not much different from mine, but for 2 people instead of 4, and a lot more expensive. At the other extreme, the platzcart, or 3rd class, is an open carriage with 54 berths, mainly occupied by students and soldiers - the smell of sweaty socks and drying laundry were overpowering, so I quickly retreated to the safety and comfort of my kupe compartment.

    Along the whole length of the Trans Siberian Railway there are markers on the track on black and white poles every kilometre, telling you how far you have travelled from Moscow. They are hard to spot as the train whizzes by, but I'm told if you look closely out of the window on the south (left hand) side of the train you can glimpse them. I have to say I got some peculiar stares from folk passing down the corridor as I pressed my face flat against the window pane, squinting, and looking quite demented.

    We are in Western Siberia now, and there seem to be more ponds and rivers rather than just forests. The train stops occasionally and Madame Provodnitsa lets you know if you are allowed off. I don't stray too far, for fear of the train leaving without me. On the platform various women sell their wares - bakery items, soft drinks, fur jackets and smoked fish. I had been warned not to buy anything hot to eat, as it has often been cooked in the station toilets. I opted for a a soft bun with a sausage through it (not unlike a Gregg’s sausage roll). It tasted not too bad, and the sweet old lady came chasing down the platform after me insisting she give me my change - I had only given her the equivalent of 50p!

    The Provodnitsa keeps busy, hoovering the corridor and compartments, and telling folk off: ‘whit have a tellt you - get yer feet aff that seat!’. She also sells snacks (anything that can be re hydrated with boiling water from the samovar), and comes round selling ice cream, souvenirs and what looks like bingo tickets. However I certainly wouldn't like to give her a false call! She also keeps the toilets spic and span. There are always plenty of towels and loo roll (I haven't had to use those huge supplies you provided me with yet, Campbell). There is apparently one shower somewhere, but some folk just attach a piece of hose to the tap in the bathroom and give themselves a hose down. The water all runs away down a hole in the floor on to the track - just like a kind of wet room on wheels. I think I'll just stick tae a Paisley wash!

    According to my phone, the time has changed again! I don't know whether I'm coming or going. Apologies for the lengthy blog today, folks - I can't get off for more than 15 minutes every few hours, and there is a lot of time to fill
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  • Day14

    Irkutsk

    June 21, 2017 in Russia

    I survived the 48 hour train trip from Ykaterinburg and arrived in Irkutsk promptly at 7.18am. Took an extremely old rackety tram No. 1 to my hotel just outside the city centre (20p ride). Although I was very early, I breakfasted in the hotel by which time my room was ready. It is a lovely comfortable hotel with free wifi. I asked to get some laundry done, and it was back in my room washed and ironed by the time I came back later in the day. It definitely helps to travel light.

    Irkutsk is a popular stopping-off point on the Trans Siberian due to its proximity to Lake Baikal. It is a big, spread out city and I did a lot of walking. To be honest I found it a bit soulless and not as attractive as Ykaterinburg. A unique feature of the central area however is that there remains a significant number of wooden houses from the 19th century with beautiful carvings on the eaves and windows, and some beautiful churches (apparently the most beautiful, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan was demolished to make way for the ugly bulk of the Soviet HQ).

    Although I am now in central Siberia you would never know it - it was 33 degrees today - and after me packing my fur hat, great coat and winter boots!

    To get some respite from the heat, I visited the city Art Gallery (not memorable), and a museum of wooden houses dedicated to the story of the Decembrists, a group of nobles involved in the unsuccessful coup against the Tsar in 1825, and who were sent into exile in Siberia to do hard labour. Interesting story and exhibits.

    For dinner, I went to a nostalgia themed Russian restaurant, and enjoyed some delicious local food - great after two days of British Rail type catering. Well, off to bed early - Lake Baikal awaits tomorrow...
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  • Day19

    Listvyanka nach Irkutsk

    June 1 in Russia

    Friday 01 June
    09-00 breakfast and check out
    10-00 transfer to Irkutsk City
    11-00 en route a visit to the museum of Talci (a wooden ethnographical museum)
    13-00 Lunch at 21st km Baikal restaurant
    14-00 check in at Marusya Hotel
    15-00 start to Ust-Orda National Buryat disctrict
    16-00 a visit to the Buryat Cultural Center (museum of Local Lore and the Shaman performance)
    19-00 return to Irkutsk
    20-00 free time

    Das “Talci wooden ethnographical museum” war sicher ein Höhepunkt. Laut Julia gibt es in ganz Russland nur 3 Museumsdörfer dieser Qualität. Die Region, wo die “Buryat” leben, war ca. 60 km nördlich von Irkutsk. Die “Shaman performance” war interessant. Wir werden in der Mongolei ähnliches erleben.

    The Republic of Buryatia is a federal subject of Russia (a republic), located in Asia in Siberia. Its capital is the city of Ulan-Ude
    Economic region: East Siberian
    Federal district: Siberian
    Official languages: Russian; Buryat
    Population: 972,021(2010 estimate)

    Die nächsten online-Footprints gibt es erst in 4 Tagen, wenn wir nach dreitägiger Zugfahrt in Vladiwostok am Pacific angekommen sind.

    Text von Wolfgang
    ÖFFENTLICH
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  • Day42

    Irkutsk

    October 1, 2016 in Russia

    Gestern war "Waschtag"!
    Wir wuschen wie wild drauf los, bemerkten jedoch erst später, dass wir auch noch trockene Kleider zum Anziehen bräuchten... Das Resultat seht ihr in den Bildern 😁 Trotzdem konnten wir Irkutsk besichtigen, auch wenn wir einige schräge Blicke ertragen mussten. Da wir ja ca. 8'000km von zu Hause entfernt sind, war uns das aber ziemlich egal 🙈
    Wenn man sich die Temperatur-Tabelle von Irkutsk ansieht, würde man nicht denken, dass hier in dieser Stadt trotz den extremen Temperaturschwankungen rund 600'000 Leute leben... 💂🏼‍♀️❄️Read more

  • Day16

    Herfstvakantie

    August 31, 2015 in Russia

    Twee weken op pad en het gevoel van het reizen begint langzaam in te dalen. Na 48 uur in de trein. Een wat melancholisch afscheid reflecteert dit het abstracte gevoel van op weg zijn. Mensen ontmoeten. Mensen ontdooien. Tijd is daarvoor het middel. De katalysator. Nu zijn we in Irkutsk aanbeland. De stad laat zich vrij vertalen als het Parijs van Siberie. Laat dat nou precies de plek zijn waar we moeten zijn. Een russische stad met zeer veel aziatische invloeden. De chaos. De geuren. Het hurken op straat. En dat alles in een ongeschreven kader van goed en fout. Heerlijk. Het is nu wel echt begonnen. Kriebels in de buik. Wodka met verse cranberries en koken in hostel Dostoevski. Wat gaat er allemaal nog komen?Read more

  • Day16

    Krasnoyarsk bis Irkutsk: 1.087 km
    Moskau bis Irkutsk: 5.185 km

    28.05 Krasnoyarsk – Irkutsk (train №206C)
    Departure 14.10 – Arrival the next day (29 May 09.37)*
    14.10 (Moscow time) is 18.10 local time (Krasoyarsk) and 09.37(Moscow time) is 14.37 local time (Irkutsk)
    Price : 3204 RuR + 2453 RuR= 5657 RuR

    SСНNЕIDЕRGЕВНОFFМАNN Н
    ЗЗ *****1ZF5
    14.11.1958 / Германия / Ж
    Кол-во пассажиров/Number of passengers: 1
    Электронный билет (номер)
    E-ticket number 73731503166206

    SСНNЕIDЕR Е
    ЗЗ *****СКС2
    08.01.1951 / Германия / М
    Кол-во пассажиров/Number of passengers: 1
    Электронный билет (номер)
    E-ticket number 73731503166195

    Отправление (МСК), Departure (UTC+3)
    28.05, 14:10
    КРАСНОЯРСК ПАСС - > ИРКУТСК ПАССАЖИРСКИЙ
    KRASNOIARSK - > IRKUTSK PAS
    Прибытие (МСК), Arrival (UTC+3)
    29.05, 09:37
    Класс, обслуживания, Class 2Э

    28.05.2018
    Wir checken out um 12:00h und deponieren unser Gepäck im Hotel. Wir erkunden den Bereich entlang des kleineren Flusses „Kacha Kaya“, der bei Krasnojarsk in den wesentlich größeren Fluß „Jennisei“ mündet. Da es heute bis 30 Grad heiß wird, sind kurze Hosen angesagt und eine Schauer kurz vor Abreise im Wellness Bereich.

    13:00h:
    Die Temperaturen sind eigentlich gut für Biergärten. Gibt‘s hier leider nicht. Dann haben wir versucht eine Ausstellung über die“Russlanddeutsche“ zu besuchen. War aber leider wegen Renovierungsarbeiten geschlossen. Nur unser Hotel hatte ein vernünftiges überdachtes Restaurant im Außenbereich. Die west- und südliche Kultur von Fußgängerzonen und Straßencafés ist hier leider noch nicht angekommen.

    Wir haben mit Julia in Irkutsk Kontakt aufgenommen und hoffen, dass sie uns helfen kann unsere Tickets von Irkutsk nach Vladiwostok und zurück nach Ulan-Ude upgraden zu lassen. Der Gedanke an zwei Omas in unserem Abteil für 2 x 3 Tage ist jetzt nicht mehr so verlockend für uns. Es ist zwar eine interessante Erfahrung im russischen Regelzug authentisch im Vierbett-Abteil zu reisen. Aber irgendwie reicht meiner Heidi das jetzt. Sie meint nur: „wenn ich Lust auf Russisch sprechen bekomme, kann ich ja ins Nachbarabteil rein gehen“.

    17:00h:
    Wir sind am Bahnhof. Die üblichen Prozeduren folgen: Gepäck Treppen runter und wieder rauf. Aufzüge Fehlanzeige.

    18:10h:
    Wie immer sind wir pünktlich losgefahren. Wir haben noch eine nette junge Russin im Abteil. Sie hat Schlitzaugen. Man merkt, daß wir uns immer mehr dem Einflussbereich der Mongolen nähern. Auf jeden Fall ist eine junge Russin besser als zwei russische Omas.

    29.05.2018
    08:30h: (+1h)
    Habe gut im Bärenkäfig geschlafen. In Irkutsk erwartet uns eine hochsommerliche Wetterlage.

    11:00h:
    Das grauenhafte Mittagessen wird serviert und landet unberührt in der Mülltüte. Die mitgebrachte Banane muss reichen. Die Schaffnerin fragt Heidi ob es uns geschmeckt hat. Heidi sagt irgendwas auf Russisch, wie „ja danke“. Einige Minuten später kommt die Schaffnerin mit dem weggeworfenen Essen zurück und Heidi bekommt einen „russischen Anschiss“ vom Feinsten von der Schaffnerin. Nächstes Mal lehnen wir das angebotene Essen besser höflich ab.

    15:00h:
    Juli hat uns am Bahnhof abgeholt. Sie ist Englischlehrerin und im Sommer Reiseleiterin. Sie wird uns während unseres Aufenthalts am Baikalsee begleiten.

    Text von Wolfgang
    ÖFFENTLICH
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  • Day20

    Irkutsk

    June 2 in Russia

    Geplant:
    Saturday 02 June:
    08-00-11-00 breakfast and free time
    12-00 Dinner at Chento restaurant (meals not included only tables booked)
    13-00 check out of the room ( we need to leave the baggage at the baggage storage till the evening)
    13-00 Start of the walking city center tour
    16-00 end of the tour
    16-00 free time at the Central Market to buy food and souveneers
    18-00 return to hotel Marussya buggage pick up and the transfer to the train station with the diner en route at 19-00 at URA restaurant (meals not included only tables
    booked) at 20-00
    End of the tour.

    Änderung:
    Margarita wird mit uns die Stadtführung machen. Julia wird unser Gepãck mitbringen und bereits ab 04:00h werden wir versuchen mit großen Umwegen den Weg zum Bahnhof zu finden, da die gesamte Innenstadt wegen des Stadtfestes für Autos gesperrt ist. Vorher haben wir noch mal im Supermarkt etwas eingekauft. Den Vodka hat mir meine Heidi verwehrt. Grundsätzlich ist heute zum Stadtfest das verkaufen von Alkohol verboten. Russland hält viele Überraschungen für Reisende bereit. Ein alkoholfreies Stadtfest würde es in Deutschland nicht geben. Aber in Russland!

    16:00h:
    Margarita war sehr sympathisch. Sie sprach perfekt amerikanisches Englisch, obwohl Sie noch nie in einem Englisch sprechenden Land gewesen ist. Sie hat die Sprache gelernt nur durch das Schauen von amerikanischen Filmen von Kindesbeinen an. Die Stadt Kirkutsk ist durchaus interessant, was wir in 3 Stunden so sehen konnten. Vom Stadtfest mit großem Umzug haben wir leider nicht viel gesehen. Dann ist Julia wieder gekommen und wir haben noch gemeinsam zu viert etwas gegessen, bevor wir zum Bahnhof gefahren sind. Am letzten Tag haben wir noch mit Julias Hilfe in einem riesigen Einkaufszenter unsere bisher interessantesten Souvenirs kaufen können: Je ein Set Hut und Handschuhe für die russische Banja. Wir werden die auch zu Hause in unserer Sauna nutzen und das Prinzip der Banja übernehmen.

    Text von Wolfgang
    ÖFFENTLICH
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  • Day41

    Auf dem Weg nach Irkutsk

    June 16 in Russia

    Tagesetappe 400 km.
    Heute war die Landschaft sehr abwechslungsreich. Bis 600 m hoch, Wald, riesige Felder, kleine Dörfer, Transsibirische Eisenbahn und jede Menge Baustellen.

    Deshalb war es heute auch sehr anstrengend. Nun stehen wir auf einem Hotel Parkplatz mitten in der Stadt.

  • Day47

    Irkutsk am Irkut

    June 17 in Russia

    Es regnet! Trotzdem werden wir heute eine Stadtführung machen - mit dem Bus! Unsere Stadtführerin Ludmila hat eine witzige Art- zum Thema Ehe und nebenbei noch eine Geliebte sagte sie: in jeder Schweinerei hat es auch einen Schinken.
    Durch Irkutsk fliessen 6Flüsse, der grösste davon ist der Irkut.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Irkutsk, イルクーツク

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