My love affair with the train continues. I’ve left Mongolia and are now en route to Irkutsk in Siberian Russia, my first stop on this my first visit to Russia, the world’s largest country.
– Robert Kaiser, Russia: The People and the Power (1984)
First Glimpses Of Siberian Russia || Landscape & People
After boarding the train yesterday in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, the journey across the border with Russia was largely uneventful, the highlight being woken by a gruff Russian border guard for a passport check – the Mongolians didn’t bother me, didn’t seem to want to stamp me out of their country. This morning I woke to the sight of the endless frozen Siberian landscape rolling by the train carriage window, as picturesque & untouched but uninviting a landscape as you’re ever likely to see. It was my first look at Siberian Russia. A frozen Siberian Russia. The train spent about 2 hours skirting the southwestern shores of a very frozen Lake Baikal, the Jewel of Siberia & the region’s predominant feature. I was somewhat surprised, very naively so I might add in hindsight, to find it frozen – one massive chunk of ice. I’ve tried to take a few pictures but unfortunately the windows of the carriage are not only very dirty but also very closed. But that’s OK; I’ll be getting out to Lake Baikal proper in the coming days. I’m pumped as I embark on a few weeks of travel through Russia, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I’ve wanted to travel. And when better to be here than in winter. Russia in winter. Oh yes.