Note: I also updated the previous two posts with photos, please go back and check them out!
We got up at half past six this morning and walked to the train station, where we embarked on a single-wagon tourist train headed for lake Baikal. The on-train entertainment alternated between live Russian language commentary and Russian language DVDs about the lake. From the DVDs we learned things such as Moose can not only swim in the lake but they also dive(!), and that the cute seals from the lake make excellent pets.
The train stopped at select places on the tracks for about 15 minutes each time and we got to get out and take pictures. At one spot we went down to the water, and to my surprise a number of the tourists stripped and went for a swim in the cold water which probably was around seven degrees Celsius. Later the train was abandoned in favor for a boat, and then a bus in turn, which brought us back.
The best part however were again the people. The crowd consisted of assorted Russian tourists, three older Finnish gentlemen who traveled all this way from Helsinki by train, and ourselves. Teppo, a very sympathetic man born in ’44 with biceps of steel spoke English, and told us about how we used to teach road construction to Russians, and how he is now a knife smith. He helped create a wonderful mood on the train, and in fact everyone was sharing their food and drink that they brought along… we also got generous helpings of sausage, tea, vodka and Russian liqueur. The people took turns singing in Russian and Finnish until we arrived back at the hotel in the evening.
What made us even more happy was the news I received from Rostislav when we returned: He is asking us to show up at the train station with our bikes tomorrow, so it seems that there will be a train for us!