I frequently visit this publication that always posts cool photo galleries, and this week they had a neat gallery on Lake Baikal – check it out here. I visited Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake, while on our 16 day train ride from Moscow to Beijing.
When we arrived to visit for the day, the whole scene honestly didn’t look very appealing. There were quite a few food vendors all selling smoked fish, so the smell of the place was pretty yucky. And the people looked… well… very Russian, just rough… So we walked around, but it looked like an actual boat ride on the lake was not included. And I actually really wanted to go on the lake. So I asked our tour guide, are you able to arrange a boat ride for us? We’d compensate whomever. Off he went, and he basically asked this random fisherman if he’d take a few Dutch tourists for a boat ride on the lake. I’m sure the guy was like, uh yeah, why…? But he said yes, and we paid him $20 bucks, in US currency and not in rubles which is what was preferred.
And off we went! And it just felt like the coolest thing ever. There we were, in Russia, in freakin’ Siberia, on a boat, a couple thousand miles away from home, on the biggest lake in the world. We heard Russian around us, enjoyed the views, and celebrated by smoking cigars. The only thing missing was a couple of KGB dudes stopping us from doing so. (August 2004)