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Trans-Siberian railway – Taiga – lake Baikal

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The days in the Trans-Siberian train pass like the wind. They are not at all monotonous, we enjoy the rest in our compartment. We sleep long and a lot. This also comes because the train drives by the time zones. It is always Moscow time no matter whether it is day or night. We leave our compartment only if the train holds a little longer in some railway stations. Then Tanja goes with our dog Ajaci for a walk. Meanwhile I take some photos or get us some food. Then we sit again in our small compartment, let the taiga fly past to us, drink a few Russian beer and eat some delicacies typical for the country like Bliny (pancake) or Piroschi (baked or roasted paste bags) with different fillings. Because my Russian is still rusty I do not always find the right words to ask what is inside the paste bags. Thus we are often surprised by curd, mushrooms, cabbage, potatoes, mince or chicken.

We leave the train in the cities of, Nowosibirsk, Irkutsk, Nischni Nowgorod and Omsk. Unfortunately, not long because of the short stays. The memory of our bicycle trip through Russia is coming back immediately, because at that time we came on our way from Germany till Mongolia through many towns which lie next to the trans-Siberian railway.

As hypnotised we stare for hours out from the window. The weather is fantastically nice and the scenery offers what one reads in books. Birch woods, spruces, pines and larches. In contrast to the tropical rain forests the taiga distinguishes itself by a low biodiversity and exists to large parts of conifer kinds. The dimension of this biggest coherent coniferous forest area of the earth has not properly still become conscious by me, because it applies from Scandinavia via Siberia to North America. Years ago we crossed this area with our bicycle. Often we cycled directly along marshlands which have developed between the Ural mountains and the Yenisey. Millions of mosquitoes hatch in the level waters, we avoided at that time stopping in such areas or building up our tent. A fascinatingly thought that parts of the taiga are still absolutely unexploited and many brown bears walk around.

After we leave behind the big rivers Volga and Yenisey we reach lake Baikal in the middle of the night. The trans-Siberian railway follows the Baikal for a distance more than 200 kilometres.The lake is the biggest and with 25 million years the oldest freshwater reservoir of the earth. One fifth, so 20 percent of the whole freshwater reserves of our mother earth, is stored in this immense ditch.

We lie down in our beds to rest a little, and do not want to sleep away. We are nervous because we arrive in Ulan Ude tomorrow morning at 1:00 o'clock Moscow time and at 6:00 o'clock Ulan Ude time.

The live reporting is supported by the firms Gesat GmbH: www.gesat.com and roda computer Ltd www.roda-computer.com The satellite phone Explorer 300 from Gesat and the rugged notebook Pegasus RP9 from Roda are the supporting columns of the transmission.

Day: 11-13

Russia / Siberia

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