Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another wonderful day in Bratsk and Listvyanka

Walking around the town we saw … a hand. Why is it put here? Whose hand is it? Nobody knows. 
Soooo BIG even the butterfly is bigger than me!! Very good to sit by a gold heart.
Hurraaaaay! At last I’m going to Lake Baikal. The road goes through taiga and I looked at soooo many trees...... It takes an hour or so to get to the lake.
I came to Listvyanka [listv’jankə], a small settlement on the shore of the Baikal.
At this very place the river Angara flows out of the lake. More than 300 rivers and springs run into the Baikal, but only the single is flows out of it – the Angara.

The natural zone where the lake’s located is seismically (that IS a long word!) active. And every day they have weak earthquakes; many people even don’t feel them. The last strong earthquake happened in 2008, it was about of magnitude 9 Richter scale. Natalia says she was very scared on that day.
Then we went to the Baikal Limnological Museum. There I saw Baikal seals – nerpas. They’re endemics; (another long word) it means that these animals live only in this very place and nowhere else. In Australia we also have a lot of endemics. I am learning so much here!
I learned that this lake is 20-25 million years old. Baikal is the deepest lake on the planet; its max depth is 1642 metres. I’m interested in one of the exhibits – a manned submersible “Pisces XI”, which was used to study the bottom of the lake. Many other exhibits you can see here.

A beautiful path leads to the museum, on its both sides there are cedars, pines and spruce trees. I climbed up the spruce, this tree is very high and beautiful but it’s not comfortable to sit there – 
the needles are very sharp. "Ouch!"
After that we went walking along the lake.

There are many wooden figures in Listvyanka. Baikal nerpa, the seal, is the symbol of the lake
and here is a big fish.
Sometimes I saw unusual trees with many colourful fabric strips on them. What are they for?
The native people of the territory around Baikal are the Buryats. Some of them are the Buddists, the others are Shamanists. Earlier they tied colourful fabric stripes in special sacred places for good spirits. Now people do that for this purpose too and to come back to the place again. Also they put small coins into the special place. I tired my stripe and put a coin as well. I know Angie would have loved this as she is always tearing up strips of fabric, maybe she could do this in Yanchep! 

This winter the Olympic flame was travelling around all regions of Russia. Here in Listvyanka the flame in a special container was put down to the bottom of the lake and then sent to Irkutsk.
Shhhhh. I heard that in Siberia the bears walk in the streets. And today I met one of them. I wasn’t afraid. I’m very brave! Look at me!
There are a lot of hotels and hostels near the Baikal.

What a view!
Up so high, kicking off my shoe!
Oh, it’s a chance for me to practice fishing. What fish can I have?
There are different kinds of fish live in the lake. The most popular and tasty are Baikal omul (lat.  (лат. Coregonus migratorius), harius (lat. Thymallus arcticus)  and sturgeon (lat. Acipenser baerii baicalensis). Natalia told me the Latin names - the only one I've heard of is the sturgeon.

Oh, so many things and the fishing made me hungry!
I ate a “small” vatrushka [va’truʃka] (a curd patty) and drank traditional tea with milk. 

Here are two Buryats’ Deities:  Deity of the Straight Way (I've climbed it you see) and Deity of Fair Wind (near). Usually people come here to make wishes. I came to the Deities, dropped some coins on the axe-stone and made a wish. 
Then I decided to find out where my wish would be granted from. I jumped up the wooden fish, pushed it, the fish started to turn around (like a merry-go-round), at the end I saw that my wish would be granted somewhere in the South-West. 
Hmmm in the in the South-West???? What country shall I go?
After having a snack I continued my way along the Baikal. 

This is a local market. I saw many different souvenirs: Buryat masks, Shaman drums, toy Nerpas (little white seals), matryoshkas (Russian nesting doll or babushka doll), Baikal herbal teas etc. Oh, I could have spent all my money here! Also at the market I bought famous Baikal omul ….
 fish like salmon - smoked, a delicacy. 
and, like many tourists, ate it sitting at the table near the water and watching Lake Baikal. 
They think it’s much tastier. After that I tried the water, it wasn't very cold and some people were swimming, but the majority only were wandering. 

So good to have a hand to hold!
On the shore I saw people building such pyramids. I made one for my Angie, they say it brings happiness. I dropped three Baikal water drops on my pyramid and made this wish for her.
Then I was laying in the sun, looking at the Sayany Mountains…
and was dreaming, dreaming…..
Then Natalia woke me, time to head back. In Bratsk I met new friends; they’re Natalia’s niece Tanya and a cat Kesha. Tanya called me Tolik, it’s a Russian boy’s name. They were very sad when I had to leave for Irkutsk.

I am sad as well, it has been such fun. Today I’m going back to Irkutsk. My trip will take 9 hours by bus because it’s about 700 km south from Bratsk. Good-bye, see you later.

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