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Listvyanka by the Lake

Listvyanka is a little lake side village that was on our list of places to see so the next day, with much milder weather, we decided to head there on the bus. We walked to the bus station from the hostel and it probably took us no more than 20 minutes. When you reach the bus station look to the left and enter the building on the edge of the property. Go into the first room on the right and you buy your tickets there. You can't buy the tickets from the bus driver.


The bus to Listvyanka

The bus was very grubby and looked like it hadn't been cleaned since it was first put into service. There were empty juice bottles and empty food packages tucked into the backs of the seats. Strangely though, there were beautiful decorative curtains around the tops of the windows. It was contradictory to see such lovely delicate curtains in such a dirty old bus. When the interior of the bus is neglected you then start wondering if the safety of the bus is up to scratch or not.



Dirty bus to Listvyanka Dirty bus to Listvyanka
The shores of Lake Baikal at Listvyanka The shores of Lake Baikal at Listvyanka










Listvyanka was a disappointment to us. There was no little village charm. It's been over commercialized with multi-story buildings that don't suit the rest of the village and in our opinion it is over rated. We arrived at 11 a.m. and then discovered there were no buses back until 3 p.m. so we were there for four hours.

First of all we looked at the little stalls that were being set up. There were lots of them on the waterfront and each was selling similar touristy items that related to the lake and the Listvyanka area.


We walked right to the far end of the village, photographing everything, as usual. We were puzzled by the lovely building we found that had been abandoned before completion. We wondered if it was once going to be a hotel or perhaps up-market units. The style of the building was very smart.

Jean walking to far end of village Jean walking to far end of village
Did the owners run out of money before it was finished Did the money run out before it was finished?










Market at Listvyanka

We had heard a lot about the traditional fish of the area called Omul so we wanted to try it. Ian quite liked it but it didn't do a lot for me. But then I have a thing about eating fish with bones in it. The flavour is quite nice though.

Listvyanka specialty of smoked omul Listvyanka specialty of smoked Omul
Here the ladies are selling omul in the market Here the ladies are selling Omul in the market










It was satisfying to finally be close enough to dip our hands in the deepest, oldest and biggest fresh water lake in the world. It holds one-fifth of the world's fresh water so that is very special.

Scenery and houses at Lake Baikal Scenery and houses at Lake Baikal
Modern hotel at Listvyanka Modern hotel at Listvyanka


The scenery and the old wooden village houses are wonderful to look at but these big, garish and new monstrosities spoil the village atmosphere.

Ian enjoyed the curved shed roof and the rusty old boat seen in the photos below:





Old building with interesting roof shape Old building with interesting roof shape
Rusty old boat Rusty old boat











We were quite hungry and looked for somewhere to eat. We finally settled on a place that advertised it had a menu in English and in German.

Inside we found we were the only diners. There were two waitresses who were most unenthusiastic about their role in the restaurant. They were totally disinterested in us and could barely be bothered looking for the English menu. They did eventually find it.

We ordered our meals and waited and waited and waited ...... We were starting to get a bit cross when eventually the meals arrived. Salad was supposed to go with my meal but you can see what the salad amounted to in the photo. My meal was exceedingly greasy too. We don't remember the name of the restaurant but it had a spiral staircase in the middle of the room.

Greasy meal with salad (what salad?) Greasy meal with salad (what salad?)
This stacked firewood served as a beautiful wall This stacked firewood served as a beautiful wall










We were amazed at the skill of the person who built this cottage wall from large pieces of fire wood. The wall was perfectly flat on the front side. Whoever built it was a very skilled wood stacker indeed.

It was almost time to catch the bus back to Irkutsk. There were quite a few people waiting to get on the bus for the return trip so we were glad we had pre-purchased the return ticket when we first arrived. There was just enough time to grab an ice cream and demolish it before climbing on board.




Next page - Time to leave Lake Baikal


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.

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Sunshine Coast Accomm.
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