Looking out the window at the frozen rivers and snow covered mountains as the train pulled into Severobaikalsk station I’d never have expected such a warm welcome as I got from Evgenii and frankly everyone else who I met during my trip.
If you are planning a trip along the Trans-Siberian railway or looking to get away from it all in a serious way then definitely get in touch with the great folks at “Welcome to Baikal”.
I stayed at the Baikal Tourist hostel a short walk from the train station and near to the centre of town. It was cosy and homely and was just like being welcomed into an old friend’s house. They have all the mod-cons of internet, etc so there was no worry about staying in touch and making onward travel plans…which Evgenii and his family were more than happy to help with as well and had plenty of good recommendations too.
North Baikal is an absolutely breathtaking place and really defies belief when looking out across the frozen lake and souring mountains that surround it. Quite a contrast from the high rise flats of south London. With Evgenii’s inexhaustible local knowledge and patience I had the chance to see so much of the area and experience so much that I would definitely missed out on had I just tried to explore by myself.
I’m already planning a return trip, in summer this time to go hiking and berry picking in the hills and swimming in the lake!