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Our journey from Moscow to Lake Baikal began on 22 July 2012, and two weeks later we went hitchhiking to Irkutsk. The path took so much time because we Anya stayed for a few days in Samara, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. If you subtract all the stops in the cities, then to overcome the 5,500 kilometers in five trucks it took us about 5 days.
On the morning of August 6th, we arrived in the center of Irkutsk and as real hipsters, first went to look for a good cafe with Wi-Fi, to mount and put the final fifth video about hitchhiking. We found a funny place called Lenin Street, the logo of which is almost an exact copy of Starbucks. When the sun began to set, we have been clear that we are too and sat on this day will not go away, and found a place for the night in advance was not. So the first thing we have to look for a free version of the fit. A few hours we dug forums, communities and the site Couchsurfing, but nothing at all could not find, although Irkutsk tourist destination, because through it a lot of foreigners traveling to Lake Baikal. As a result, we have found a nice inexpensive hostel is a 10-minute walk. In Irkutsk, a lot of foreign tourists, and we were a couple of times on the curve English shouting something like "Watts up, niggers?" Intoxicated local youth, as we walked to the hotel. With the Internet, complete disaster happened, so the next day we had dozalivat video, so went to Lake Baikal is not in the morning, we wanted originally. From Irkutsk Baikal easiest to drive in two ways: by shuttle bus to Listvyanka or train to Kultuk and Slyudyanka. Our first goal was a small trip to the Circum-Baikal Railway!
At present, the name of the Circum-Baikal Railway is a dead-end portion of the length of 89 kilometers on the western shore of the village of Baikal to Slyudyanka-2 station. But the story of this road is much more romantic and interesting than just dry facts!
It all started more than 170 years ago, when the first projects of construction of the railway bypassing Lake Baikal on the south side. After the final approval of the project, in 1896, construction began on the site on the left bank of the Angara, from Irkutsk to Cape Ustyansky, which is Port Baikal. The construction of a difficult section of the railway from Slyudyanka up to station Baikal began only in the spring of 1902. Difficult terrain coast forced the builders most of the route of the road or in tunnels to pave or artificial shelves cut into the rock. For each kilometer of road was spent on average about carriage of explosives. The railway was taken into operation in October 1905 and ensure the continuity of the Trans-Siberian trains exclusively on rails, without the use of ferries. Initially Circum had only one track, but in 1911-1914 were carried out work on the construction of the second track, which significantly increase the capacity.
Unfortunately, in 1940, it began the decline of the Circum-Baikal Railway. Service and previously planned reconstruction is too expensive, so instead offered to convert single-track road from Irkutsk to Slyudyanka over the mountains, being finished by the time to double-track electrified rail. Construction saddle road Irkutsk - Slyudyanka began in August 1941, and in the mid-50s the main course of the Trans-Siberian Railway was transferred to a new site. At the same time the construction of the Irkutsk hydroelectric power station, which is why part of the Trans-Siberian railway from Irkutsk to Baikal village was demolished in 1956, and later flooded during the filling of the reservoir of Irkutsk. As a result, a deadlock emerged the modern route Baikal Railway from Slyudyanka to Port Baikal, and with superfluous was pulled the first path.
Our goal was to walk along the Circum much have time for 3-4 days, because the return tickets to Moscow have already been purchased, and still wanted to go on Olkhon Island. Since we had a double tents, sleeping bags, gas burner, waterproof mat instead of foams, which only take place, all sorts of hygiene spray for mosquitoes and other little things. To charge the phone we had two battery IconBit, because of which broke GoPro camera and damage the battery Anya's phone, and it was still possible to charge from your laptop. For the camera I only had one battery, which is fine enough for all the days. Products to buy a lot not specifically to avoid lugging extra weight on her, and hoped for shops in the villages.
So! In the evening, August 7, we arrived at a stopping point Strawberry, which is located on the same section of the railway, to replace 60 years ago along the Circum Baikal. Before Slyudyanka go there was no point, because easier to go down to the station Kultuk and from there to go at the Circum-Baikal Railway.
To be honest, that first thought when we saw Baikal was "Ohrenet! They arrived! ". It was getting dark very quickly, and we had a little bit away from the village of Kultuk and find a good place to put up a tent and spend the night without any adventure. We walked down the hill to the station Kultuk, where absolutely no one was there, and found a great place on the edge of the bluff, having first about five kilometers by rail. The batteries were included with the bright lights USB-connector, which rescued many times, so to pitch a tent in the dark, quite there were no problems. There was nothing more to do, and we went to bed.