Friday April 3, 2015

By plane from Prague to Moscow – about two hours and you’re there. Then take a plane to Irkutsk and it is something over five hours. Like going by car to Košice? How simple it is nowadays. Obviously it isn’t an everyday occurrence. And I am glad that I can head for Baikal again this year, even if originally it wasn’t part of my plans. It came off and here I am at four in the morning our time sitting in the airport in Irkutsk waiting with Gareth K11 for the rest of the European group. Bajkal 2015, Gareth

This year there are 15 ice yachtsmen from Europe and two from the USA.Bajkal 2015,

After every possible delay we all set off by coach from Irkutsk to Baikal, to the “Little Sea” (the straits between the western shore and Okhon Island). We are heading along Barricades Street and Irkutsk is showing us both its good and bad sides in a glued-together mosaic of topsy-turvy images flashing past the coach’s windows.

Unfinished modern buildings right next to sagging or partially dilapidated  wooden ones, building waste, messy public spaces, broken kerbs, dirt, modern but already deserted buildings, buildings of thriving companies, Stalinist blocks of flats, new blocks of flats, middle class villas. All without rhyme or reason, architecturally undeveloped, new with old, dirty with clean. Here life has a somewhat wild pulse.

Harmony is established after departing from the city – the nearer we get to the lake the more picturesque the countryside becomes, even if it is a bit parched. 

Bajkal 2015, travel

After six hours in the coach we are there. We settle in at the Ujuga base. The container hasn’t arrived – it will be here tomorrow. So just a brief stroll on the metre-thick ice and then to sleep, trying to sleep off the six-hour time difference.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings…