Friday, 2 March 2012
Hello from Lake Baikal!
The eagle has landed and I can get on the internet although all my blog instructions are in Russian so this is not easy! My dreaded journey turned out to be fantastic - my how things have changed over here. Straight through passport control, baggage reclaim and customs, checked into next flight to Irkutsk - all within 30 minutes of touching down and with over 3 hours to spare! Makes the chaos at BMI Heathrow terminal 1 look rather stupid. But of course the russians do it with people rather than self check in machines that require attendants to oversee them, and then you still have to queue to drop your bag in the normal way with fully staffed desks. Crazy!! Arrived at Irkutsk 7.45am Friday - 9 hours ahead of UK. Still dark and freeze the breath in your lungs cold at -25. Lisa (our organiser) told me the winter had been most odd. Warm for Siberia in February, but all of a sudden colder now. Drove in minibus for 1 hour on a very undulating highway with nothing but forest on either side - and then we saw the lake on a glorious sunny day - a flat expanse of ice and snow just going on for ever in all directions. With the odd solitary person walking on it for no apparent purpose. Listvyanka is a colourful small town - everything a bit dilapidated rather like somewhere like Fleetwood. Yes it feels as though you're on the coast in a traditional small englih resort that's seen better days. And to remedy it they've painted everything in bright colours. Going to have a snooze now and then will wander out and test the spikes a bit later on. Apparently 80 in the marathon and 50 in the half - a lot more in the half than ever before. Seems a long way to come to stop in the middle of a lake only half way across! I don't think I'll be able to load any photos, but hopeful I might get some video up after the race. Hope to blog again tomorrow.