Моё открытие жемчужины Сибири / My discovery of The pearl of Siberia

There are many miracles on the Earth. I watched films about some of them, I read books, my mother told me about it. Sometimes my dreams were about them too. I was attracted by romantic dreams to appear in those amazing places since childhood and walked through the paths of famous travellers.

One day, my dreams began to come true! Two years ago my family decided to visit our relatives in Irkutsk. On the way there I thought: «Finally , I`ll have a chance to touch to one of the great mysteries of the planet and I`ll be able to understand why lake Baikal is called a miracle of nature «.

On the first day we went to the local history museum. There were many objects at the museum. But I was interested in those which were connected with the Baikal, for example the model of a tectonic fracture. By the way, the deepest lake Baikal is situated in it and the depth of the lake is 1637 meters. And there you can see some endemics of Lake Baikal: Baikal seal and small viviparous fish golomyanka. As far as I know, a lot of military hospitals were evacuated to this place during the Great Patriotic War. Wounds of the soldiers were treated with the oil of that fish.

Next day brought the most vivid impressions. We sailed on the ship «Barguzin» to the bay Peschanaya. How we were lucky with the weather! The Water in The Baikal was quiet and majestic. Fluffy Clouds were floating in the bright blue sky casting their shadow on the coastal mountains, which were covered by taiga. It was impossible to determine the color of the water immediately. Somewhere it was blue; somewhere it was turquoise or azure. Speaking frankly, the water in Lake Baikal was cold and transparent. We came to the sandy shore and looked around. It was beautiful! The Bay bordered by some dark black granite cliffs like terrible horsemen who kept order on the lake. We decided to climb on the highest rock. We climbed higher and higher. And there is a top! I raised my head and took my breath away from the ocean of taiga below me and in front me there was a spaciousness of the lake which were fading into skyline.

There was «The glorious sea, the sacred Baikal!» There was the pearl which attracted my imagination and dreams! The Baikal! A miracle! We continued our acquaintance with the Baikal then.

It was a trip by express train on Krugobaikalskaya railway . It was a part of the Great Trans-Siberian highway. Krugobaikalskaya railway is stretched along the southern coast of Lake Baikal for 260 km, from the source of the Angara river up to the station Mysovaya. Our excursion was accompanied by stories of the skilled guide. He told about the history of Krugobaikalskaya railway and about the Lake. The building of the railway began in 1902. The first train passed in 1904. Then we approached to the station Slyudyanka. It was unbelievable, but we saw the mountain which was covered with snow . Later our guide explained us that it was the deposit of white marble. We got off the train and saw some people who briskly bought something. They bought golden and smoke-dried arctic Cisco — the most delicious fish of the Baikal. To be on the Baikal and not to taste arctic Cisco? I `d like to eat and to eat that delicious fish forever!

To cut a long story short, our train went further. The road closely approached to the Lake. The Baikal was to the right of us and rocks to the left. Tunnels were broken in rocks on order to built on Krugobaikalskaya railway. A lot of civilians and exile migrants from Central and Siberian provinces of Russia workedthere.39 tunnels, 15 stone galleries, 29 middle metal ones, 411 small bridges were built. We admired the stone wall with the arch. That wall was erected by the Italians. Then we went into a tunnel: the walls and ceiling of one were smoked, because some locomotives were heated by coal in imperial times and passed through that tunnel.

And there was the middle our journey. It was a station Polovinnaya. The tourists gradually walked down to the lake. They hoped to swim in a hot day.

By the way, the water in the Baikal is very cold. We decided to drive on the catamaran which was standing near the Lake. We swam out from the shore and treadle. Light fresh wind blew into our faces and sun warmed us tenderly. White sea-gulls flew in the blue sky. Unfortunately, it was the time to go to the shore; the time of our stop was over. Our excursion was still in progress. Suddenly, announcer told us what we were approaching to the shortest tunnel and there was a tradition to think of wishes. I closed my eyes and thought that I would surely return there once more. Our journey was over. We swam across the river Angara by ferryboat and returned to Irkutsk. I couldn`t fall asleep that night, although I got tired. Some amenities of the Baikal flashed like frames from the movie before me. There were sometimes severe and majestic, but sometimes native and magnetic.

Good-bye, Lake Baikal, I was looking forward to our next meeting!