|Day 12, 13. Krasnoyarsk - Irkutsk|
This leg was the longest due to the flood in Tulun, where we originally planned a night over, and had to cancel as the town was literally washed away. President Putin arrived to Tulun on this day to support the flood victims and kick buts of the local administration.
In spite of the flood, the highway is no problem to drive on, 2- and 4-lane spans alternating.
Irkutsk is a big and important Siberian city, yet it is in a very poor condition. Beside a few central streets and downtown shopping area, the rest of the city has a sorrowful look with terrible street pavement or no pavement at all, chipped facades, huge pot holes and ugly buildings. They will be electing a new city administration in a few days, and the criticism on local TV and in newspapers is overwhelming - the media are bluntly calling the current city management a gang of crooks and thieves. I'll check later if they succeeded swiping the current city administration away.
Yet, the city has nice sites worth seeing.
The tourist district called "Quarter 130" is nice. Plenty of Siberian souvenirs, great Siberian food representing Russian, Buriat and Mongolian cuisines, folk dancers and singers gladly teaching you a few moves or song lines.
Rassolnik Soup, served in a clay bowl, on a wooden tray with nice smelling herbs and a cedar cone.
One more observation: Irkutsk seems to have as many Asians as Russians. The Chinese tourists and businessmen are everywhere.
Projecting this into the next 20 years does not make me too happy... Well, we are going to Lake Baikal tomorrow - the gem of our itinerary.
NEXT LEG : Irkutsk - Lake Baikal >