Early wake-up again: 6am. Train to Ulan-Ude is at 7:15am. Trip today is 6.5 hours. It’s one of the best parts of the Trans-Siberian route; the train goes along Lake Baikal.
We arrived around 2:30pm in Ulan Ude.
The arrival is a bit depressing (the city looks rather gloomy) and Isabelle suddenly feels a bit down. The grey sky and the entrance of our homestay apartment (located on the 5th floor of an old building, without elevator) probably don’t help (see picture). But the apartment is rather big (and there is a nice view of the town). The parents of the owners were most probably member of the soviet nomenklatura to be able to get such a spacious accommodation (according to one of our guides).
We go to the town centre. We walk on Lenin’s pedestrian street to go and see the world’s biggest Lenin head on the main square (Ploshcahd Sovetov).
We watch the nice show in the fountain, whose soaring and dropping waters are synchronized with the classical music, on the little square in front of the Opera and Ballet Theatre.
We see many more Asian faces in the streets. The city is example of different cultures living together with Russians mixing with the Mongol Buryat peoples, making for a real “East meets West” experience. The city was opened to tourists in 1990 only.
Ulan-Ude is the capital of the Buryat Republic. The Buryats is the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia. Buryats are of Mongolian descent; they were nomads when Russian colonists first arrived at Lake Baikal. Buryats share the same traditions as the Mongols, including their 3 most popular sports: archery, wrestling and horse racing.
We got short rain.
Dinner in Nomads (Buryat/Mongolian restaurant).
Early curfew tonight.