Armchair Travel: Irkutsk, Siberia

Here are a few more pictures from our trip on the Trans Siberian Railway in 1990. Again I do apologise for the quality of some of these photos.

After travelling through northern China and Mongolia on the Trans Mongolian Express we arrived in Irkutsk, Siberia where we had an overnight stop. Irkutsk is set on the Angara River which was partially frozen.

Although it was very cold the weather was clear and sunny and we were able to explore the area near our hotel on foot. I liked the architecture even though I don’t suppose the old wooden buildings were very comfortable in a Siberian winter. I also really liked the light there so I took as many photos as I could.

A sidewalk in Irkutsk Siberia 1990
A sunny afternoon in Irkutsk, Siberia March 1990
I was surprised to see an actual circus building.
David in Irkutsk

As it was winter and there were very few opportunities to tour but there was another Australian couple who were also changing trains in Irkutsk and as they were well travelled and knew a few things they were able to arrange a group tour of Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Apart from us there were the two girls sharing our compartment, one Canadian and one Japanese and a couple of guys who I think were from Denmark or Germany. I can’t remember now.

Lake Baikal was interesting although David and I found it hard to keep our footing in the ice and snow. It was strange to be walking down a road that was actually a river which had frozen solid.

image Lake Baikal
Visiting Lake Baikal, Siberia
Wooden house near Lake Baikal, Siberia 1990
walking on a frozen river
Village house at Lake Baikal.
David in Irkutsk, Siberia

This place near Lake Baikal was where it was customary for newlyweds to come and tie a ribbon to one of the trees for luck.

There are many beautiful churches in Irkutsk. I especially liked the Russian Orthodox ones. We were able to look inside one or two but I didn’t take photographs.

We also visited some of the buildings associated with the Decemberists. These were people who had been exiled to Siberia in 1826 after a failed uprising amongst the military. There is an interesting article about them that you can read here.

postcard of a Decemberists House

Further Reading:



I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.


  1. “It was strange to be walking down a road that was actually a river which had frozen solid.”

    I once saw a documentary, it was either about truckers in Siberia or Canada… they drove over those frozen river roads with their trucks. I was amazed but in reality, I wouldn’t trust anyone who would attempt to convince me to enter a truck that will drive over the ice.

    Nice pictures! 1990? You’ve been in the Soviet Union! Ironically it was just yesterday when I saw a documentary about the Russian Orthodox church… they explained the history very well. Now I see your church photos, they’re indeed beautiful buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes 1990 it was still the USSR. St Petersburg was still known as Leningrad. I’ve seen something similar about the truckers on the ice. I wonder with climate change if that will still be feasible in the future?

      Liked by 1 person

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