Wooden Houses of Irkutsk
We arrived back in Irkutsk about midday. This the 5th time I have checked into the Angara Hotel. I couldn't understand why my iPad was picking up wifi but not our phones till I realised that it remembered the password from our visit 18 months ago. Makes you feel a seasoned travelled when your iPad recognises Siberian hotels!!
We returned to the cafe recommended by Leonid for lunch. It pays to take local advice. Cost about $10 for the 3 of us for dumplings and beer.
Then we walked down to Karl Marx Street where, on our previous visit, we had located the house Wally's mother had lived in before the revolution. We were able to identify it from photos taken in 1916. It is now an art gallery and last time we were there we able to look through. We couldn't today as it is closed for a change of exhibitions. However the lady at the desk actually remembered us from our last visit. In fact there was a staff of 3 (2 manning the cloakroom) to inform us the place was closed. We had the same experience twice in Khabarovsk - 3 people employed to advise potential visitors the establishment was closed.
This image is not that house, it is much grander and Wally's mum lived in apartments on the 1st floor. I have chosen this one to show the typical old wooden houses of Irkutsk. They are quite elaborate and beautiful but unfortunately most are in such disrepair they are gradually being demolished. Many are slowly sinking due to poor foundations and the continual raising of the level of the road with new layers of asphalt. To compensate, replicas of the traditional houses have been constructed in a new precinct but it just doesn't seem quite the same.
We leave tomorrow on the 5am train for Beijing, travelling via Mongolia so won't be online again for a couple of days.