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Baikal Ice March

 

Day 1- Upon arrival in Irkutsk transfer to the downtown Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. After check in enjoy “The Bronzes of Irkutsk” special sightseeing tour of Irkutsk. Besides major sights of interest the tour will also include visit to the SIZO -Investigation Cell # 1 of the Irkutsk Prison to see an educative museum of XIX-XX c. Siberian penitentiary, wax figure of Admiral Alexander Kolchak in the cell he stayed before his extrajudicial execution in 1920. We  will also see the “special needs” Saint Kharlampiy Church  where, on the way from Port of Arthur, Admiral Kochak was married in 1905 as well as a remarkable monument to the Admiral near the Znamenskaya Orthodox Cathedral..

 A tasty and one-of-a-kind “historical” lunch (based on dishes/ entrees of Siberian merchant’s tavern menu of XX c.)  shall be served for the Baikal ice marchers at the “Russian Alaska” restaurant

    After lunch, we continue our exploration of Irkutsk. Getting closer to the major topic of the Baikal Ice March program, we shall visit the museum of Baikal Navigation located inside the original “Angara” icebreaker (one of the two icebreakers built by British shipyard “Sir WG Armstrong, Mitchell & Company” for the use on Lake Baikal in the end of XX c.).

 

  Upon completion of the excursion at the Baikal navigation museum we shall drive to recently renovated and historically reconstructed Irkutsk 130th Quarter that features many wooden houses decorated with beautiful fretwork. There we will attend “Window into Asia” museum complex for a historical presentation of the Baikal Ice March.

 Our dinner tonight is at the “Malty Farmstead” Restaurant, overnight at the Marriot Hotel.

 

Day 2  -  After breakfast we check out from the hotel for a transfer by coach to the Port of Baikal. En route, for a cultural immersion into the Siberian way of life in the XIX-XX centuries, we will be visiting the region’s highlight Taltsy museum of original wooden houses, complete with households,  outpost and chapels.. We will also have time to visit Baikal Museum before taking a ferry at the Angara mouth for a further 10-minutes ride from Listvyanka to the Port of Baikal.   

Upon arrival at the Port, we will check in at a cozy and well-kept Lighthouse Guest Lodge at the Port of Baikal railway station (the starting point of the Circum-Baikal Railroad). After a short tour of the museum of the Circum Baikal Railroad construction, be introduced to the March corporals, sergeant and the officer. Then gather together for   orientation lecture on the upcoming the next day ice march, hear the story about the Mosin bolt rifle and receive instructions on how to properly handle weapons, use the ammunition  items and outfit before receiving it from  quartermaster sergeant against acknowledgement of receipt. Then the sergeant will call you all for a ceremonial view, short training for line and column formations, marching, and, finally, learning the March song of the Day 1.  

At dinner, listen to the possible orders one can hear and has to obey on the upcoming march day…

 ( Relax during the overnight , your sergeant and officer  are strict infantry guys, however, during both days of Baikal Ice foot march there will be No any “double march” or “enforced marching” orders exercised, only Forward, March or “as skirmishers, march” – certainly, in a moderate way, sparingly..) 

 Day 3 After an early morning sergeant wake-up sharp call  get dressed, washed , have breakfast,  then receive basic field halt  ration from quartermaster sergeant,  properly stack your  infantry  backpack, re-check your ammunition.  While the officer carries on the command reconnaissance, all  marchers will be welcome to partake in loading the army mail and march consignment on to the  courier’s sleighs before starting the ice march from the Baranchik cape..

 Halt for a chow halfway to the Seredina relay station, learn to make tea on a log-stove after  building a fire on the ice, have hot tea with Sagan-Dalya rhododendron, and use some of your filed  ration.. On the officer’s mark get ready to continue the foot march (do not forget as your sergeant  said the other day: dissolve a couple of sugar cubes to prevent pores of your legs from clogging up on  the march...). 

 Most likely, that upon approaching the Seredina relay station you may hear your sergeant shout some  orders to be obeyed,  like: “deployment in line order, ready position for prone firing, or kneeling (  make sure then that your fire-enable timing  is o’k.. ).

  A couple of hours before the sun hides behind the Tolstiy Cape we reach the Seredina  station. ,  Firstly, have  time for your private comforts and hygiene, then hot dinner cooked over the rolling   kitchen, and as envisaged by the tsarist infantry ration some hot wine will also be provided..  

   Before the overnight partake in our special “war burial and peace blessing ceremony”.. Then enjoy  natural environment amidst the great Baikal enchanted in ice, with fantastic views of the sun going down the hills of the southernmost Baikal.   However, the sergeant will be there to assign the fortunate few for a barrack duty, and each of the marchers alike will have a chance of being on sentry duty under starry skies of Baikal..

                                        Day  4 - Wake up efficiently for a morning exercise, first, then have breakfast, re-stack your  infantry backpacks, get ready for the move. Form column on command; leave the SEREDINA station  on eastward shore foot march.  

                                             Halfway to Tankhoy stop for a chow. A short while after this halt the sergeant will be ordering  to exercise battle-drills, defensive layouts in the ice hummocks to get prepared for further  regiment deployment and rupture the enemy's battle position (i.e. the lake’s eastern shore).

                                        Upon seizure of the eastern shore of Baikal near Tanhoy – enjoy a hearty “bread-and-salt”  welcome treat, taste real Siberian "schi" soup before ceremonially marching to the Tankhoy station  lodge for quartering. There have a Siberian Banya (steam bath)   before the Baikal Ice March Gala  Dinner followed by the award ceremony and… well-organized singing of the March Day 2 song..

 

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Weather in Irkutsk
MON (26.06, morning) 26 / 24 Day
MON (26.06, day) 32 / 30 Day
MON (26.06, evening) 25 / 23 Day
TUE (26.06, night) 20 / 18 Night
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