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  Main arrow Tour offers and itineraries arrow Winter Rendezvous With New Year & Lake Baikal  
   “Winter Rendezvous with New Year-2005 & Lake Baikal”


Duration: 4 nights/5 days; December, 29-January,02 



 Suggested Itinerary


Day 1
December, 29,2004

Welcome to winter time Irkutsk - “Paris of Siberia”, capital of its great Eastern part –Siberia’s Microcosm and the gateway to “Siberia’s” Pearl - Lake Baikal!


Upon arrival we meet you with professional bi-lingual guide holding “Baikal Discovery” sign assist with the luggage and provide transfer to the Angara hotel located in the central square of Irkutsk.
When checking in at the hotel–enjoy Baikal Discovery welcome drink. After some time at leisure before a busy touring day we shall, first, go on  a guided sightseeing tour of Irkutsk.
During the tour today we’ll visit the city’s historical center and its most atmospheric sights, including Znamenskaya Orthodox Cathedral, noted for its original iconostasis, grave of the so-called “Russian Columbus” Grigory Shelekhov and graves of the Decembrists-revolutionaries banned to Siberia after an ill-fated attempt in 1825 to overthrow the Russian tsar; we will also have opportunities to take pictures of  richly carved old-style wooden houses , see the Monument to Russian Pioneers of  Siberia  topped by the bronze figure of Alexander-the 3rd , the White House of Siberian Province.
After lunch to be served in downtown restaurant we shall also visit  the central market of Irkutsk where you will see how the residents of our city prepare for the New Year celebration, what they purchase, how the city decorates itself on the eve of New Year.
Then we shall tour  Decembrist  museum to be followed  by “Russian Romantic Song Concert” at Prince Volkonsky Mansion (the mansion used to belong in the past to one of the leaders of Decembrist revolutionaries - Russian aristocracy who were banned to Siberia after their  ill-fated attempt in December of 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar). The program of "Russian Romantic Song " concert will include most famous Russian, French and Italian songs and melodies once very popular in the past among the nobles and that were often performed inside this mansion when the hosts - Prince Volkonsky and his wife were still alive. The song and music will be performed by the prime-soloists of Irkutsk State Chamber Orchestra; one of the leading musicians shall play a recently restored concertino/clavichord once used by the Decembrists. In the end before we say “farewell” to the present hosts of the mansion we shall be offered champagne.
Upon return back to the hotel we will have dinner. And after dinner you’re welcome to explore the city’s Ice Township with city’s main Christmas Fir Tree which is traditionally constructed on the New Year eve at the central city square (right opposite your hotel) and is the place for winter entertainment of kids and adults alike. 

Day 2
December,30, 2004

After breakfast check out from the hotel and depart by coach to Listvyanka settlement – « the Gateway to Lake Baikal» located in the mouth of Angara-river, 62 km away from Irkutsk.
En route stop at the holy «obo»- sight of worship by local shamanism believers where following the ancient local customs you’ll be invited to “sprinkle some vodka or milk “ and tie ribbons on the bushes as if to do offering to the local master-spirits and win them over.
Then we proceed by coach another 18 km to stop in the source of the Angara River from Lake Baikal near the Shaman rock associated with many popular legends.  After taking pictures here and learning about some ancient customs of local people, we proceed a short distance further to our hotel.
Check in at Ersy Inn guest house or Baikal Terema Hotel (as per prior request). Upon check in – enjoy another welcome drink from Baikal Discovery (this time it will be a special treat with “raskolodka” frozen slices of fish and some vodka) . Lunch of tasty Siberian cuisine shall be served at the Baikal Terema Hotel.
After lunch we visit Baikal Ecology Museum which has a large display of unique exhibits of the lake’s flora and fauna, see an interesting video about Lake Baikal and also visit the Baikal fresh water seal aquarium. 
Then we drive by coach to an observation sight from where one can enjoy and take pictures of excellent views on Lake Baikal and afterwards visit popular functioning St. Nicolas-the-Miracle-Worker Russian Orthodox Church built of wood without use of any nail. Here you may buy a candle and lit it placing before the main church icon asking the Wonder-Maker Saint for luck in the year soon to follow. 
Before dinner we will also visit one of the local village families and will have tea from samovar while chatting with the hosts and watching how the family prepares to meet the New Year. You may also help the family to decorate the Fir Tree.
Dinner and overnight- back at the Baikal Terema Hotel. 

Day 3
December, 31, 2004

After breakfast we’ll depart for a guided tour of the Taltsy Open-Air Museum of Wooden Architecture–the place for all people to experience the history and traditions of the peoples of Siberia-Buryats, Evenks and Russians. 
After the tour of Museum we shall enjoy our mini-Russian Winter Festival with  Troika ride on horse sleighs (with three horses put in a harness) which in the museum surroundings will make you feel like taking a special tour into the past Russian history, and also you’ll be involved in a number of traditional Russian folk games. 
And then we will have tea-party with pan-cakes the way Russian people do in Siberia usually do (with honey, sour cream, moss berries etc.) in the village pub of the Museum.
We return back to the hotel to get prepared for Siberian Banya (steam bath), which is also a wide-spread tradition Russians keenly preserve and like especially on the eve of New Year when one is supposed to sweat out and wash away all past problems in the Banya in order to  enter the New Year clean and released of any burden of the last year. 
Before you start sweating-out in the Banya, you will get our special instructions and all explanations required to ensure you have Siberian steam bath spent in a proper and most pleasant way (our special birch and fir besoms shall also be prepared for you and our Banya-expert on your request shall provide special “besom massage”). During your stay in the Banya you will be offered our special tea and home made soft drinks and freshen-ups.

You will feel yourself as newly born after this Siberian Sauna and ready for a night-long celebration of the upcoming New Year!


 Some tips for Russian steam bath beginners

1. First sweat out then wash.
2. It's useful to take a shower (2-3 min.) before the sweating.
3. Come into the sweating-room wearing felted and wide-brimmed hat or make a turban from the towel.
4. Choose shorter, fluffier and lighter besoms (better two), use mittens when thrashing the body.
5. At the first time in the sweating-room first warm up without besom (7-10 min). Then drink hot tea to warm up "on the inside".
6. Pour only hot water with some drops of beer and with small portions and only on the hottest place of the rock stove (the water will "flap" or "explode"), the steam will be dry and light or mild.
7. A very good principles for the bath are course and moderation.
8. If you are ready to bathe in snow or to dip into the fonts with ice-cold water. You are already in the bath and have visited the sweating-room. And now you can try - first warm up well in the sweating-room and then go rapidly into the water/snow and again rapidly into the sweating-room, sweat out well with a besom. You'll feel indescribable pleasure!
9. You shouldn’t spend in the bath more than 2,5 hours.


After enjoying Siberian Steam bath you will need about 2 hours to relax and get ready for your Gala Dinner which will start at 10 p.m.
After we all gather at the Gala table according to an old tradition all the guests will be supposed to “Bid Your Farewell to the year of 2004”, and to do so you’ll be welcome to share some of your best memories and pleasant happenings which occurred in 2004 while  toasting to this year. There will also be a couple of quizzes or contests awaiting us before the New Year arrive.  Soon  and before the clock strikes 12 at night  a jolly man in red robes with golden lining called in Russia “Grandpa Frost” and his fairy princess granddaughter “Snowflake” will join us at the party with greetings and deliver some presents to us.  They will take us for a while outside to toast with champagne to and meet the first seconds of the New Year under starry Baikal skies. Happy New Year!
The whole night long we shall be celebrating the New Year sometimes getting outside for some fancy activities planned for us  or take part in various fancy Russian games, learn and sing famous Russian songs, and certainly enjoy our “Siberian Delicacies” New Year meal cooked in strict accordance with authentic Russian recipes (like our special “beef stroganoff – see its menu below) and other tasty entrees of Siberian cuisine. 


The Russian meal on New Year's is primarily meat and potato dishes. They make from 8 to 10 different salads with sandwiches. Beef Stroganoff’s popular recipe (the way it should be): 1 lb. beef tenderloin, 1 lb. mushrooms, 1 cup onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 cup sour cream.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. Slice beef into thin strips and brown in hot butter. Remove meat from pan. Add sliced mushrooms and onion salt and black pepper to skillet. Cook, slowly, until just tender Add wine, stir and add cooked beef to pan again. Heat through. Remove skillet from heat, stir in the sour cream and serve.



Day 4,
January, 01, 2005

Until afternoon enjoy your time at leisure. Then after having our late breakfast we get ready for our trip with picnic into the taiga-woods backcountry of Pribaikalsky National Park (overall and other gear shall be provided).  We, first, take a snowmobile ride to the Chelpanov meadow ( about 4 km ). Upon arrival in the Meadow and  after a short training we will have an opportunity to ride Siberian husky sleds  in the vicinity of Chelpanov meadow amidst the taiga-woods.  And then we enjoy our picnic meal – barbecue/shish kebabs with some vodka, hot tea and coffee. 

We return back to the hotel before dinner which will be your Farewell to Lake Baikal Dinner featuring some new entrees of tasty Siberian cuisine and followed by a Baikal-2005 Certificate Award to each tour participant.Overnight is at the hotel.  

  Day 5,
January, 02, 2005

After breakfast we check our from the hotel and depart by coach to Irkutsk airport for boarding the aircraft for return flight to Moscow.
Have a pleasant flight and Happy New Year-2005!



Preliminary cost of the above tour  based on twin room sharing basis:


 Number of pax in a group
  10 pax    16 pax    20 pax
 Cost p/p based on
Baikal Terema Hotel  
 865 USD p/p 810 USD p/p 770 USD p/p
 Cost based on
Guest House Inn  
 770 USD p/p  --------  --------

The cost includes full board (3 meals daily), all kind of transfers and transportations and transfers as per above tour itinerary,  all events included  ( Gala celebrations special menues, all museums and performances, trips as described above), 4 nights accommodation ( incl. 2 nights New Year rate costs ),  services of a local German-speaking interpreter-guide.

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