It’s true. I want to go to Siberia.
Not, like, enemy-of-Stalin style. I like cold weather, but not that much. No, I want to go as a tourist, and I have a destination in mind.
You can be forgiven if you’ve never heard of this place, so let me introduce you. Lake Baikal is the oldest, deepest, and largest freshwater lake in the world.
I’ll break it down.
- Oldest – Lake Baikal was formed 25-30 million years ago. To put that in perspective, 25 million years ago, South America was still full of nine-foot-tall Terror Birds. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
- Largest – For sheer amount of fresh water, nothing competes. Check this out: you round up every drop of fresh water on the Earth’s surface, put it all in a big tank. One in every five of those drops is from Lake Baikal.
- Deepest – We’re talking over a mile deep. Let’s put that in perspective. You get the best athletes on the planet and create some kind of physics-defying vertical track, and have them run top-speed from the surface to the bottom…and it’s four minutes before they get there. Dayumn.
Of course I could tell you all kinds of other things. Like, that Lake Baikal contains an island where shamans live, big enough to have lakes of its own…that it has fish that give birth to live young…that it’s home to its the only exclusively freshwater seal in existence, found nowhere else in the world…that in fact, 80% of the animals there live nowhere else in the world…that the ice in winter is so thick, they once drove a train over it.
But I wouldn’t want you to get bored. And I wouldn’t want to distract you from buying your tickets to Siberia!
Okay, I admit, I am a crazy person. But my enthusiasm for this place is real, and a visit there is actually on my bucket list.
Where would you like to go?