Travel Journal

5 days in Central Mongolia

(Saturday 21 July 2007) by Lynda
Went on a 5-day tour through Central Mongolia with Mal & Lu, Matt & Bex and Jason and me. The first day was a semi-day, driving through semi-desert in a semi-jeep over a semi-road, guided by a semi-guide. But we had a great time, especially when the camels came for our ride. The sun slowly sunk behind the sun dunes while we where floating on camelback, a wonderful experience. That night we slept in a ger, nice and cozy and even warm with the stove. The best feeling is opening the door of the ger and look outside: only mountains, horses and sheep around you, really the best way to start a day! The second day
Milking a yak
Milking a yak
we drove to the Orkhon waterfall and on the way there we spotted a lot of eagles, so amazing to see these birds of prey very close to the road. The road through the valley to the waterfall was not really a road, visualise a six lane dirt track, Mongolian style. Whenever there is water, rocks or potholes in the road, the driver just leaves the road and drives wherever he likes. The most bumpy experience so far!!!! The valley and the waterfall where beautiful: yaks, sheep and horses all around you, really the best scenery I've ever seen. We went on a horse riding trip just before sunset. From my riding lessons I know how to rise to the trot but didn't have a clue what to do in a canter or a full gallop. So I just held on for dear life and tried to catch the rhythm of the horse..... and they move fast, just yell "tschu tschu" and they start racing!
Ovorkhangai aimag (central Mongolia)
Ovorkhangai aimag (central Mongolia)
Such a great feeling, going in full gallop over the green hills in Mongolia, this is what horse riding is about, not going in circles in a riding school!!! We slept again in a ger and that evening we got a visit from the postman.... on his motorbike ...so we wrote and posted some postcards, curious if they ever will arrive. And we got a visit from traveling artists who gave us a performance of traditional music, just in our ger. Amazing what these people can do with their voice. After that we watched the stars, so bright and so many and so clear without the light pollution we have in Europe. I felt so tiny and so great at the same time!

Orkhon waterfall
Orkhon waterfall

Next morning we did another horse trip to a smaller waterfall and on a way back we helped the Mongols herding their sheep. These horses really know how to do it and all the sheep were responding, we were so proud of us, all the sheep in a big group in the centre.

On the forth day we drove back and stopped in Kharkorin, the old capital of Mongolia to see the old monastery and the ruins of the old town. After all the beauty we saw in the countryside we were not really impressed by the old monastery and couldn't even find the ruins..... thanks to our semi-guide. We slept again in a ger but unfortunately this ger was located in someone's back yard in the middle of Kharkorin and they even had a shower, not up to our standards after the lovely gers we slept in the nights before. The fifth day was just driving back to UB over dusty and bumpy roads and thanks to our driver (Timei.... if you pronounce it a bit different it means camel in Mongol language, "tschu tschu Timei!") we arrived back in one piece.

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