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  • Day10

    Today was a busy day in Ulaanbaatar, we had to pack our bags to leave, go on a city tour and then head out to camp.
    I had done most of my arrangements last night once we got back so I was pretty set to go, just had to put in last minute toiletries.

    After breakfast Toya took us to the Gandan Monastery complex where we got to see a number of temples. What was cool is the monks were in the middle of their chanting ritual so we got to see that happen while touring around the temples. We went to three.

    The first one was the oldest temple left over from the 1800’s whereas the rest were built well after. The second temple had a massive statue in it of one of their Gods and its size was simply remarkable. And the third was the weather temple that was from the Dalhi Lama. It was a very interesting site to visit.

    Next we went to the old home of the last king and queen of Mongolia. This was a very simple palace, nothing elaborate to be honest. But the temples inside the complex were very well cared for, and inside of them was pretty fantastic. They had temples dedicated to gods, ornate silks, and all sorts of other things. This palace complex was truly fascinating.

    Lastly on our city tour we went to Zaisan Hill to view the city, but also to see the monument to the Soviet soldiers who helped Mongolia out during the revolution. The view was outstanding.

    After lunch we grabbed our overnight bags and were on our way to the desert for the ger camp. We made two stops on route, one at the grocery store, and the other at the statue/monument to Chinggis Khaan.

    The monument was massive, and really cool. At the base of it there is a movie, and a museum. On the main level there is a giant Mongolian boot and an elevator to the top of the monument. At the top, you can get out and walk onto the horses head that Chinggis is riding. It was so cool to get that close and see the details, but also to have a panoramic view of the area. It was an fantastic site visit.

    After we exhausted our time here, we headed back on the road to the Ger camp. We did on road and off road driving, got held up in a Mongolian traffic jam (herds of cattle and horses taking up space on the road) and saw some crazy driving techniques. Eventually we made it around 7 pm, just in time for dinner.
    We had enough time to get to our gers and get settled in before having dinner. After dinner we went to the Welsch’s Ger for vodka, junk food, s’mores and socializing. It was fun. We know how to have a good time.

    We all didn’t make it very long since we were all exhausted from the day, so it definitely was an early night for all of us, especially with tomorrow’s activities just on the horizon.
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  • Day12

    Woke up a bit cold today since our fire burned out overnight, and the camp was covered in close to a foot of snow. It was beautiful, and such a treat to wake up to. Except it was cold, and I didn’t have the proper dress for it. Layers it was for me.

    After breakfast we left the camp to head back to UB for shopping, and sightseeing.

    On route back we stopped and saw a cool rock formation, and made wishes at a shaman marker. It was pretty neat.
    Once we got to UB, day rooms were given to us by the hotel, which meant repacking for the train, and hot showers. I opted to sightsee and shop first then head back to the hotel and relax.

    Our sightseeing took us to the main square that we had only seen at night before, as well as the Beatles square which was blocked off due to construction. There isn’t really anything super significant here, but it is a nice city. We got some shopping done at Mary & Martha’s Fair Trade & Ethical store, where we all spent a fair bit. The items were cute and made by women who are trying to earn an income, as well as female prisoners trying to generate income to make the prison more hospitable. It was a great little shop and I’m happy to pay a little bit more to give back to the local community .

    Afterwards I went to the department store for souvenirs. I really wanted my knockoff Starbucks mugs, but couldn’t find them. I did get some souvenirs for people and a few for myself.

    On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at Burger King for some real “authentic” Mongolian food, lol. We also hit the post office up, and sent off a bunch of postcards.
    As we were cutting through the square we weren’t sure if there was a protest or a concert going on, but it was fairly interesting to see and watch.

    And now after a hot shower, we are relaxing at the hotel. Another forty minutes in comfort before we are on the train for two days. After the two days we arrive in Irkutsk and go to Lake Baikal for a night before moving on to Yekaterinburg.
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  • Day13

    This morning we woke up at the Mongolian border with Russia.
    Our train engine played crash boom ditch (similar to ding dong ditch, except with rail cars) during the night, and left us in the middle of the tracks. When we woke up we only had 30 minutes to use the border washroom, which we had to pay for. Because from 8am till 10 am we were without passports as we had to surrender them to the Mongolian officials. Just after 10 am we received them back.

    Next we were taken to “no mans land” which is the area between Mongolian and Russian borders.

    Without going into the glorious details, the Russians were very thorough with their carriage inspection, passport inspection, and dog sniffing inspection. There were about four different officers we had to deal with.

    After everything was hunky dory with the Russians we were given our passports back and allowed to leave the train. We had a three hour window to wait until our engine came with another set of carriages to attach to us. We were in the village of Naushki and it was a tiny cute village. We saw babushkas selling their goods, to which I bought my first piroshki!!, a cow just walking down the Main Street, and ramshackle buildings. We walked to this little rustic cafe where we had hot borscht, and drinks. The food was very good, and cheap, just the way I like it!

    As we made our way back to the train station we were allowed to explore the area a bit, not that there was much to see, except the cow that was wandering around Main Street was now wandering around the train station. He also picked up a friend too. None of the locals batted an eye, while tourists like me were like Wtf. It was pretty funny.

    I boarded the train shortly after, but with time to spare so I could enjoy my warm piroshki. My goody attracted me some new friends, six to be exact. I had dogs follow me to this carriage door, it was quite funny, except for when I asked my cabin mates if I could bring one with us ... I was met with a resounding no, lol.

    After this I’ll be honest, nothing exciting happened except good conversation, a beautiful sunset and instant mashed potatoes.
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  • Day6

    Today we are heading back to Ulan Bator to stay one night in a hostel and switching the next day to another Ger camp, west of UB, with another setting.

    On our way back form our last Ger camp we got to make a little detour to the Chinggis Khan monument. Apparently the biggest horse statue in the world!

  • Day7

    With a some other people staying at the nomad camp I am staying in. Corinna decided to stay at the camp since she had still enough pain in her legs from the last horse ride.

    I didn't want to loose the chance on my hand to ride once more in Mongolia and discover the winter shelter of the Normand family.

  • Day10

    Never heard about it myself but there is a pretty famous rally from London to Ulan Bator with the only rule that you have to make it in the smallest car possible. Got that story told from our first Ger camp host.

    And how what's here? Just in front of our hostel a dirty small car with English number plate and fire wood and other things on the roof.

  • Day3

    With a big surprise for us seeing the racks full of german Edeka "Gut & Günstig" products. Where in germany this brand marks the low end it's over here the premium high end stuff!

  • Day3

    What a relief to have a stroll through the mild to cool forest in the evening after a month hustling through China with all its crowds and air pollution and heat. This was now just wonderful!

You might also know this place by the following names:

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