Okay, I'll admit it, my title is a bit dodgy but hey, gotta come up with something, right? So, after yesterday's «From Russia with love», today, I take you to Mongolia.
It's an incredible country, so big, so empty and yet, so mesmerizing and enthralling. We spent two weeks in two different regions: the Gobi Desert and the Arkhangai Province.
We arrived in Ulaanbaatar by train in the early morning, spent the night there and then took a bus to Mandalgovi, the capital of the Gobi desert region.
Here is what stuck with me from the Gobi desert:
- the heat;
- the dust;
- "everywhere", the answer to the question: «where's the bathroom?»;
- the emptiness;
- the lack of variety in the food;
- the feeling of being alone in the world;
- the salty tea;
- playing games with sheep bones;
- walking for hours in the desert;
- the kids;
- the rock formations;
- the tech (solar panels, flat screen TVs, cellphones)
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After the dryness of the Gobi desert we went back to Ulaanbaatar for a night before taking a new bus to Tsetserleg, the capital of the Arkhangai province. The province is much greener and the weather a bit colder than in the desert.
The things I remember most from that region are:
- the flies;
- the Mongolian horse saddle — NEVER AGAIN!;
- the dry goat cheese;
- the extremely bumpy bus ride;
- the overcrowded bus;
- the flies;
- the difference in food between the Gobi and the province;
- the sheep, goats, yaks and horses;
- the kindness of the last family we stayed with;
- being woken up at 7am to witness a sheep being killed, skinned and emptied;
- did I mention the flies?
Finally, when we got back from the Arkhangai province, we spent a couple of days in Ulaabaatar. This is what stuck with me:
- it's much bigger than I imagined;
- it floods fast;
- it's polluted;
- it's invaded by French people;
- there are no taxis, just people that pick you up on their way;
- it's modern;
- the monks humming and chanting.
Mongolia is an amazing and beautiful country. They have such a rich cultural background! I loved it and I hope I will be lucky enough to go back some day.
Tune in on Friday to see part three of the trip!