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After making our first travel dream come through, travelling on the Trans-Mongolian Railway, it was time to make our next dream come through: Mongolia! We looked forward to this remote and vast country with just emptiness and some ger camps from nomadic families spread out. And Mongolia did not let us down. Not at all!
The amazing friendly and kind people, the beautiful sceneries and the surprisingly rough mountains and cliffs just amazed us! And travelling through Mongolia by an old, Russian 4WD van from the Soviet times was the icing on the cake!
Before we head to the Gobi desert in the far south, we spend a few days in Terelj National Park. Here we experience the typical Mongolian landscape for the first time: vast, empty and ger tents with loads of cattle and horses! And we can experience a good night's sleep in these very pretty ger tents.
After a few lovely days with warm (read hot) weather, we finally start our tour we have been so much looking forward to. Gobi Desert, here we come! Our guide Dave and our driver Bagi are our new friends this coming week, plus a few thousands of sheep, goats, camels, horses, yaks and cows.
In our old but oh so comfortable Russian van we drive many hours each day. The road is mainly unpaved and therefore we experienced many bumpy rides which we called our Mongolian Massage! Comfortable? No. Adventure? Yes!
The scenery changes very regularly and it was an absolute feast for our eyes! But travelling through Mongolia isn't easy. Strong winds are constantly blowing and the temperature varies from hot (yes, very hot) to freezing cold. To get through the night we had to keep the fire burning, if we were lucky enough to have one!
During our stay at nomadic families we realized that living this way in Mongolia is very hard, especially during the cold and long winters. There is a lack of any comfort: no running water, no electricity and no toilet. The nomads are also not used to any privacy as they eat, sleep and cook in the same ger tent. Their hospitality and friendliness is stunning and they do their utmost to make our stay a very pleasant one.
Mongolia isn't famous for its cuisine, and we struggled with the food served. Their dietary consist primarily meat and dairy, and vegetables can hardly be found. Unfortunately we didn't like the meat they serve, as it was all sheep meat with loads of fat, so we were happy with our own food supply from Ulaanbatar consisting of apples, bananas and oat bars.
We absolutely loved our adventure in Mongolia and we were amazed by the variety of landscape this country has to offer: from steppe to mountains to bright red cliffs and canyons to sand dunes and even an ice glacier!