Howdy all. Today we are continuing on from last week delving into my diary from 2017’s Trans-Mongolian adventure. Last week I took the train from Beijing to the Mongolian capital of Ulaan Baatar. This week is the first of two posts from Mongolia before I get on the train to Russia. So, to the diary!
Here I am – in a yurt (or a ger as they say here) I am in Mongolia! Wow, I’m desperately needing a fire to kick in here it’s getting a little cold which has been all day. The thermometer never got over 5 degrees Celsius whilst in the car, or presumably out of it. Lady has just come in at 7:00 PM, she’s filling the stove/fire thing with wood. Honestly I’m not sure how that is going to work hopefully it starts roaring soon and I get warm!
8:30 AM, up, phone hadn’t charged for some reason plugged in and turned on. Breakfast – mango juice and toast, egg and cereal also available had a shower and paid Anad. Packing more manic than I would have liked such is life I guess. Met Katrin – German girl on my tour just us two and driver whose name I can’t remember. First stop Zaya Hostel Number One to drop her bag as she is swapping hostels then to Salena travel where I got my ticket to Irkutsk. It’s two nights on the train I totally forgotten, leaving at 2035 on Monday.
First stop as part of the tour was the Zaisan Memorial and Buddha park it says in the Lonely Planet. Still in Ulaan Baatar. There was a lot of building going on in the area. The Buddha park had one statue – gold. The wind cut through us like a knife, it was warm in the car. The memorial was atop a big hill which required climbing. A tank statue perched at 45 degrees at the bottom and a route from Moscow to Berlin next to it on a wall showed what it was all about – World War Two.
So was the monument – big statue of a soldier with a panorama inside a ring of concrete with various scenes. It was built by the Russians to commemorate the ‘unknown soldier ‘and heroes from various wars. Bought a postcard off a guy selling souvenirs there. 800 Togrog but as cheap so you’ll see. Soon at the next main stop this truly monolithic structure of Genghis Khan. On the way there we stopped for photos of Eagles and Hawks and camels.
No improvement with the weather in fact we have just had light snow – on and off all day. The statue is newish, 40 metres high and you can climb inside it which is nifty. Expensive in comparison to everything else really at 8500 and the woman didn’t have all the change and I had to go back and get it after I climbed the statue.
There was a lavish round space underneath the statue I may have missed a short video about making the statue according to the Lonely Planet and that supposed to be a museum, strange. Up in a lift and there are a few flights of stairs ended up on the horses head looking back at Genghis Khan’s face!
After coming down the sky went briefly blue which allowed some better photos and then we were off to Terelj National Park which is where I am staying tonight. It’s pretty stunning – Rocky Mountains all around valleys, stuff LOL There’s vegetation including trees but we’re just coming out of winter here so everything is sort of sadly dreary brown.
First stop was at ‘Turtle Rock’ – an interesting large rock shaped like a tortoise remind me a little of the broken heart rock in Kyrgyzstan. Then we came to the Gers camp well there are heaps actually. Seems it’s the thing to do strangely, though I seem to be the only tourist hanging out here now. The wind is shaking my ger as I write. Anyway, we checked mine out and then went to another one across the dusty road for dining. Bigger – a Korean group shared the ger with it wasn’t very warm and we had lunch shortly after 2:00 PM. Lunch was a sort of burek style pastry with meat inside. Really nice and soup. Then it was on to the monastery put up the dirt road to another down another valley the Aryapala Monastery. It was up the mountain at the end of a valley. More stairs, blue skies returned to reveal a stunning view. lots of Buddhism sayings along the trail to the monastery on science in English and I presume Mongolian. Loads of people taking selfies too.
Then back to camp in my ger for the night. Too cold for a walk here. Hopefully as forecast better weather tomorrow. Coal on the fire. Dinner in my belly – sort of pasta with meat. I sure hope I don’t need the loo overnight – no torch. Going to settle in now…
Good morning, good morning, it’s fun to stay up late time 10:35 ish AM waiting for a lift to the bus. It’s so much warmer like 15-18 degrees Celsius. Truly I wouldn’t have believed it barely a cloud in the sky! Writing on a table outside the wind is fierce again.
The lady starts the fire. Last night it must have been 35 degrees in there I was down to very little on, didn’t know whether to keep the fire going. Opened the door to around zero degrees last night at nearly 9PM. Went to bed 11:30 PM much later than planned slept OK. Woke cold at 2:15 AM for a we had to put wood on the fire and put on long bottoms and jumper.
Breakfast at 8:40, nice! Toast, soup, sausage, egg. All packed ready to go now.
And thus I left Terelj to return to Ulaan Baatar, which I hadn’t really explored yet. And that will be the subject of the diary entries I bring you next week! Thanks for visiting today, take care – and May the Journey Never End!
See also – Terelj, Mongolian Steppe Through My Lens