I am back after a few weeks of absence, sorry! Many things have happened since I left Mongolia, at the beginning of the month. I’ll tell you all about it soon.
But first, I wanted to talk to you about my last days there.
So, I go back to Ulaan-Bataar a few days later, and do the journey with Regis and Baricha, a very nice french couple. We visit a monastery together in Mörön on the way back, before taking the long night bus to Ulaan-Bataar. I’m unlucky: I get the worst seat possible, at the back, right in the middle; that means I don’t have anything in front of me to catch me every time the bus bumps on something (which is basically constantly the case). So I don’t get a lot of sleep that night, stuck in the middle of snoring Mongolians and trying to not fall off of my seat every 30 seconds…
Thankfully I had Mongolian music clips to keep me entertained! 😀
In Ulaan-Bataar, I decide to go to a guesthouse called Sunpath because I wanted a change and I was recommended their tours. I can’t leave Mongolia without seeing the Gobi desert, so I ask them straight away if I can join a tour. I usually avoid organized trips of that type, but in Mongolia, it’s difficult to choose another option, since it’s a not a very ‘solo-backpacker friendly’ country.
So there I am, a few days later, ready to go on a six-day tour in the desert. (Leaving Ulaan-Bataar again, finally!!) I happen to be on the same tour as the french couple I was talking about earlier. Another french couple is also in the group (yes, there are a lot of french people in Mongolia), Bernadette et Guy. He has a rather surprising story. At 75 years old, he just arrived at the end of a long journey, since he has walked from Italy to China, following the silk road. With us also, there is Luke, who is English and solo-travelling as well and… suprise! Another Swiss guy (the first one I meet since I left), Michaël, from Bern. The two guys and me are put in a van, the two couples in another, and off we go!
One of the first stops; a sow and her babies eating what they can find on an “ovoo” (a shamanic cairn), which is quite funny considering how sacred thoses things are…
As we get to know each other in the van, we make several stops on the way. We always have the amazing sensation of being in the middle of nowhere, literally nothing surrounds us.
Puujee, our guide, takes us to see our first place of interest, Baga Gazriin Chuluu:
We spend our nights in gers of local families. The beds are sometimes harder than others, but I always really enjoy sleeping there, away from all the agitation of the cities. It’s magical…
Sometimes we even shared our accomodation with animals! 😀
Back on the road, the second day.
We stop for “Tsagaan Suvraga”, a fascinating place full of warm colors…
The evenings with the families are so much fun!
We discover how they milk their goats.
And it always ends on a beautiful sunset…
Third day. We get to visit Yoliin Am, a very beautiful valley, in which we walk for a few hours.
That evening, we have a fantastic view from a hill not far from our gers.
We then go to Khongariin Els, where there are beautiful ‘singing’ sand dunes. Again, it is simply magical. That evening, we get to ride camels; some feel more comfortable on them than others… I love it!
Next adventure is to climb the highest sand dune of the area to watch the sunset. Not an easy task at all! Each at our own pace, we struggle at the top; it is totally worth it.
On my way down, I can see the moon… I just sit there for a while, enjoying the incredible beauty of the world around me and thinking about how lucky I am to witness all of this.
How incredible is it to wake up the next morning with this view?
Back in the vans.
We sometimes try to get some sleep 😉
A random stop.
Sometimes we get to ride in the front. Pretty cool 🙂
It is already time for our last evening all together; a part of the group is continuing for a few more days, whereas Michaël, Guy, Bernadette and me have to go back up to Ulaan-Bataar and it is a long way. We stay the night in a big tourist camp surrounded by a river (it’s a weird feeling to see water again!).
In the morning, we visit the ruins of a monastery before we hit the road again.
After lunch, it is time to part. I’m a bit sad to say goodbye to Luke, because we got on super well.
That night thus feels a bit weird but we still have a wonderful time, living precious instants with the family hosting us. I am so happy, I get to ride a horse for the last time. Galloping in those vast spaces, wind in my hair, I remember all the incredible moments I’ve had and people I’ve met in this country. I will never forget those feelings of freedom and infinite happiness and beauty surrounding me.
Thank you, my dear Mongolia… I’ll be back.