21 Days In Mongolia

Day 13:

It was a long driving day today.  It was my coldest night yet in the tent. When we woke up and managed to get the tents down there was mist over the lake. 

There was a definite change of scenery as we drove along today. Golden and mauve heather, pine trees, brooks and hills. The rolling hills weren’t a bright green, like England, but they were definitely greener than we had seen so far. What was unbelievable however, was the amount of rocks, stones and boulders – they were everywhere.

It never really got warm all day, and it was obvious to my body at least, that we were travelling northwards.  The Mongolian people appeared to be more traditionally dressed in the north. 

The journey was arduous today and there were many hills to climb in the van.  There was one particularly steep hill which our van just wasn’t going to make it up. Therefore we got out and walked. There were big open cracks in the ground which had appeared due from flooding in previous months.  The journey was hard going and bumpy, not an enjoyable day.  We crossed two broken bridges and stopped and got water from a spring in a local village. The children looked almost rustic, cold but happy.

Although it had drizzled earlier in the trip, in the late morning we experienced real rain….but not for long.  The clouds were almost a transparent grey as we traversed the appropriate hill pass.  Therefore, within about 20 swipes of the windscreen blades, whilst on intermittent mode, we were back to blue sky again.  Considering I thought it was supposed to be the end of the rainy season, we were extremely lucky with the weather.

At lunch time we again stopped outside a lonesome ger to eat lunch.  The man and his son living there, wore their traditional dels, this may have been because they give more protection against the cold.  However, although traditionally dressed, we found it amusing to see a massive satellite dish camped outside the ger. Again we shared our lunch with our hosts and gave them cucumber, bread, salami and edam cheese.

The afternoon scenery was lovely. I questioned what constitutes the difference between a hill and a mountain.  Andy and I decided it depended where you came from.  For us, in Britain, a mountain in Mongolia is probably a hill to Linda who is from Switzerland.  The scenery reminded me of the Lake District in the UK, with trees and brooks, although the small Mongolian horses and gers dotted all over the place reminded us that we were in Mongolia.  The long distance view reminded me of the lower alps.

We came across a proper road again in the early evening and we were involved in our first traffic jam – it consisted of our 3 vans, one lorry and one small pick up truck.  There had been a flood and they were just mending the cliff face that met the road to stop a landslide.  So although there were so few roads in Mongolia – there were already problems with the ones they had.  The reason we thought a road had appeared, was because we were approximately about 1.5hours outside of Moron, a provincial capital town.  However, we later realised that this may not have been the reason for the road, as soon after the construction, the road returned to track again. 

We finally arrived at our new camp at 7.45pm. It seemed that even the grass was dusty underneath.  We camped by a river on some flat grass, it was really pleasant, even though we didn’t get in until late. However, it was good to finally sleep on the flat.

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