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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Part 4: Terelj

My second Ger to Ger trip took David (from Czech Republic), Jana and myself to Terelj. Getting there was very easy; we took the public bus for 1'500 Tugrik. Our directions were to get out at the final destination, however, a woman on horseback, stopped the bus on the way and told us to get out :).

We got to the first Ger on horseback. My horse had a different idea however and stopped cold in the middle of the river. No matter what I did, it wouldn't move. Only after the Nomad came to help me, we could finally leave the river.

For the second day we had 20 kilometres of horse-riding on the program. The saddles were not the traditional Mongolian kind (Wooden) to our great relief, but padded with comfortable leather cushions. We stopped at a Ger after only 1.5 hours. We noticed the Ger to Ger sign pointing in the wrong direction (normally it is always visible from the direction one is arriving) and gladly accepted the invitation for tea. When we were asked to pitch our tent, however, we started to rebel. We were in the wrong place according to the information we got back in UB. After several attempts our guide finally saw his error and we put all our stuff back onto the packhorse. Now, facing another 10 kilometres, our guide suddenly increased the speed and we were trotting for most of the way. Even with the better saddles this was not extremely comfortable. But we survived and reached Amarjargal's Ger. Close-by we discovered a small river, which was ideal for a short wash. During the night we heard a commotion outside; the dogs were barking and growling. We didn't think much about it and continued to sleep. The next morning we heard that wolves killed a sheep!

The next two days we travelled by Ox and Yak Cart, discovered Nomad traditions and learnt to tie a knot, sew a button and milk a cow. We spent a lot of time trekking and exploring the forests and mountains on our own. The landscape was very different to the Gobi, lots of real grass, lots of mountains, big forests and rivers. The downside of this was the hordes of mosquitos we encountered.

The nights got extremely chilly and my sleeping bag couldn't quite keep up with these low temperatures, so I was very grateful for an extra blanket that I got for the second night. It was getting close to new moon; in addition the moon was rising quite late, this gave us the superb chance to enjoy the stars. As in Arkanghai the year before I saw the Milky Way, thousands of stars and two satellites, unfortunately it was way too cold to stay outside for a long time.

The food was excellent again, we got Buuz on two occasions and very nice low fat dishes on the other days. As during the first trip we couldn't eat all the things we brought with us for lunch.

For the way back we took a minibus which charged the same price as the public bus and, to our great surprise, wasn't filled to burst. We were the only passengers going all the way to UB.

Overall it was a very nice trip.


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