Blog Date 23-05-2013
Today the journey continues with the van. The past afternoon and evening we were able to relax, it was very comfortable to be able to sit normally again. Soon the road became bumpy and we went steeply into the mountains.
We first climbed a very steep mountain, which took us about 1.5 hours. On the way we walked past some kind of sacrificial place where you had to go round the clock for good luck. Eventually we arrived high up in the mountains at the Monastery (tuvkhun Khidd) which is located in the Khangain Nuruu National park. It’s a very spiritual place with a lot of caves where you can pray. When you get there you can actually feel that’s it is a peaceful place. There has been 1 monk (Zanabazar) who has been meditating here for more than 30 years from 1653. His meditation place high on the rocks is still intact. We also climbed these rocks at the risk of our own lives, but it is said that you are protected by Buddha when you climb them. You can compare it to rock climbing without being secured. Pretty cool but scary at the same time.
One place in particular was really tricky, but I really wanted to go there. This is a place where you can be reborn. You have to climb down on your stomach through a very small narrow space, turn clockwise, climb up again. Then you have to stand between the rocks thats looked like cradle and then you are reborn. A very special experience!
Then climbed around for a bit and enjoyed view.
Completely relaxed and filled with new energy, we walked back through the beautiful forest. On the way back I’ve found a nice new pair of sunglasses, which is always handy as I Always loose them. When we got back to the van there was a huge rain cloud above us, so we had to wait and see what that would do before we could find a place to sleep. Khishgee went to ask a family if we could sleep there, but that was not allowed. Very strange, because I thought they were all so hospitable! Very unfortunate for us, because the weather did not look good. There was once again wind force 10 and I can tell you that setting up your tent is not fun at all when the wind is so strong. Miraculously after a few hours, the wind died down and had a pleasant evening that was not too cold.
I slept pretty good in the tent which we couldn’t have imagined yesterday when were setting it up. For breakfast we had fried eggs on bread. (Another van with a few backpackers we met last evening had some bread) Delicious! Today we drove to the hot springs, which means that we can enter the water if they’re open! That could mean that after 8 days we can finally get in some sort of bath. And not just any water. Very warm, healing, natural water. And how lucky we are, we may be the only ones here. In addition, tonight we have our own yurt that does not belong to a family, which means only its benefits and no dried meat and yak milk! We feel really good and almost like we are really on a vacation. Unfortunately the water is 70 degrees and they just filled up a hottub so that meant we could chill all afternoon and go into the hottub in the evening when the water cools down a bit.
It was very beautiful, because it was not quite dark yet. But a full moon was visible. The water was about 45 degrees and it was great to relax. It was soooo nice to be completely immersed in water. I could actually feel the dirt wash away from my skin, and also all dead skin cells are gone. It’s a really great feeling. After the hottub we sat by the fire in the yurt and then lay down in our BEDS. Indeed not on the ground tonight! The beds are hard of course, but it is clearly the softest of all the days so you won’t hear me complain. Tomorrow we will make our way to White Lake.
We have to drive about 250km in the van on very bumpy “roads”. First we went to a small town where we could buy some cookies and stuff. That is nice for when we get food that is not chewable. Then we are really ready for a long trip. I asked to sit in the front of the van and had such a nice view. After a while the road got a lot better and it wasn’t that bad anymore.
I continue to be amazed at the behavior of the animals here. The moment the van comes close to the animals, they suddenly all want to cross the road. Really strange to see sometimes. You would almost think they should understand that it is dangerous, but they don’t. Arrived at White Lake later today. Really beautiful and super big. We will stay here for 2 nights so we have enough time tomorrow to walk around here and explore. First eaten delicious dumpling with really good meat in it. It was really nice to have a taste in your mouth that you know well. After playing cards for a while the sun was well set and there was a beautiful full moon over the lake. We enjoyed the view for a while before we went to sleep in our yurt.
Yesterday we passed a minimarket so that means we got a delicious breakfast this morning with French toast and bagel. After breakfastwe did a 2.5 hour hike to a volcanic crater. First we walked all the way to the top of the crater and then walked miles across the rock. It was kind of a scavenger hunt since we had to find our own way to White Lake. It was really challenging and hard but still doable! Just back in time for lunch where Khishgee had tried to make French fries. It wasn’t great but it was adorable how hard she tried. After recovering from our walk we decided to walk around the beautiful lake. Unfortunately it started to rain and we went back. After warming up, I fell asleep until dinner and then walked to a large rock to watch the sunset. Had a lot of fun and drank until the candles went out.
Today we will drive back to Ulaanbaatar. That means long hours in the van and sleeping in a tent for the last time. At this point we didn’t know it was going to be the last night. Tomorrow it will be decided to continue straight to UB. This was due to the fact that a major snow storm was coming. In the morning when we woke up it already snowed a little bit.
We struggled to pack everything this morning. We could no longer feel our fingers and my toes could no longer move. We wanted to visit a monastery on the way back and call the guesthouse if there is anything available for tonight. We are lucky! We can spend the night at Golden Gobi guest house. We do not have to use our wet stuff tonight and we already get a hot shower and a normal bed today! However, I soon realise that this is the end of our trip. It is nice to go back, but such an awesome experience here. It’s going to be hard to write about it since it’s more an experience that you should see, feel and taste then just read about.