So after an eventful night we woke up to the clickity clack of the train and when we opened the curtains we were gazing out across the Steppes of Mongolia. What a sight to see, the sky was a brilliant blue and the scenery stretched out for miles.
To be fair there wasn’t much to see but the scenery was pretty unique and we did get to see some camels with double humps!! There was the odd Ger camp and horses and cattle and sheep too. Other than that though there was not much out there, as you would expect from the least densely populated country in the world.
It was really relaxing sitting in the cabin watching the world go by and just after lunch we were pulling in to the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. The outskirts/suburbs I guess were a mix of gers (the local tents) and brightly coloured houses with beautiful rolling hills in the background. It was really quite unlike anything I have seen before.
While Ulaanbaatar is by far the biggest city in Mongolia it still only has about a million people living here and we were lucky enough to get a place to stay right in the centre. There was a bit of a mix up with timings when we arrived and so our lift to the hostel wasn’t there but we managed to make our own way which involved walking through some pretty bleak parts of the city. It certainly didn’t start off as seeming like the most attractive city.
Our hostel turned out to be an apartment in a rather dowdy apartment block and as we waited outside for someone to arrive to let us in we were both sort of wondering what we had let ourselves in for. It’s difficult to describe but everything looks very worn, very grey and as I said before, bleak.
As usual though it wasn’t long before things started to look up and our hosts were very friendly and helpful and we soon managed to organise a tour with Bataar our host who is going to drive us himself into the centre of Mongolia where we can hike, ride camels and stay in gers. Should be brilliant.
We set off to have a look around and started with Chinggis Khaan Square which was most unusual with an incredibly diverse bunch of buildings circling it. The centre piece was a statue of Chinggis Khaan riding on his horse looking all dominant!! Hopefully we will find out more about the history over the next few days.
The search for dinner ended up with us in the Mongolian equivalent of a greasy spoon. The menu though had pictures and even some English. We ordered a couple of Mongolian dumplings and a broth with dumplings and a sort of stew. All very hearty fare and certainly filled us up although some dishes were certainly tastier than others!!
So far Mongolia has certainly been incredibly different to anywhere else and I can’t wait to explore further. T
The view that greeted us in the morning on the train.
A whole lot of nothing.
A station literally in the middle of nowhere.
There were the odd small collection of houses dotted about.
The ger tents with their livestock.
The train cutting its way through the Mongolian landscape.
The statue of Chinggis Khaan in his square.