Monday, 10 February 2014

Christmas in Mongolia ger tent .. A highlight of our journey

ULAN BATAR,   MONGOLIA  Christmas Eve 

Upon arrival in Ulan Batar about 6.30 am we were met by our tour guides, Great Chenggis tour group who we had booked through our russian travel agents who are based in London, and who were in turn recommended  by the website 'the man at seat 61' (great websites if your interested in travelling by train )

The temp in the city was around minus 13 frosty but no snow. So much for all these worries about my kids freezing in a tent. :-) 

Stopping for money, water and extra Christmas  goodies for the the kids, after all it was Christmas eve. we then headed out of the city.
 The sun rose just as we left the city and headed into the Mongolian steppe, through frosty windows we saw for the first the wide open spaces and rolling hills of Mongolia. Beautiful scenic, you got a feeling of one of peacefulness and as we visited places like Buddhist monasteries  and wandered around the steppe in those next few days these feeling stayed with me. It's a very spiritual place.
 It was much colder out in on the steppe. The temperature was back down into the -20s.

Happy Christmas from Mongolia, I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas, its beautiful here, Santa clause came, kids opened their presents, and we visited a local nomadic family living in a ger tent. We even sang some carols  ( at this point we realised we didn't know many :-| ) Of course we had to celebrated with some Mongolian chinggis ( ghengis) vodka and went for a walk on the mountains. Spending time at a ger camp in the Mongolian steppe has been wonderfully relaxing, spiritually uplifting, and fun  I would highly recommend staying in one warm almost a sauna at times that i had to step outside in minus 26 (day time ) just to cool down.  The days were wonderful with clear blue frosty sky's and a light snow covering. 
We ate a mix of  traditional Mongolian fare such as meat dumplings and meat stews with veg and  Western meals. 
Christmas dinner included little fat meat dumplings  yum.

 The usual practice of the  camp is for someone to came in and increase the fire adding coal to give greater warmth and for longer, around midnight and 6 am.  they were very quiet and did not disturb the children but at this point the tent becomes a sauna, sleep is impossible, i had to get up to open the door to cool us down, at one point i sat outside in my underwear ..remember its about -26 in the day maybe - 30 at night.  we asked for wood only  instead from day 2 :-) 


 We visited a nomadic Mongolian family living in a ger tent on Christmas day and did some sledging  on the slopes.  It really was a memorable  experience one to remember.
This is the grandma she wanted to dress up for us and show her clothes she sews.
she lives with her daughter while her grandchildren live in the city with family  and go to school

We tried yak's milk and sour yoghurt sweets ?  The Family farmed cows and yak's for a living.
Wild horses roamed freely.

We saw dinosaurs ..of course 
And camels

Ulan Batar  city

After spending 3 days at the ger camp we reluctantly left for the city. Up in the morning and  after breakfast we headed back to into Ulan Baatar to a rather luxurious hotel, afraid we spoilt our self here. We managed a couple of site seeing trips to Sukbataar square and to the national museum. Then we went to the 6th floor government store for lunch and managed to buy our all important pin badges we collect from each country and a souvenir or two..
We couldn't resist.....
Alisha bought a wolf tooth pendent.

I have to say Ulaan Batar city was not a very pleasant city to wonder around as its quite polluted and smoggy.  And is quite a shock after the clean wide open hills of the Mongolian steppe. Its extremely busy and blocked with cars... but we have to remember we are there in winter and no city looks its best in winter!  The people were very nice.  
Still  Alisha and Seb enjoyed ice skating in the open air arena. 

 in Sukbataar square 
                          Funny the Mongolian ladies made fur look fashionably good ?

The great Marco Polo lived here 
                 Genghis khan was born here 


Once again we found ourself s on the move as we prepared for an early 6.35 am start, the last leg of our Transiberian journey, so far we have travelled from London to Russia, 
St Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk, 
UlanUda, to Ulan Batar and now we are of to Beijing.                              

That's all for now folks  xx

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello from Canada,

Wonderful to read your updates and see how your trip is progressing. It was a pleasure to share our Mongolian Christmas with you and then to read your story and recall some of our own memories. Your explanation of the overwhelming heat in the ger is all too familiar.

Wishing you all well!
Tracey & Miles