Today the great Mongolian adventure begins! We get up around 09:00 and make our way to the Zaya guesthouse where we meet Peter and Felix who are joining us on our trip. The plan is to rent a car plus driver and go on our own tour instead of an organized tour. This saves a lot of money and gives us the freedom to just pull over whenever we want to.
At first it seems like our plan might not work out the way we planned; The Zaya contact person thought we would be with four people and therefore cancelled the Russian van in exchange for a car with an English speaking driver. This car would be too small to fit five persons. O no! The guy is saying he made a mistake and cannot reach the Russian van owner. That’s a disappointment! We just sit there and wait for the contact person to figure things out. When he comes back he tells us he managed to get the Russian van again! Yay! We discuss the price and when everything is set it’s going to happen!
We’re going on a 7 day road tripping adventure trough Southern Mongolia, crossing the Gobi desert and sleeping in traditional yurts we pass along our way. After getting our backpacks we see the Russian van for the first time. The most awesome car you can think of! Good vibes spontaneously arose and we are super excited!
First stop, black market! We are warned it’s going to be cold in the Gobi area, so we buy ourselves a variety of thermal underwear, mittens, camel woolen socks and hats to keep us warm. The black market itself was surprisingly organized. With many booths and products for a fixed price. No negotiation on this market. Doesn’t look ‘black’ to me at all!
Next stop supermarket; we buy supplies for most of the week. And after this we are good to go.
Is doesn’t take long before we leave Ulaanbaatar behind and exchange it for the stretched Mongolian steppes. It’s amazing to see how fast the scenery changes from city to almost nothing! Hills, steppe, dry grass, it’s all we see for a long period of time. With every once in a while a yurt in the middle of nowhere and herds of sheep, cows, horses or camels.
While being on the road I feel extremely happy; the Russian van is perfect and super comfortable. I am in good company, the scenery is amazing and there’s nice, relaxing Mongolian music on the background. I literary cannot stop smiling. This is pure happiness!
I know I have made the right decision and I’m extremely proud to have chosen this path for myself. I feel certain that I can do this and feel super strong!
Because we’ve started off a bit late, we were not able to reach Tsagaan Suvraga before sunset. We ate our dinner in a local yurt which was an interesting experience; the yurt was warm and colorful and the food was prepared in front of our eyes. We drank warm yak milk, which tasted alright and then got our dish; Mongolian noodles (without the soup) and beef. This is really the driest dish I’ve ever eaten and it took me a long time to (almost) finish it.
After a six hours drive we finally reached the first city after Ulaanbaatar. We spend the night here and continue the next morning.Exciting!