The weather here on the other side of the world has been growing colder day by day, so our awareness of the “last few nice weekends” has also peaked. To take advantage of last weekend, we decided that we would book a night in a ger in Terelj, the National Park not far from UB that we visited a couple of weekends ago. I made a few phonecalls on Friday (there’s nothing like planning ahead), and as luck would have it, Saturday morning we hopped into a car with a Dutch guy (the owner of the ger camp we would stay at) and his two kids. Oh, and the driver. We were in a tiny sedan…six of us…four in the back…it was cozy. Or something like that. Off we headed to Terelj.
Now, we’re quickly learning that nothing really goes as planned…or at least not as uneventfully as planned…so our journey stopped about half a block past our apartment building when the Dutch guy announced he needed to go to the pharmacy for one of his other kids. Okey doke…we’ll wait here. Pharmacy trip complete, we pile back into the car, and – oops! – we need juice! So we stop for juice. And then we need to fill gas containers with gas, so we stop again for gas. I spend the rest of the ride convinced that the gas is spilling all over our stuff because the car simply reeks of gas (lucky for us, I was wrong). Anyways, we make it out of UB, past some cows, past some horses, and into Terelj where we pass some more cows, some more horses, and even some camels! Our wee little sedan finally bounces down a dirt path hill, and before we know it we’re parked next to the Dutch guy’s 4×4 that will take us the rest of the way. But damn…we have a flat tire. Oh…okay…into the truck we go…maybe it’s close and he’ll fix it in a minute? Oh…wait…we’re driving through a river…and another river…and three more rivers…and then he announces that the guy who came last week to fix his truck forgot to rehook-up the 4-wheel drive, so really we’re just plowing through the rivers with as much might as we can, flat tire and all. Lovely.
Anyways, journey complete, we finally arrive here:
The air is fresh, the views beautiful, the scenery pristine. We’re happy. The Dutch guy tells us that lunch won’t be served for another hour or so, we we head off on a nice little walk down by the river:
Back to the ger for lunch, Chris graces me with his first ger face of our adventure:
Not one to be one-upped, I fire back with a ger face of my own:
And then we eat lunch. Delicious, delicious, not Mongolian food lunch. Dutch guy brings us treat after treat, complete with homemade Dutch cheese, tomatoes and herbs, and there I sit, in my own little ger, in love with the world all over again. Yum.
So after our big delicious lunch, we head out for another stroll to the river, and no sooner do we hit the woods than we see our first snowflakes.
Those first flakes are followed right behind by many more flakes, and soon we are in our first Mongolian snowstorm (mind you, it’s September)!
It’s quiet and gentle and just so damn beautiful that there I stand, once again, falling in love with the whole darn world – or at least with our little bit of the world that is Mongolia.
Anyways, no sooner are we snowed upon than the sun comes back out for a brief bit…just long enough to do this to the forest:
There were stripes everywhere…tree shadow stripes of snow…it was so neat – we had never noticed anything like it.
Back to the ger we went, where, still full from lunch, we were greeted by big bowls of soup. Then dinner…steak, potatoes, peas, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, some delicious butter sauce…we felt like king and queen. Big fat full king and queen, but king and queen nonetheless.
Anyways, that brings us to nightfall and full moon rise. I mean…absolutely unbelievably beautiful. Chris was playing soccer in the snow with one of the kiddos from the sedan, and there behind them came the most beautiful full moon, bright and wonderful enough to light up the night sky for us all night long.
Beautiful as the moon was, the night grew quite cold, so we retreated to our ger where we fed the little stove non-stop until we grew weary and fell asleep…for two hours until the stove needed to be fed once again…and then again in two hours…and finally we awoke to a very cold ger but another beautiful day outside (a ger face day).
We also acquired a few guard animals…the dog behind Chris’s ger face, along with this guy (cat on a cold felt roof):
Another beautiful day for us to explore the lovely river just a bit of a walk from our ger. Chris finally got to use the fishing rod he carried halfway around the world. Unfortunately, the fish were nowhere to be found. It was a gorgeous place to spend the morning though…not a bad view at all. He fished, I napped…and all was right with the world.
Before we go, here’s a couple more photos of the inside of our ger. The orange paint all over is very traditional…I don’t know why, but I do know that almost all gers share this similar paint (the door, the ger framing, the furniture, all of it). I love it!