Hi all my friends and family,
I just got back from Mongolia! As far as I can feel spring is doing an appreciable effort to end winter. So far so good in Beijing with temperatures +20. Finally, Mongolia was the last cold place to visit 🙂
But what a terrific country: diverse in landscapes, full of wildlife, very few people, a good place to watch the stars and the place to have adventures.
When I arrived in Ulan Bator (lacals just call it UB) I was surprised by the modern look of the city. Shopping malls everywhere and many grid locked roads. Restaurants are scattered everywhere in the place: offering good quality food for a small price. And for veggies? Then UB is your paradise. In all these 4 days I spent here I found a new veggie corner. No, Ulan Bator is probably the most contrary city if you look at the rest of the countries’ emptyness end hardness.
UB is good to spent a couple of days. Visiting some good museum and learning more about the culture, history, and nature. At least it gives you some basic knowledge before heading of to the dessert and surrounding national parks.
As I said, Mongolia is the place for adventures. The first horse riding experience was a good one. Pretty nervous before the start, but quickly relaxing when I sat on the horse. For me a nice way to get relaxed and enjoying the various landscapes.
Everyone told me to be lucky if I would see wildlife. Why? In this vast country there is still much to see, but illegal hunting decimated many populations (such as ibex and gazelles) and some are pushed close to extinction (such as snow leopard). Telling you this you should imagine animals will hide…. far far away from humans. And since there are – few humans in this country (2.7 million) and only 0.2 people per square/m – the chance of seeing wildlife is maybe not even that small.
From the first day I armed myself with binoculars (from now on binos) and camera. With success and luck! Ibex was found hidden on a mountain, but its shadow revealed him. Other days I praised myself lucky with wild camels in the forests. Gazelles while we were driving through the large steppe. And the yaks, the typical hairy cows… just as the mammoth was for the elephant. Such well adapted animals. Birds of prey are almost flying everywhere. The eagles and black vultures are massive! Especially with the latter I was pleased and said at the same time. A dog was shot (the reason is unknown, but I guess it attacked cattle) and the body was a feast for the attracted black vultures. Not ever could I get that close! The result of the dog can be seen on the photo page.