Now that I've tempted you with some photos from our Mongolia trip in my last post, I'll tell you a little about our experience and itinerary. It was remote, calming, beautiful and inspiring.
Our travel within the country was arranged by a company called Eternal Landscapes. Jess, the owner of Eternal Landscapes, is a UK resident who has been living in Mongolia for 8 years. She plans a variety of trips spring - fall all over the country, which is gigantic by the way. When I contacted her I was pretty sure our timeline for travel wasn't fitting into any of her pre-arranged trips but I was curious as to the prices and hoping she could provide some guidance into traveling in a country that seemed so far away and challenging to explore due to lack of paved roads, electricity and plumbing. We knew we wanted to camp and stay in gers, visit monasteries and that we were interested in seeing how nomadic families lived in the countryside. Jess was fantastic. Sending over several itinerary options that would set us up with a driver and an english speaking guide for our time in the countryside. It seemed too good to be true, but it wasn't.
What impressed me most about Mongolia was the endurance of the people and their kindness. The things that surrounded us – ger interiors, temples and skies were vibrant and full of life.
A couple of hours each day were spent traveling in the van shown in the photo below. We forged rivers and climbed walls of rock to get to some of our destinations. That van was "a mule," as Dylan said. We explored regions such as the Gobi Desert, Orkhon River Valley, Kharkhorin and Khogno Khan Nature Reserve.
Another oddity I noted in this far away land was how refreshing it was to see so many grazing animals and so few fences. There seems to be a great amount of respect by Mongolians for the countryside, the animals that become the sustenance for it's human occupants and there is a deep desire to share their country with travelers.