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This post concludes my time (photos) in Mongolia.

Most memorable of my one week visit to Mongolia: the countryside; overnight 'Ger' stay with Mongolian family; Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue; the Horsehead Fiddle presentation; the Eagle on my arm; and my lovely "new" friends from Hong Kong.

Thanks to "Danista Nomads" for absolutely 'everything' you did for me during my short stay in Mongolia!

For anyone considering travelling to Mongolia, I "highly recommend" Danista Nomads.

(Photos: 2016 - Sights of only a small part of Mongolia)
54 Photos - View album

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Before 'one more post' on the countryside of Mongolia, here is my last post on the city of Ulaanbaatar.

During the last couple of days of my 'week-vacation' in Ulaanbaatar, I stayed in a nice hotel 'relaxing', and went on leisurely walks following the central 'Peace Avenue'; many of the city's main attractions can be found along this avenue.

(Photos: 2016 - "some" of the 'city's' "main attractions")
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At the end of a 'day tour', which had me 200 kilometers outside the city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, I would travel a bit further to a remote area where a Mongolian family lived; it's here on 'their' property, where I would spend a night in a "Ger".

This family did not speak 'a single word' of English and before a 'Dutch doctor' and her English speaking guide arrived, I was 'communicating' through means of facial and hands gestures.

My Dutch friend and I were welcomed into the home of the Mongol family, where we learned of their traditional ways. We learned the "importance of horses" and 'their' milk - a staple for all food & drink needs: vodka, yogurt, cheese, tea - and "all made" without machines, through continuous daily hard work.

A family's simple livelihood in the beautiful countryside - and a happy family they are.

(Photos: 2016 - In the countryside at "a family's" home)
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When I was in Mongolia - a couple of weeks ago, I went on a 'day tour' of varied activities, ending off with a visit to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park - otherwise known simply as "Terelj Park".

Together with me on this 'car and driver' share day tour, were a lovely couple (a teacher and social worker) from Hong Kong. We've 'connected' and have agreed upon a future 'visit exchange' between our countries.

The "Terelj Park" and 'drive to' was absolutely stunning - nothing like the good ole' countryside.

At 'Terelj Park' and like that of many other attractions in Mongolia, are 'Mongolian camels' ('hairless' due to heat & wool needs) and the opportunity to "ride one". I didn't as I'd just come from Egypt prior this trip, where I 'rode' on one at the Great Pyramid of Giza ('these photos' are soon to come). I did have an opportunity - back in 2004 when I lived and worked in China, to ride on the back of a hairy Mongolian camel - this was in Harbin, China.

Speaking of 'Mongolian camels', in 2001, I had watched a beautiful and touching movie called: 'The Story of the Weeping Camel.' It's a Mongolian film made in the Gobi Desert. Do watch it if you get a chance - 'it' will give you a good glimpse of traditional Mongolian life.

At the end of this 'day tour' and after visiting 'the park', I stayed back as my friends from Hong Kong, returned to Ulaanbaatar; I would travel a little farther from this park to a more remote area - where I would stay in a Yurt (or better known in Mongolia as "Ger"), overnight, and with a Mongolian family.

Photos of my stay with "this family" in a 'Ger', to follow, this post.

(Photos: 2016 - End of day tour at 'Terelj National Park')
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One day, on a "day tour" outside the city of Ulaanbaatar - the capital of Mongolia, I had a chance to stop by and visit the "Zaisan Memorial".

Zaisan Memorial is a huge communist-era propaganda monument and mural.

At the top,' of the monument', are spectacular views of the Mongolian capital.

(Photos: 2016 - All that's around 'Zaisan Memorial Hill')
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Even though I was not a "great fan" of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and of many things "Mongolian" - I was, of course, very impressed with the Genghis Khan Statue.

Getting to this most impressive statue was 'a drive' out of Ulaanbaatar city, but this of course, is what I needed to do - 'get out of the city' and into the countryside, and this is exactly where this statue is.

At this attraction and many others in Mongolia, you will see two "very important" animals 'to Mongolia': eagles (falconry) and horses (providing transportation & milk).

These Mongolian Eagles are "HUGE" birds - I did get to experience holding one and boy was it hard to keep my arm up high and level - these birds are very heavy. I can definitely sense their strength. (A photo of this soon to follow)

I was 'most impressed' though with everything I saw at this place surrounding the "Genghis Khan Statue". I am just amazed at the beauty and details of "this" statue & the other smaller ones nearby.

(Photos: 2016 - Walking around this impressive statue)
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After a week in 'lovely Egypt', a stopover in Amsterdam and then a flight to and from Moscow, Russia - I was in Mongolia.

I had learned prior to visiting Mongolia, 'one' should not stay long in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, if one wants to experience traditional Mongolia - this is true indeed.

With the week I was in Mongolia, I learned that with the size of the country, the conditions and distances of the roads, and the costs for travel within, many weeks and maybe even a month or two is needed - "to experience" fully, traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyle and better appreciate the natural beauty of much of the countries the uninhabited land - that "outside" and far away from the capital city.

Nevertheless, I 'did manage' to get out of the city 'a bit', and experience briefly, the staying in a Ger (Yurt) with a family and the beauty of the country. But, if Egypt had strongly captured my heart - Mongolia wouldn't.

Mongolia is about the eighth Asian country I have been to and as much as I've always loved the other countries and cultures visited in the past, I guess this "novelty" of such has worn off over time. I did always try to keep an open-mind and heart during my time in Mongolia.

Even with my arrival into the city early, I didn't see much of it: I was suffering serious "jet lag" with "very swollen" ankles, and slept all day and night - through to the next day. When I did walk about the city, I spent a lot of time walking along Peace Avenue.

Surprisingly not only to me but 'the locals' of Mongolia, were some of the 'daily temperatures': 'up to' and 'close to' (+40) degrees Celsius or (+104) degrees Fahrenheit. At times, I felt that it was "hotter here" than when I was in Egypt. And on my last day in "the city", when walking about looking for cheaper accommodation, on a (+38) day, I did end up suffering dehydration.

It's hard not to feel like you are in Russia at times, when in Ulaanbaatar: 'Russian influences' abound (language, food and other) that "intertwine within the city" - and of course, seeing billboards displaying Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Many people, whether in the city or out of, do not speak and/or understand much English - "more likely" to know Russian.

I did try to learn some "Mongolian" - but found it 'easier' myself to pick up a few words of Russian and Egyptian Arabic on these travels.

It's very costly here as well. When I was hotel hopping, I was "shocked" to discover the prices charged at some - even higher nightly rates than that in Canada, Europe or even the U.S.A. 'Many' of these hotels, as well as some of the local tour companies had 'extremely high prices' for travel within Mongolia. And to top it off, when I had inquired about various "travel packages", I'd be given a crazy enormous price in the '100's' (USD) and then told that this fee did not include food, water, showers, toilet and even "toilet paper." You can expect to pay 'extra' for these "luxuries" and then also be charged a day rate for petroleum. It's all just so ludicrous.

And also to my surprise - having 'believed' beforehand, through reading and feedback, that Mongolia 'is still' a very untouched land just opening up to tourism - not!!! I'm sorry but there were too many tourists here for my liking.

But 'through it all', I always tried to be optimistic, open-minded and even 'questioned' that of my own thinking and understanding of Mongolia. Had I not travelled as much as I have, maybe I might have better appreciated Mongolia on this first visit - maybe? I know "others" will totally fall in love with Mongolia; sadly, and 'feeling sad' to say: "not me".

But with the many "other photos" I had taken when here (to follow soon on new posts), you will see "how hard" I tried to find and capture all things natural, beautiful and traditionally Mongolia.

(Photos: 2016 - "some" of the 'city's' "main attractions")
39 Photos - View album

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Even though I flew "KLM" airlines for much of my travel, and had 'all of my travels' booked through "them", I flew with Aeroflot airlines from Amsterdam, N.L. - Moscow, Russia - Mongolia and return.

With the order of my travels (as noted above), with that particularly of Moscow to Mongolia and return, you can get "the gist" of where I have taken the photos - that are attached here to this post.

Mongolia is a huge country and much of 'the country' is 'uninhabited' - but so too is that of Russia; this "became apparent" as I flew over both, and with 4 - 5 hours flying time in between the two.

(Photos: 2016 - Flying Aeroflot from Russia - Mongolia)
69 Photos - View album
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