Our trip started in Istanbul - my favourite city ever. Istanbul belongs to cats!
Then, after an 8 hours flight we landed in Ulanbaatar, capital of Mongolia. Ulanbaatar turned out to be less exotic than I expected (with all the rather familiar Soviet architecture and urban design). However there was a beautiful buddist monastery, totally unfamiliar. Inside:
After a few day in the capital we went to the horseriding camp.
We spend a week in this beautiful place (no electricity, no running water, no internet) Amazing landscape and 30+ horses to ride.
Half way though our stay at the horseriding camp we were taken for a trip to the Terelj national park. Here are some sketches made on our absolutely packed minivan. The roads in Mongolia are not roads really (at least not in this part of the country) so the sketches are rather shaky.
Some very sad animals we met on the way and the ger we stayed in for the night. There was a mouse staying with us two.
Lots of horses!
After a week spent in the camp we came back to UB (took the longest shower ever) and set out for Kharakhorum. Some sketches from the long bus trip there:
And our very cosy ger in Kharakhorum.
There is an amazing monastery and Kharakhorum and ruins of an ancient city. I loved the wall paintings:
Erdene Zuu monastery and a spontaneous lesson of Hebrew alphabet.
Here is us chilling out in a lovely hostel in Tsetserleg. They had flat white coffee, English breakfast and stuff - at this point of our trip I would pay any price for something which is not a mutton stew with noodles.
At the centre of divine enlightment in Tsetserleg. There was a huge statue of Budda and people were going round and throwing all sorts of food as a religious offering. And the pigeons were going in circles too...
Oh, I forgot to mention that I received some very good news when I got an internet access in one of the hostels we stayed in - I had been selected to take part in the Picture Hooks mentoring programme. It made me very happy!
We stayed for a few days with a nomad (his name was Bogi) in his ger, sourrounded by huge and spectacular landscape and herds of yaks and horses. Nothing more really. With the only facility being a nearby stream (not very clean as it was also used by the yaks). I think these few days there were the most extreme of our Mongolian experiences.
Bogi making fire in the morning.
Yaks are cute and silly.
The horses we were riding:
And one of the most surreal moments during our trip. We are having breakfast (a snickers + some coke) outside our ger while our host is killing a bull.
3 weeks in Mongolia were quite exhausting. This is all I was dreaming about while on the flight back to Europe:
I am afraid it is never going to happen though...