So first off, in the Summer I ticked a major one off the bucket list....I WENT TO MONGOLIA!!! It's a place I dreamed of going to forever but, never really thought it would happen...it always seemed too far flung and obscure to actually sit down and plan an adventure to. So when I had some time off over Summer and got plotting, my dream trip came into fruition. Ulaanbaatar is not too far from Korea and after some meticulous planning I found myself aboard that yellow and blue Mongolian Air plane and whizzing off to Chinggis Khan airport!!!!
One of the main reasons that I wanted to go was to invest some time in getting involved with some craft workshops. Always one to learn some new methods and get to grips with techniques otherwise not dabbled with, I went there with the intention of getting some new skills under my belt.
My time in Mongolia was mainly spent in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, itself with a jaunt out to Terelj National Park to experience a bit more of the Nomadic life and see some nature. The city was awesome and not at all what I had expected.
It was a lot more developed than I had imagined and locals said it is a place where you can see change each and every day as the city grows and moves so fast. I absolutely LOVED Ulaanbaatar! Such an interesting city with so much going on! A huge chunk of my time was spent doing workshops so whenever I had extra time I packed in some hardcore sightseeing and a bit of sampling of the Mongolian vegetarian restaurants!! I hopped around a load of temples, went to the folk theater to experience some Mongolian throat singing, visited the palace and also had the fantastic opportunity to spend some time with a local family in the Ger District. I got to visit an NGO called Asral to learn about the wonderful work they are doing that supports the ger families that are living in UB's sprawling city slums which was really eye opening. Mongolia was probably my favourite travel adventure I have taken to date. It was both weird and magical. I adored every minute!!!
The countryside was a challenge for me as I'm not really one for nature. It was however amazing to experience true Mongolian hospitality in the home of Mr.B and his family and to do random stuff such as hold a real life eagle and go horse riding up a mountain in a thunderstorm. I also rode a cart pulled by a yak, drank fermented mare's milk and had to dry my socks on the family stove whilst Hercules (dubbed in Mongolian) played in the background!! I got to see a Shamanist ritual and drink salted milk tea with chunks of cheese thrown in!!!
It was such a beautiful country and learning about Nomadic life was fascinating and inspiring. I feel I only scratched the surface of what Mongolia has to offer. Mongolia had the bluest skies I have every seen and landscape like no other. Likewise with the workshops I did, they were incredible and I was able to get an insight into some incredible craft traditions as well as meet some wonderful people. I am going to save the workshops for a separate post as they deserve their own focus!!
I could talk forever about the Mongolian adventure, but I shall leave you with a selection of photos from my trip!!!
Love and Sparkles,