Km 6924 – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
OLGII – ULAANGOM
We are looking at 260km dirt road through a little populated and abounding in water area. In front of a lonely house a Kasakh (people in the West are mostly Kasakh) invites us in. The small restaurant serves the typical salty milk tea and beschbarmak (besch = five, barmak = finger) for dinner. Basically this is a plate full of meat and some steamed dough. The meat is neatly scrubbed off the bones, so you can eat with the fingers. After that the bones are cracked to suck out the bone marrow.
After the small village Hothor we climb our first snow-capped pass (2500m). About two hours we fight upwards on the gravel road. The next day we have another two passes to climb. A snowstorm takes the view, head wind takes our speed. Eventually we arrive at the big (holy) stone heap which always indicates the highest point of the way. On the way down the cold comes through our clothing and only in the tent, which we pitch under a bridge, we manage to warm up again.
ULAANGOM – TSETSERLEG
The early onset of winter drives us to search for some mean of transport towards Ulaanbaatar. In Tsetserleg we get off the car and look back on a 50 hours cardrive (900km). Luckily we had an engine breakdown, which gave us a break of the long journey.
In the small restaurants at the side of the street we always order the same food as our Mongolian fellow passengers. This way we get to know the local kitchen (heavy on meat), sit in some gers drinking the salty milk tea, while the driver is checking the engine again.