We are in Mongolia and, based on the first 24 hours, we’re going to enjoy it.
When we arrived at the Russian side of the border post, it was cold and raining (and was snowing a sort time before we got there). We had another surly Russian immigration officer to contend with. Her response to us not understanding Russian was just to shout the same thing louder and scowl at us! By comparison, the Mongolian officials were smiling and friendly and even welcomed us to Mongolia. Such a difference. By the time we exited on the Mongolia side (two hours after arriving at the Russian side), the sun was shining!
We drove to our first overnight camp in Mongolia, close to the Amarabayasgalant Khiid monastery. The final 35km of the route was off-road, and some of it was quite tricky, involving two water-crossings, a patch of boggy ground and some side-slopes, but we got there safely. The beauty of Mongolia for overlanders is that you can drive anywhere you want and can camp wherever you choose. We selected a flat spot close to a hill, and a short distance from the monastery.
And what a beautiful camping location. Open steppes and rolling hills. Beautiful! And no vehicles for miles. The only noises we heard at night were the chirping of marmots and neighing of horses. It was still cold overnight though, requiring warm clothing inside the sleeping bag.
When camping in Russia, there were always lots of trees around to use as a bathroom. Not so in Mongolia, so my Pett portable toilet and Quechua toilet tent got their first use. Much nicer than a squat in the woods!
In the morning, a herd of horses came wandering past the tent. So cool to see horses that are allowed to roam free, as are most of the domesticated animals (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs). Once we’d packed up the tent and equipment, we drove over to the monastery (covered in separate blog entry).