A few years ago I had the great opportunity to spend few months in Mongolia. Besides from discovering the capital, Ulan Bator, I also got the chance to see other parts of the amazingly beautiful country.
Before I left to go back to Europe again, a friend and colleague invited me to visit her family to see how the nomads live in Mongolia today.
We left Ulan Bator early in the morning a drove on very bumpy roads a few hours to leave the big city. As soon as we were outside the big city we were stunned by the beautiful nature! If you ever plan to visit Mongolia, it is a must to leave Ulan Bator to the see the real beauty of this country.
We approached the ger (the big white tents the nomads live in) and the family’s two big guard dogs came to check us out. We offloaded out bags in one of the gers and went to have a welcome tea with the host. I really enjoyed and miss the warm milk tea we drank a lot of in Mongolia! We had gifts with us to share with the family, mostly fruits, drinks and candies that we bought before leaving the city.
As we approached dinner time and the sun was already setting we were invited to have dinner in a different ger. I wasn’t sure if it was a ”kitchen ger”, the family’s ”main ger” or something else…everything was going on in there! There were cooking plates, tv, beds, and remains of the slaughtered sheep, the head still laying in a corner staring at us…. The meat parts of the sheep was cut in smaller pieces and hug up on the walls inside the ger to dry, the intestines were boiled softly and served in a big bowl together with a knife.
We passed the bowl around and each cut a piece and enjoyed together with fat from the same sheep. I tried a very small piece of the lungs, later also some kidneys but one of the hosts helped me by cutting a huge piece of the guts, still with grass inside it, and handed it to me. I consider myself an openminded person and I love to try new things, but I can not say it was easy to eat that dinner.
When we walked back to our ger to get some sleep it was completely dark outside and getting quite cold. We slept in sleeping bags with additional blankets on top and left the door open watch the stars from our beds. In the middle of the night a heavy rain woke me up and I stayed awake for a few hours accompanied by two baby lambs taking cover from the rain in our ger.
Before sunrise I was awake again and went outside to see the family living there already takgin care of the morning shores. I tried to help the mother to milk a cow, but realised I should stick to flying aircrafts.
I have always loved horses and riding and when the father invited me for a ride on of his small but powerful mongolian horses I joined him without hesitation.
As I sat up in the saddle I realised how extremely uncomfortable the mongolian wooden saddles are! Luckily we only went for a shorter ride… We rode up on a big hill and got the most beautiful view over the three gets and all their animals. My host did not talk english but I realised he wanted to show me something when he grabbed the reins of my horse and led us further up the hill. As we approach the top I saw a huge vulture sitting on a big rock, enjoying the same morning view as we did. We rode closer very slowly, and when we were only a few meters away he stretched his huge wings and flew away.