(Note: I almost gave up blogging because my favorite part of blogging is the pictures! It was taking hours to upload all the photos I wanted to share and I began to wonder if it was worth it! But, a final search for a tool that would quickly upload all the photos yielded the most amazing plug in! It is called Faster Image Insert. You can upload all of your photos, then select them and hit “insert.” You can preset all the photo sizes, set alignment, and add captions. Amazing! So, I’m here to stay. For now.)
Yesterday our family took another tour with New Milestone Tours. (They are fantastic! We have grown to love our guide Tulga and feel like he is a member of our family!) This time we headed in nearly the same direction as two weeks ago but took a slight left hand turn and headed toward Terelj National Park.
Da holding an Eagle on the Mongolian Steppe.
These towns are on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. We asked Tulga if this town had a name and he said that it did not. It became a town because the herders were selling their skins here and so a settlement grew up.
A herder, living in a Ger, with a satellite and solar power.
Terelj National Park is incredibly beautiful!
- This is called an Ovoo. An Ovoo is a shamanistic cairn. They serve mainly as religious sites, used in worship of the mountains and the sky as well as in Buddhist ceremonies, but often are also landmarks. We see these everywhere here in Mongolia.
Yes, the leaves are changing color on those pine trees! The trees here actually lose their leaves every year. They also provide a favorite snack around here! EVERYWHERE you go there are pine nut shells all over the ground and nearly every person you see is snacking on these delicious little treats. I will post photos soon of the many pine nut hawkers we see every day! They are now the favorite snack of our little Pie and she is always walking down the street with her plastic bag of pine nuts!
Those may look like Tee Pees, but around here they are called __________.
I could live in this beautiful valley!
This is Turtle Rock. It is HUGE and just like all the other photos I've seen, the size is not represented in a photograph! It looks and feels much larger in person!
These trees are at the base of turtle rock. Again we see the khadags tied to the trees.
At this point we though we were just going "around" Turtle Rock. Little did we know that we were headed UP!
The valley behind Turtle rock.
And...we start UP the hill. This hill was super steep and the rocks are grainy and falling apart so your footing is never sure. Thankfully the big girls did fine on their own and that Da and Tulga were able to help the littles.
It was finally getting a little less steep.
More khadags tied to the trees. I love the color of silk they use here in Mongolia!
And we continue up the hill...
Almost to the top.
And here we are, in the "cave" on Turtle Rock. Tulga said that many people continue to climb through the crevices in the rocks, but we didn't allow it, #1. because we are in Mongolia and don't have any desire to visit the hospital and #2. because the girls have a limited number of pants, and based on my experiences in Zions, we know what will happen to the pair they are wearing!
After Turtle Rock we visited a Monastery nearby on the hill. All along the pathway were signs with Buddhist sayings.
Buddhist symbols painted on the rocks.
Another Buddhist symbol and Mongolian script beneath it.
Xuxu took this photo as they left me behind to climb up to the Monastery. At the end of our hike up Turtle Rock, I slipped in the mud and twisted my back as I fell. At this point it was best if I waited in the car with my ibuprophen.
The beautiful mountain ranges in Mongolia take my breath away!
The altar in the Monastery.
It looks very much like a Ger inside!
After the Monastery we stopped at a local restaurant to sample a real Mongolian meal.
These Gers are part of the restaurant property. They are for rent and you can spend the night in them!
While we were waiting for our meal, the girls realized that we had all the ingredients needed for hot chocolate. The jars are; sugar, coffee cream, salt and dark chocolate! After our chilly day, it was a welcome treat!
Our first course was a beautiful green salad with Romain lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and italian dressing. Most assuredly not Mongolian, but part of their desire to please the tourists! It was delicious. After the salad we were served a noodle soup in a clear broth. We were told that the only ingredients were flour noodles, lamb pieces (very small amount), salt and water. We liked it better than chicken soup from Campbells! ;o)
This was the main dish, a carrot salad (fermented? with garlic is my guess because it tasted a lot like sauerkraut) and Mongolian dumplings. The dumplings were filled with lamp and onions. Again, we liked them VERY much and even brought home leftovers! They were devoured for breakfast!
Tulga insisted that I get in a photo, so I pulled the Asian stance!
And reindeer to ride!
Mouse was not sure she wanted to do this, but quickly discovered that it was fun, as long as the reindeer did not try to brush you off with his antlers.
The girls tagged this guy Rudolph and found out that he loved tic tacs and M&M candies. He would put Pie's entire hand in his mouth and would suck the candie off her hand. (We tried to show her how to hold her and so that he wouldn't get it all in his mouth, but he was very determined and never hurt her.)
Pie took the first camel ride with Da. She giggled the entire way!
Da and Pie were the only ones that were fortunate enough to be allowed to ride without the herder holding the rope. They tried to get the camel to gallop, but he was having none of it!
Hold on while they are sitting down!
Star named her camel Cruella.
Hold on when they stand up too!
Pie hitched another ride with Xuxu. She loves the camel rides!
And finally, I got a turn with Mouse. We rode Cruella too.
As I walked away she was kinda growling at me! I wish I had a photo of the sneer in her lip!
This beautiful little area is just inside the main gate of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park next to the Tuul River.
You need them when your M.T. but you'll be full when you leave!
These are the suburbs. Land costs money here, but the government has also instituted a program for allotting parcels of land to families.
I snapped this photo when we were back in town. This woman was on the second story and at one point was standing on the sign just below the window.
Just a building away we saw these men holding ladders for two more men who were painting. The ladders are on top of a truck. (I was not able to get the full shot because I was shooting from the passenger seat through the drivers window!)
5 p.m. traffic and an electric bus system.