Soon we were off, leaving the monastary and riding across the sleepy Mongolian town, with curious locals looking on. We proceeded straight into the hills, with endless grasslands filled with various cows, goats and the occasional ger (Mongolian tent house, also known as a yurt). The views were amazing everywhere we went, and our reststops were often punctuated by an impromptu unicycle lesson for the locals who chanced upon us. In turn, some of the Mongolian horsemen let us have a go on their horses.
Lunch was in a big tent set up by our Mongolian support crew, at the top of the hill, with nothing but streams and grasslands as far as the eye can see.
We had a couple of sharp climbs, followed by a swift descent into the valley below.
The riders finished in a small village by the Tsenger Hot Springs, and we were put up in Gers for the night.
After a hot shower and a heavenly soak in the local hot pool, we had dinner at the village. It was a interesting meal, and washed down at the end with ‘Airag’, or fermented mairs milk which apparently sustains generations of Mongolians (they drink litres of it daily). It is like a cross between some sort of alcoholic beverage, yoghurt and sour milk….and more than likely an acquired taste! This was followed by some yaks milk, which many downed more easily.
We slept well in our Gers that night, with each one being toasty warm courtesy of our hosts lighting the wood stove that is central to every Ger.