Tim and I headed out of Ulaanbaatar the weekend before the one just passed and went for a few hours of horse riding. We stayed in a ger at a camp near the Tuul River. It was a 2 hour drive away and our driver was….. well very Mongolian in his driving. That means he overtook whether it was safe or not, used his horn regularly and took a ‘short cut’ that involved leaving the tarmac road and maneuvering his car over a muddy, rutted dirt track only to re-join the tarmac road.
We took a brief detour to the very large Genggis Khan statue and then a few minutes later we left the tarmac road again and head across the plains to the ger camp that was to be our home for the weekend.
Saraa and Baggi who run the camp are friendly and clearly treat their animals well. The dogs were well fed, friendly and din’t shy at humans. The horses were in great shape considering they had just come through a Mongolian winter. It turns out Baggi cuts hay and feeds his horses throughout the winter, which is rare in Mongolia although there are various people trying to get this practice started.
At their camp there were wooden stables, which is a rare sight in Mongolia. These housed the horses when they were being used, otherwise they were let out to roam free at night and there were two calves which stayed in. The cows were also left to roam freely.
Tim and I had a lunch of grated carrot and garlic salad and homemade бууз (meat dumplings). We went on a lovely three hour ride Saturday to a nearby hill which we rode up and had a fantastic view across the land. We returned around 6.30pm in time for our 7pm dinner of fried rice. We rode again Sunday, this time in the other direction and cantered up many hills. The funniest sight we saw was a car driving up a large hill, horn beeping away trying to get our guide’s attention. Turned out it was a friend of the family. This hill had no road/track so it was like someone driving up one of the foothills in the Lake District!
We packed up and left the camp at 2pm and once home and unpacked we headed out for a Korean meal at Gyong Bok Gung which came recommend via this interesting website http://english.esdalanzurgaa.mn/2011/07/04/guide-to-ub-late-night-eateries-and-food/
We both ordered a Bibimbap – a signature Korean dish. The word literally means “mixed rice”. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (a chilli paste). This was topped with a fried egg and also had some minced beef in it. Thankfully for me the beef was easily removed with a spoon and transferred to Tim’s bowl.
In addition to this 12 small plates of accompaniments were brought out; kimchi, garlic/chilli cucumber, beansprouts, seaweed etc.