Mongolia: Our ger

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In front of our ger

How we wound up in a ger in Ulaanbaatar is something I still don’t completely understand, but we tried our best to make the most of it. We decided to book a more authentic Mongolian experience by booking a ger, along with a guide and cook for our stay. The photos on the site showed a farm a few hours outside of Ulaanbaatar where we could experience the nomadic lifestyle, with more than 50 yaks and a few horses which we could ride. The advertisement stated that we could relax on the farm, visit the watering hole, ride horses, help out etc. We were looking forward to our nomadic Mongolian experience!

Our guide picked us up from the train station an hour late and we were on our way. In the car I mentioned I was very excited to see yaks in real life and couldn’t wait to ride one of her horses. Her face changed suddenly and said that we weren’t going to that location – that we were headed to her “city ger”. Apparently the nomadic lifestyle means changing with the seasons which she didn’t explicitely mention in the advertisement. So due to the cold weather arriving earlier (it snowed while we were there), the animals needed to be moved to the mountain location and all guests were to stay in Ulaanbaatar. I was so disappointed. But we quickly started planning our days with our host to ensure we would see the countryside, experience a bit of nomadic culture, and ride horses!

The ger lifestyle isn’t for everyone, including us. We knew to expect no electricity, no running water, and a hole in the ground for a toilet, but the reality didn’t hit us until we had to venture in the snow in pitch black to use the restroom, trying to washup with bottled water, etc. Lucikly the stay was only for 5 days!

Here are some photos of where we stayed and our homemade Mongolian meals.

 

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Breakfast the first morning, including a lot of tea to drink

 

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Breakfast inside our ger

 

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A lot of eggs, along with homemade boortsog – a bit like Mongolian donuts, because they’re fried dough that you eat with jam or honey

 

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Our ger

 

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The view from our ger

 

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The view from our ger

 

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Overlooking Ulaanbaatar

 

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Our view from the ger

 

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Guriltai Shul (hearty meat soup with noodles) with dumplings

 

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Sun setting

 

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Sun setting

 

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Suti Polo for dinner – rice cooked in milk with raisins

 

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No electricity

 

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Our fire and candles

 

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Our fire was literally made by burning dried yak poop

 

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I was able to get a lot of reading done

 

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Morning time at the ger

 

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Pile of dried yak poop

 

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Closeup of the yak poop that we burn inside the ger to give us light and keep us warm

 

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The “toilet”

 

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Bantan – a flour soup with meat – I can’t put into words how difficult this was to eat

 

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Another morning

 

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Our ice-topped ger

 

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Tsuivan – really delicious fried noodles with beef – here you can see the influence of Mongolia’s neighbor aka China

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