Friday, October 1, 2010

Transmongolian part 2

Due to a bit of a cold snap, I didn't go to Terelj National Park overnight (I later learned that it was snowing that night, so I counted it as a good decision - the gers were really drafty). Instead, I spent another day wandering in Ulaanbaatar.

The next day I woke up early for a day trip to the park. The ger camp was quite small, and besides horseback riding, organized activities were few and far between. I spent most of the day hiking up the hills and taking pictures. It was a beautiful place with rocky hills and valleys.

Leaving Mongolia that night I finally met my travel companions - a post-grad student from Canada, and another Canadian who just finished two years teaching in Korea. Luckily we got along well, and I spent most of the time with them. They have a good idea of what to do in each city, which was nice since I didn't have the time to do research myself.

A day and a half later we arrived in Irkutsk. We got a transfer to a small town on Lake Baikal. The first day we were there it was beautiful, so we hiked (and took a ski lift) to a lookout point, and walked the entire length of the town. It was good that we got so much done the first day, because the next day was rainy, so we hung around the guesthouse.

We then spent a day and a half in Irkutsk, once known as the "Paris of Siberia." As in all of Siberia, they have lovely wood houses, and we spent a lot of the chilly days wandering the streets and taking pictures. We even got to see a bit of Siberian snow falling.