Mongolia has an ancient and fascinating culture that is still very much alive today. Long before the days of Chingis Khan (Gengis Khan) the people of Mongolia have existed as nomadic tribes, living primarily in tents (gers/yurts) that can be moved around the countryside, allowing their animals to graze on new pastures throughout the year.
After exploring the Altai Mountains we headed for Khoton Nurr, a beautiful alpine lake where many Mongolian families live during the summer months. Shortly after arriving at the Lake and setting up our camp we had a visit from a young Mongolian boy on horseback…he awkwardly hung around us so we offered him a cup of tea. Just as the kettle boiled two men on a motorbike appeared and proceeded to tell the boy to go away! The men sat down and enjoyed a cup of tea with us. After tea they invited us up to their Ger to meet their family and share some dinner. We were very lucky to be invited into this lovely families home and be part of an everyday evening. We ate boiled mutton and drank fermented mares milk.
On our return to Olgii we decided to spend a couple of nights at The Eagles Nest Guest House, run by Altai Expeditions. The guest house is fairly basic but very clean and comfortable, with incredibly kind and helpful staff - including Alistair from Lossiemouth! We spent two nights staying at the guest house and on our second night we were invited to a family wedding in town.
Eagle hunting is an ancient tradition of this part of the world and Western Mongolia is home to the largest amount of people practicing this art. Like many people we had seen the BBC documentary ‘Human Planet’ where they follow an eagle hunter in Mongolia as he captures a young eagle and trains it to hunt with him. We really wanted to see this in the flesh and arranged a visit near to the town of Olgii.
- A good “road” through the Mongolian steppe.
- Stone Man from around 500 AD!
- Another typical Mongolia scene with Gers on the lush green summer pastures.
- Our campsite on the shores of Khoton Nuur.
- The young boys horse by our camp.
- Inside a Ger with the stove and chimney in the centre.
- A visitor to the Ger!
- Mairi donating some of our medical supplies to one of the women who had been badly bitten by a dog.
- Wedding celebrations in Olgii.
- Local band performing traditional songs at the wedding.
- A mixed platter of undisclosed meat to share between 5 of us…
- Bride and groom with close family.
- The eagle was nearly as big as Mairi!