From one side of the Great Wall i have now continued on the Mongolian side training it from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar. For the next 3 weeks i joined a tour through Mongolia and Russia called the VodkaTrain and boy did it live up to its name. We all drank litres of the stuff as well as beer that you could buy on most train platforms that is considered a soft-drink and is cheaper than water. Over 200 hours were spent on the 4 trains throughout the 3 weeks. The longest being 4 days and 3 nights with a 12 hour border crossing where you can't go to the toilet. Many finished water bottles and empty vodka bottles were used! I started to get used to Wet Wipe showers and with limited aircon and sealed windows during the longest part, we stank, especially our room which seemed to always be the party room. However with a really positive and fun group, we had an awesome time with drinks flowing and the days and scenery just whizzing by.
"Walking through the desert on a horse with no name".
I had no idea what to expect in Mongolia and it ended up being one of my favorite places. Waking up one morning on the train, i looked out the window and saw nothing but sand and the flattest landscape i have ever seen in every direction. I asked Charles "Where do you think we are?" and his response pretty much summed it up by replying "In the middle of f**king nowhere."
Once reaching Ulaanbaatar we travelled a further 2 hours by bus to our Ger camp where we would be spending the next 2 nights in a valley of rolling green hills. It was like a painting that a simple photograph could never capture. This is where we hopped on our horses with no names and trekked for 2-3 hours across the country side...wow! As well as a rocky and foresty climb to a lookout half way through the day, this was one of my favorite days in Mongolia.
Dressing up as a Mongolian wrestler (without the tight underpants) and wrestling a Mongolian was also a highlight. Him being a professional wrestler knowing 200-300 techniques, he won pretty convincingly but hey i lasted a good 10 seconds. All the boys got to wrestle each other as well where my first bout with Tim ended up being a draw (pic) but he got me on the second bout with his sneaky Kiwi rugby tactics. With just a candle, drinking games and a sky full of stars, both nights spent here were really memorable. The Ger camps were comfortable and our Honcho 'Sunna' was a top bloke making sure we got the most out of Mongolia where i have many other stories to tell.
From Ulaanbaatar we now travelled North to Russia.