Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Irkutsk - Ulaanbaatar - Beijing
21 september 2014
Irkutsk - Ulaanbaatar - Beijing
After being in a tight compartment for four nights in a row it felt great to actually be out in open air again. On the platform we met our new honcho Marina a student from Irkutsk. After a short meet and great she guided us to a bus that transported us to a small town named Lysvianka. Lysvianka is located next to Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake (1637 meters).
We stayed at a chalet with a stunning view overlooking Lake Baikal. This time I was sharing a room with Patrick and Aron for two nights. After taking a refreshing shower it was time to put our heads together and decide what we would do on our first day. We decided to go for breakfast first since it was already 12:00 hours and the most of us were starving. The next thing on the agenda was a short boat trip on the lake and last but not least visiting a Banjar (sauna).
The Banjar was a great way to relax. We had to follow a Russian Banjar tradition: go in the sauna for 20 minutes, grab a cup of thee, put on a silly hat, get back into the sauna were you would be beaten with herb leaves, run out the sauna, take the hat off and do the ALS ice bucket challenge. The ritual was fun to do and I felt great afterwards.
After sleeping in a nice and steady bed we went for a hike up an hill. The forest surrounding us was changing color since autumn was coming, this gave me the opportunity to shoot some stunning pictures. Coming back to the chalet covert in sweat we decided to take a dive in the ice cold water of Lake Baikal. In the evening we had a group dinner with a couple of beers making this a nice closure of our stay at the lake.
In the morning we went back to Irkutsk where we stayed the entire day. The city itself was a bit grey, noting compared to Saint Petersburg and Moscow. After drinking a beer in an German café and dinging at an Irish pub it was time to say goodbye to Marina and get on the train again for two nights.
Irkutsk to Ulaanbaatar
Patrick and I were keeping our fingers cross when entering the train, hoping that we would not have another Alexander in our wagon... We were very happy to see a Swedish couple entering our wagon that were getting off the train at the same station.
During the second day of the train ride we were crossing the border into Mongolia. After waiting for five hours at the Russian border, with absolutely nothing to do, we were aloud to exit Russia. Goodbye Russia, hello Mongolia. At the border of Mongolia all the soldiers present at their post gave us a welcome solute with an big smile on there faces. We had to wait another two boring hours at an Mongolian train station for passport check before entering the country. While we were departing the station we decided to drink our last stash of vodka on the train. Next morning waking up with an little headache we arrived perfectly on time (06:10 hours) at Ulaanbaatar.
Ulaanbaatar and Terelj National Park
Our new honcho Getso let us sleep for a couple of extra hours in our hostel before we went into the city center. During the day Getso gave us a nice glimpse of the city. We visited an monastery, a theater show of the Mongolian culture and went to an lookout point. For dinner we ate hot pot which was delicious. I had to order a soup that I had to boil and throw meat and vegetables in, great concept and I will defiantly look for an restaurant in the Netherlands.
The next morning we were transported by bus to Terelj National Park. The nature at the park is unreal, it literally looks like an post card. Arriving at our Ger camp I went strait up an hill to look at the countryside, amazing. In the afternoon we went for an two hour horse ride to an monastery, went out for dinner and drank an "couple" of Mongolian beers.
Because of our performance the night before we decided to take it slow in the morning and shoot with a bow and arrow and chill for a bit. Being fully energized after an enormous lunch we went climbed up turtle rock and enjoy the scenery, play a game of basketball and visit an traditional nomad family. In the dark Getso took us climbing between two giant rock walls and made a bonfire on top of an rock for us.
After a freezing night in the Ger it was time to leave base camp and head back to Ulaanbaatar. We took an small detour to visit a giant stainless steel statue of Gengiz Kahn and a museum. Ones back in Ulaanbaatar we went for a short walk and prepared for an epic night out. And an epic night it became: while I was enjoying a ice cold Heineken a mate accidentally elbowed the bottle and fractured two of my upper front teeth leaving an memory of Mongolia for the rest of my life... Nevertheless it was still a nice night out!
Ulaanbaatar to Beijing
Woken up by Patrick at 06:00 because I slept through my alarm, I had to jump straight out of bed, pack my backpack and catch the train that was set to departure at 07:15. Once on board of the train Patrick and I met our new roommates: an older couple from Belgium. They were very friendly and I had some nice conversations in Dutch with them.
The train ride it self was one big reunion, almost everyone we met on the train rides before were there. It was good to hear that everyone was doing ok and enjoying them selfs. It took around 30 hours to arrive at Beijing, the final stop of the trans Mongolia express.
Meeting up with our new Honchos Lilly and Linda (trainee) we were brought to our hotel. After discussing my dental situation with Lilly she advised me to contact Beijing united family hospital to get it fixed. Luckily for me they had time for me at 16:00, I jumped in a cab that brought me to the right location (more or less). After filling in some paperwork I met my dentist from Canada that made an X-ray and evaluated my situation. He told me that there was no damage done to my roots which was an absolute relief. I had to make a new appointment at 18:00 to reconstruct my two front teeth. At 19:00 I walked out the hospital with a big smile on my face, the reconstruction was a success.
I took a cab to a nearby subway station and went to the city center. While walking on the main shopping street (Wangfujing Street) and seeing all the impressive building I seemed to be an attraction for the locals. Chinese students start talking to you just to practice there English, very funny to experience. While walking by an night market I decided to eat four fried bananas... Although it was very tasty it turned out to be an big mistake. Once I arrived back at the hotel my body started reacting... food poisoning.
I spend an night in the bathroom and in the morning (07:00) we left the hotel to go to the Great Wall. I was happy to arrive at the wall and to get off the bus after one and a half hours. While walking over the Great Wall and enjoying the view I slowly started to feel better again. After spending four hours at the Great Wall and becoming a man (Once a boy has visited the great wall he becomes a man) we drove back to the hotel. In the evening I ate Peking duck at a restaurant and went to Beijing chaoyan theater acrobatics world, an must see theater show in Beijing! This being our last night together with the group before we brake up the next day, we decided to go clubbing. We ended up at an popular Beijing nightclub were foreigners had to pay 70 yuan (€8,50) and could drink the rest of the night for free :).
The next morning after exchanging contact details with the group it was time to say goodbye. The time we spend together as an group was great fun, but now it is time to do my own thing!
Foto's bij verslag (18)
21 september 2014 15:59 | Door: Els
Geweldig verslag Erik, heerlijk om te lezen.
21 september 2014 16:51 | Door: Wim
Hoi Erik, leuk verslag man veel plezier in Chnia.
23 september 2014 10:27 | Door: Tiny
Erik-E the Dental G!
Mooie avonturen weer gozer.
23 september 2014 19:31 | Door: anneke
Hoi Erik, wat een prachtig verslag, veel plezier verder
27 september 2014 00:37 | Door: Lennard van Santen
Jee man. Wat maak je allemaal mee, maar super leuk om te lezen. Gr. Lennard
28 september 2014 16:57 | Door: Peter
Fantastische verhalen ! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy !!!!
29 september 2014 13:01 | Door: Richard
Weer een mooi verhaal om te lezen. En sommige dingen zijn ook heel herkenbaar.
Mooie foto's ook. Nu volgen alle avonturen zich nog in sneltempo op. Pas als je later je eigen foto's terug ziet ga je je beseffen dat je echt op een berg in Mongolie en op de Chinese muur hebt gestaan.
Blijf verhalen en foto's sturen. Ik lees het graag.
veel plezier verder en blijf genieten.
29 september 2014 13:08 | Door: Chang Wo