14/08/2013 - 14/08/2013
View The Adventure Begins on Nicola_C's travel map.
According to the itinerary today we had nothing planned until 2.30pm. I was enjoying the idea of a leisurely morning in the national park, maybe a nice walk taking in some more of the beautiful scenery. That was until Gary (our guide in Mongolia) informed us of our 9am start. This turned into a 9.30am start as they needed to change a tyre on our minibus. Then it was time to load up our stuff once more and head back to the city.
On route we stopped to see some eagles. A local man was charging tourists to pose for photos holding the impressive birds. Our guide informed us that the locals sometimes use the birds to help them catch food. I guess there is more money to be made in the tourism industry and you can’t blame the local people for cashing in on this. Having said this, I didn’t hold the birds as I had heard that they are often not very well treated and I didn’t to fuel this industry.
After a short stop we continued with our two hour journey back to the city (which actually turned out to be closer to three hours). We were expecting to be able to check in to our hotel in the early afternoon so that we could drop off our luggage and take a nice hot shower. This was not to be – I had to check I’d heard correctly when Gary estimated we would get to our hotel at 9pm after a full day of excursions.
We were to visit a monastery, summer palace, winter palace, national history museum, city square, view point, garden and had stops arranged for lunch and dinner. I must admit I was a little grouchy today – the tiredness caught up with me and I was not much fun to be around. For this reason today's tour is displayed in photo form, rather than a personal account!
When we finally arrived at the hotel, an hour or so earlier than planned (I think Gary could tell we were tired) the booking had been made so that me and Kipp were sharing a room. We had been so looking forward to getting back and relaxing that we were not happy with this arrangement as we had both paid single supplements to have our own rooms. After checking my itinerary Gary phoned his manager to confirm and it was agreed that we would have our own rooms at no extra cost – I should think so too
Steve and Chopper decided to head out for a quiet drink and I was almost tempted to join them, until I saw my bathroom had a full-sized bath. I got everything ready for the next day before running a nice hot bath; the hotel even provided bubble bath and slippers. It felt truly luxurious after the last couple of days.
Anyway, it is now very late. After a night of pampering and catching up online (finally I have wifi!) it is now time for bed. We leave for Beijing at 6.30am tomorrow!