Of one Ulaanbaatar to another: UB at UU
After our journey in the steppeWe spend 3 days in our host cold and his wife; they greet us so that one feels almost like home. But we have to start again one day!
Bye bye UB!
We have time before the start of the Russian visas, cold advised us a ride north of Ulan Bator)UB for the initiated) in wedges a little lost, before retrieving the large road to the Russia. A few days forecast tracks!
Upon the release of UB, wind is front - but it's going to, it is rested after these few days. Our route then turns into trail and ascends to a forest. Trees! Wow, it's been an eternity that it had had no trees so close we! But morale goes down when you see the track which continues to climb and the State is deteriorating little by little... One wonders if the advice of cold fit bikes loaded as ours...
We arrived on a beautiful plateau where a few clearings appear then a great plain in the middle of the mountains; it becomes more accessible. The place is very beautiful, it is almost all alone except for the inhabitants of a few yurts and their herds.
But wind and runway - even if it is of good quality without sand-ripples, is crevant! It is the tent early enough a little sheltered from the wind.
How to add 10 kms from bonus...
In the morning, we pass the village of Batsumber. ' 8 km after lunch, Thomas said to me: 'say, you didn't have 2 pockets in the rear?” ; Ben if... Damned. We lost water for the evening meal and breakfast the next day! Since it is difficult to find water in Mongolia, no hesitation to have: it must make a u-turn! We no longer know when we saw this Pocket water for the last time... at lunch probably...
After 5 km running back, Phew, yay, here it is!
We take our road, and we pass in Nice valleys. Late afternoon, we arrive at a col (1400 m altitude, it's okay, nothing to see) with Chinese collars !) : it's too beautiful, full of small mountains around us, flowers such as those seen in the Alps... and the descent surprises us still beautiful: green lawn, hardwood trees, flocks, all under a pretty light of late afternoon! I believe that it is part of the most beautiful landscapes that we have seen in Mongolia. These landscapes we give wings - a little too much elsewhere, resulting in a fall without gravity (but my elbow still remember) in the gravel. We cross a nomad offering Thomas a ride on his horse, then continue down long enough and you arrive at 20 h after track aproximatly River in the day! Nice score! The river is the opportunity to wash: 1 camp in Mongolia where you can wash really!
This very green landscape and the River in the Middle: a true happiness. Well Yes, the Mongolia - and more generally the bike trip - it is often the source of ecstasy of all things!
It follows this river for another 2 days, which allows us the first day lunch at the water's edge and do a bit of laundry. A river, it makes life so much more comfortable! In the valleys that cross, lands are a little cultivated, rare thing up there. We cross even a few fields where (wild?) marijuana is just starting to point the tip of his nose: fun!
There is a large passage to Ford, helped by a nomad who tells us the right place where to cross. Then while the wind had almost disappeared the last 24 hours, it returned aside and in a few minutes took damn force! At the height of the storm, a local made us great signs: he approaches and invites us to take refuge in him. He offers us tea Mongolian dirty milk (it sounds not said like that, but it's good!) and small cakes. After this small moment of Exchange, the wind still present but calms down a bit. We leave and found a track that puts us back wind: it dark!
With these conditions, unable to find a sheltered spot and even less to fish like Thomas had planned... Sniff, it was the goal of the evening! We ended up finding a whole empty fenced plot on the outskirts of a village. The wind calms down during dinner: Parkes, a bit of silence, it's been good!
A day to remember...
Thursday, June 4, folding camp under a gray sky and the wind's return. After a stop at the River to fill with water and the town for full of food, we get to ride... Oh no, almost! Even a fall pushing the bike in a rise in the land Sandy out of the city; This time it is the knee that takes!
At lunch, rain invites himself to our table... it is fortunately sheltered under a tree. The track continues towards small mountains, and its State is very average. The wind takes force, facing us, or a little aside. Approaching slowly from a collar. At the height of the vertical, can no longer pedalling: with wind, rain, and the rubble of the track, it's too hard! It starts two to push bikes, for a good kilometre. Phew, the worst the difference is over... but behind we still view other climbs. The rain tape stronger and stronger, the cold arrives, it is 4 degrees; There are hungry, but impossible to stop in the wind and not a shelter in view of several kilometres, not a yurt. The nerves begin to drop with exhaustion and cold.
While it was not passed truck since nearly an hour, it is the hardest that he spends one! It stops him and asks to go to the town 8 km away from here. It made the acquaintance of a young couple and their 6-year-old daughter. They submit to home and invite us to enter to warm up a little; they put the stove on the road and we serve the traditional salted Mongolian milk tea. On revit!
The woman begins to eat and makes us understand that we will eat with them. What good dinner after a same day! Then they offer us to stay sleep... and offer us their bed! Unable to refuse without upsetting them. Well, we knew that it had happened to other riders, but it's still weird to be invited to sleep in a bed while its owners can sleep on the couch in the living room! You pass one end of evening to discuss with the wife and two children, our previous country videos are a good way to tell our adventure, as well as parts of the foreign countries visited.
If hard day couldn't have better finish!
Wind in the morning, the evening wind!
After a warm night and a breakfast of home-made spaghetti, we take the road... always with a face wind and a road that plays to the roller coaster. The good news still is that one has finished the runway, here again the tar!
It relays the wind, struggling to exceed 10 km/h on the flat. After 50 km at this rate, in the village of Khongo, trying to find a place to ask the tent... nothing terrible and the only place found, it is behind a wall in concrete with the busy highway not far behind, in a not very clean field.
In the evening, a zipper of the tent loose us; It is the loose... Y'a day like that!...
Change of planning!
It was decided, we will not go to the border by bike. It no longer wanted to take bus - because it took too much to our liking in China - but never say never! And the bike trip learns of this: there is no certainty, events sometimes (often) forced us to change our plans. In short, ras off of this wind!
In the morning, we drive 25 kms (always into the wind) and it stops at Darkhan, third city of the country, determined to find a bus in the direction of Ulan-Ude, Russia. But first there is a hotel with running water (it is quite exceptional in Mongolia for write it down!). What a joy to take a hot shower and be able to do laundry quietly. There are also 4 metres from ZIP to the market, and a seamstress who sewn us and 30 minutes for € 5! And we that we wondered if it would have to buy a tent!
Small Tower in Mongolian
Finally leaving the city for the Russia is much more complicated than expected. The solution that seems to be the least bad is to take a direct train to Ulan-Ude; the only problem: he leaves at 2:45 in the morning! And impossible to buy tickets the weekend need to buy before the departure of the train. When we attend to 2 h, the guichetiere tells me that I can't buy ticket for Ulan-Ude. A young girl who speaks English well me is helping to translate: Phew! It is possible to purchase international tickets that day. Our only solution is to go to the border town, and wait for the opening of 8 h wickets; There's a train at 10: 00, but impossible to know if there are places.
We therefore embark the train after having packed our bikes in large plastic bags bought at the market of Darkhan. The train arrives at Sükhbaatar to... 4.30. we need to reassemble the bike and go wait 8 hours in the waiting room of the station (where an agent we banned we lie on the benches - what we do anyway as soon as she's back is turned).
8h fini par arriver ! Et bonne nouvelle : il reste des places en direction de la Russie – Youpi ! Nous montons donc dans ce train n° 263 du transsibérien, où un contrôleur très sympa nous accueille avec le sourire malgré nos vélos, et nous aide à les installer au bout du wagon. L’avantage du transsibérien, c’est que c’est un train couchette : on peut se reposer un peu après notre nuit blanche. Nous arrivons à la frontière où tous les contrôles se font à bord du train. À la sortie de la Mongolie, le contrôleur de l’immigration nous dit qu’on a dépassé de 24h le visa mongol : il est valable 30 jours et non 31 jours comme on croyait. Nos visas russes commencent bien aujourd’hui pourtant ! 24h de “no mans land” ? 🙂 Il nous dit qu’on doit payer amende… mais ne revient jamais la faire payer ; merci à lui.
The arrival in Russia is a bit longer, with multiple controls: passports scanned and looked at every angle, cabin excavated and passed to the heat detector, sniffer dog... It's long but easy; No worries with bicycles and Russian Customs officials are rather smiling: Wow, was expected not smiling customs in Russia! After checks, we are authorized to get out at the station for a break lunch. It shifts our watches one hour less and we join a group trip along the Trans-Siberian railway, a Russian guide and retirees in good part. We spend a nice time!
The train leaves and landscapes evolve gently: there are more forest, one passes next to lakes and rivers, we view pretty wooden houses... Then we arrive at Ulan-Ude with beautiful lights of fine day. After 11 h train, we are! Us the discovery of the Russia!
First steps in Russia - what a surprise!
History to recover from this trip a little crevant, we ask our bags for two nights in a youth hostel. The UU travelers house is in an apartment; It feels almost in a collocation! The atmosphere is very nice, it is full of meetings, we share our tips with travelers who are going in the opposite direction (Europe to Asia).
A little visit to the city under a lovely spring sunshine. After 6 months in Asia, us super weird to be in the middle of so many European faces (even if there are still about 1/3 of Mongolian faces). It of also weird to find known products and bulk in supermarkets. The gap is huge, we feel here that we really leave Asia. Small pinch in the heart to leave this continent; even if there were difficult to understand or support ratings, he made us live so many beautiful moments!... But at the same time, what a joy to find some European benchmarks through the Russia!
Short is in this state of mind if shared that we are preparing to go discover Siberia; us Lake Baikal, where other adventures await us!
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