Sunday, 27 December 2009

Train to Beijing from Mongolia

I have enjoyed Mongolia a lot, it's a great place, mostly because you are rich if you have English money! Kinda went a little wild, never been rich before. was fun for a couple of days, better go back to being stingy if I am going to make it out of China.

stalactites from an air-conditioner.

I won't forget how absolutely freezing cold the Mongolian winter is, coldest it's been was -38! But being freezing has it's advantages; nothing smells for a start and after staying in Bilbao for ages that's quite a bonus, no dog poo's on the street, ice sculptures don't melt and everything is pretty with stalactites. Also you can skate alone the pavements as they are icy. Ok, fine there isn't many!

a pretty frozen river from the train.

You would have to see to believe what happens on the road, they have 4-6 lanes in the middle of Ulaanbaatar and people are doing U-turns and all sorts, people cross by running out and hoping. Quite a sight to see. Don't think they believe in safety here, there are open lamp posts with bare wires sticking out, and manholes with no covers. I personally like a bit of risk now and then so it's quite refreshing.

Train 1
me and Carl taking photos from the train after Jimmying the window open.

The sleeper train from Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) to Beijing (China) was totally worth doing as there was some amassing views, specially as we managed to jimmy open the locked windows in the cabin, knew taking my leatherman was a great idea! and also the changing off the wheels on the carriages on the Mongolia-China border was very interesting (they both use different gauge tracks, so they lift the cabins up about 6 foot with us in and put different gauge wheels on!)

Cabin on the trans-Mongolian.

While on the train I met a amusing group of travelers that were on a tour and had done the route from Moscow that I wanted to do, best of all I meet Carl who is also planing to go down to Thailand, so we may stick together, who knows. I shared my cabin with a girl from Manchester, which was certainly unexpected!

a view of the train from out of the window.

what else? mind has gone blank, saw a camel, and a guy cycling across a frozen lake, other things like that. going to go, dead bored of writing.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

first day in Mongolia

Parliament house (ulaan baatar)

after a rather harrowing journey I have finally arrived in Mongolia. was 3 flights, 12+2+1 hours, and many hours of waiting for transfers, I left Spain at 7am and Arrived 4pm one day later! so by the time I turned up I was very tired as I hadn't slept at all in 2 days.

 Peace street.

It is pretty nippy here, about -35 at night and -20 in the day time on a warm day, which is pretty spiffing. there are many stalagmites of ice around as half the year it is bellow zero, so any ice doesn't melt for 6 months. While walking around you notice the cold quite a bit, every time I breath in the inside of my nose freezes, then defrosts when I breath out, which is an odd feeling. The food here is nice, and has millions of calories, as you lose lots of energy just being outside. Also I have seen a few people in traditional Mongolian attire and they look amassing, think I am going to try and buy a Chingis khan style hat today as I saw someone with one and I absolutely want one.

peace street again.
The first thing I did after finding a guest house was to go out drinking obviously, can't let the British reputation down! it was excellent, drink is extremely cheap, and the exchange rate makes anyone with pounds rich, which is nice. one club had bears and Sphinx's as wall decorations and 2 giant stuffed eagles, which I thought was very entertaining. Also went to a live music pub, which had great music, The music was mostly English, with some Russian and Spanish.

clearly a temple.

As usual I haven't really been taking any photos, and I have only wondered around a bit as I have only just turned up, so I will give it a go today and try to get a few great pictures before I leave. Shame I didn't take a photo of the amassing mountains, I might on my way to China.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Hanging with family

a photo of Bilbao.

I am not going to lie, spending time with my mum's side of the family hasn't been the highlight of my bimble, if anything I am looking forward to continuing on my travels. At least it has given me enough time to organise the rest of my bimble, as visa's and tickets unfortunately don't sort themselves out, also picking the route took quite a long time too, as each country has different rules concerning entry and applying for visas, some you can apply when you get there, but most you need to spend days fighting the bureaucracy demon. But I have enjoyed bits, also learning Spanish is worthwhile.

 Left: from my grans Balcony. not inspiring. Right: Bilbao's famous flower dog

Most of the time I have been staying with my Gran, which is about the most boring thing I could imagine! but at least I am getting to relax and recharge ready for the next leg of my voyage, and the weather has been pretty great too!

uncle's house.

I have also spent a couple of weeks at my uncles lovely old house in the country near Bilbao with my 2 cousins and his wife, my uncle is rather interesting, he's a conceptual artist (I personally don't like most of his work) spent a few days making him a website, which kept me amused, he lives in a cool mountainy place near Bilbao, problem is he has 2 children (cousins) that are now young teenagers and not interested in hanging out with there uncle (me) and wifey dislikes me a lot, so I have ditched hanging out with my uncle in favor of being bored at my grans (as I don't like imposing where I am not wanted).