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linda Ferstendik’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 10 Jul 2007

Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

MapHi all,

Today was a remarkably good one. We drove about 58k out of UB to a local Nadaam. This was no tourist attraction but the real thing. As we were too early for the first horserace, we went to visit some real nomads in their ger. They were a lovely family and gave us generous hospitality some of it in the form of large amounts of vodka! We stopped short of their cheese etc which is not to our taste. We had a look around at the horses and then drove into the local town in search of a loo and a cup of coffee. Neither seemed readily available and the little town resembled a spaghetti western with horses tied to lamposts and being ridden around all over the place. We eventually tracked down a loo in a defunct hotel where renovations were taking place and only occupied by the builders.

We then returned to watch the race. The riders have to ride 35k out of town and then gallop all the way back. There is huge excitement when the first horse comes in an rapidly disappears as everyone wants to touch it. The jockey then gets very pissed. The riders range from adults (who have their own race) to children of about 5 years old. They are just unbelieveable to watch and seem to be born in the saddle.

We had lunch at a Ger Camp and then piled into a ger with our guide and driver for a short nap before our next adventure. This was a huge reinactment of one of Ghengis Kahn's battles performed by 500 military men on horseback. It was a little long but wonderfully executed complete with a model of the cart and ger used by GK. There was some amazing riding - they certainly are the best riders in the world, no doubt about it at all.

We came back to the hotel covered in dust and feeling absolutely filthy. Straight into the shower. I took some good photos but unfortunately I don't have the means in the hotel to post them on this site so they will have to wait until I return. A great day out!