Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Reasons for Roughing It

I decided it was time to resurrect this blog, and when I went searching for the next email to bring across, I found this. It's a PowerPoint presentation I created for my sister-in-law, who, before we left, asked questions like 'Who is going to carry your bags?' I'd forgotten all about it, but I really like it, so it seemed like a great start.

The Reasons For Roughing It.

We saw this pagoda in Jingshan Park
And a buddha in that pagoda
We climbed the Great Wall of China. I bet you didn’t realise it was that steep – I know I didn’t!
The view from the train – I never would have seen this otherwise
The train platform at the Chinese Border. We spent 2 hours here while they changed bogeys (wheels), but someone had a guitar which we sang along to, and some of the guys played soccer.
This is the Mongolian dining car – that’s all carved wood you can see…
This is our ensuite in Mongolia (note the leaking pipe – hot water at that) but….
We were given a tour of a monastery by this monk, and were allowed to ask him any questions…
And the monastery contained this huge buddha, among other things…
Then we went out into the countryside and stayed here…
Sure, this was our bathroom…
Our heating (though it was Summer so we didn’t need it)….
And the long drop toilet….
But there was a modern bathroom at the main camp, a 5 minute walk and this hill away…
And THIS was the view from the door of our ger (tent)! Where else could you get that?
Although this looks like I’m stuck, once I got through here, there was the most incredible view…. Getting back was fun though!
And where else in the world could I have met a nomad family and tried traditional Mongolian foods, including airag – fermented mares' milk (plus cheese, cream and bready stuff)?

Or watched traditional Mongolian wrestling and contortion?

Or dressed in traditional Mongolian clothes (it’s supposed to be pouched out over the belly – it makes a pocket!)?

Or gone riding over that beautiful countryside?

Like this…..

I saw sunrise over Lake Baikal in Russia – a lake so big it looks like the sea – from the window of the train

I met crazy Mongolian traders…
...who sold everything from curtains to clothes on Russian train platforms… $5 jeans anyone?

I assume this is a church, but it’s another of the amazing sights seen from the train!

St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square 
Would you believe this is a shopping centre? It’s on the edge of Red Square
This is one of the many cathedrals in the Kremlin… and yes, that’s real gold…

And this is inside one of Moscow’s Metro stations! They’re all different ‘Palaces of the People’ and fantastically decorated.

But best of all, I made a bunch of new friends!

By taking a rougher journey, you see things other people never get to see, and you meet new people who may be friends for life. You get a truer experience of the country you are visiting, and memories to last a lifetime…

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