Having arrived in Ulan Bator at 6:15 in the morning and not being able to check in until 2pm. I though I would explore a little to get me bearings.
Using a fantastic app called “Ulmon” (Thank you Paul for showing me this) which allows you to download maps of your destination when you have WIFI and then use it to find your way around when you have no signal, or do not want to pay £6 per MB on your roaming tariff.
I very quickly found my hotel, only a 15 minute walk from the station and then continued to wander around. I saw on the Ulmon map a place called ‘Freedom Square’ so I looked at that. I then thought I would try and find the main square. I did this for two reasons; the first it would be quite and secondly, the place I need to pick my train tickets for the Ulan Bator to Beijing part of my trip is near there, apparently.
As you can see from the photos above ‘Sükhbaatar Square’ was indeed quite and I could get a good look at the Mongolian Parliament. And with a little bit of work I found where I needed to pick my tickets up from, unfortunately they are closed on Sundays, so I will try again on today.
At 11am I thought I would try and drop my bag off at the hotel and to my delight they let me book in which was fantastic because I had not had a shower in 5 days! So I got settled in, checked my email and then had a shower.
After which I had to go and eat, having not really eaten properly whilst on the train. I got myself a large pizza, I will look for more Vegetarian Mongolian food another day 🙂 .
After eating, exploring and wandering around for a bit I went back to my hotel to do some web work.
Then before catching up with a friend on Skype (if you want to catch up on facetime, skype or WhatsApp let me know and we can get in contact) I thought I would walk the length of Peace Avenue and see what I could find. This turned out to be a good plan.
Whilst looking at my map an American guy asked if I needed help, he has lived in Ulan Bator for 5 years. He suggested going to the 23rd floor of the Blue Sky Hotel to get a great view of the city (as you can see by opening the gallery by clicking the main image above). I did this on my way back down the avenue, I wanted to see if the Mongolian Wrestling Arena was open and if there was an event on whilst I was here, unfortunately that does not likely.
When I reached the 23rd floor of the hotel and entered the “Sky Bar” I ordered a ‘reasonably priced’ Orange Juice, took some photos and looked for someone to sit with rather than sitting on my own in this amazing bar. I sat with two guys from Holland, who as it transpires were also on the Trans-Mongolian express at the same time I was. They were staying in this hotel before hiring a motorbike each to ride a round Mongolia, they were saying they do this type of trip each year and in the past they have ridden in Africa and South America.
I stopped in a supermarket to get some food on the way back and played the “I wonder if this vegetarian” Game for 20 minutes before settling on Bread, Honey, an Orange, a Banana and small bar of dark chocolate. I ate this in my room before I talked to my friend, after which I went to bed.
Waking up this morning I realise just how tired I was after the long travel, change of timezone and a lot of walking. I am pleased I was gentle and kind on myself mentally because in the past this would not have the case and I think things may have gone a little awry. Thank you Jayne at mindfulofbeing.com for the Mindfullness training before I left!
What I learnt:
- Be honest with what you are feeling.
- Be willing and open to speak to anyone because who knows where it will take you, even the 23rd floor of a posh hotel I would of otherwise not entered.
- Be kind and gentle with yourself in the tougher times because it will pass.
- Visit the main attractions earlier in the morning to get the best views.