Ulaan Baator’s claim to fame is “The Coldest Capital City in the World”. When I read that I thought whoever had written it had never been to WInnipeg. Unfortunately, they were right! My flight to Mongolia was delayed due to poor weather. I arrived to minus 8-degree weather but learned an unseasonal cold spell would begin the next day – and it did. For the next five days the temperature was about minus 25 degrees. The cold was not the worst – the wind and icy streets and sidewalks were more than I could handle. I walked to the State Department Store the first day. It was only a block away, but took me half an hour – it was so icy. I saw two people have bad falls, and I so did not want to start this trip with a fall. If I was going to be stuck inside I could not have found a better hostel. Zaya hostel has to be one of the best I have ever stayed at. It is big, spotlessly clean, includes a good breakfast, and has great beds. For $10 a night it is a great bargain. Most of the guests here are doing the Moscow – Beijing train trip. This is such an interesting country. I was amazed to find a 98 % literacy rate in a country with a 40% nomadic population. I finally was able to get out of the city on a tour to see the famous statue of Ghengis Khan (Chennggis Khan) It is a pretty desolate country. Nomads live in “gers” – round felt portable housing. Clothing is made of cashmere and yak wool. Domestic horses and cattle are short, stocky, and hairy!.
The sun finally came out, and it warmed up so I was able to get out and walk around to see the sights I came to see. Chennggis Khan Square is huge, surrounded by beautiful buildings. A Monastery I visited was colorful and interesting.
The country may be cold but the people are warm and friendly so it really is a cool place to visit for sure!