by Christoph Gassner

Mongolia has finally been on my agenda for a trip since reading the book: “The Stone and the Flute“ (“Stein und Floete”) by Hans Bemmann. Inside that magical story, horseman from the “East” and the description of a vast plain appeared fascinating enough to check for accessibility to the home of Dschingis Khan.

Organized travels – such as those offered by Studiosus (Munich, Germany) – allow quite luxurious ways to explore this country. Back packing the usual way, seems to be practically impossible due to not existent public transportation and the average middle European ignorance of Mongolian language. However, this way of travelling has its costs, directly in € and indirectly in the psychological fees of group dynamics.

To lie down in a green valley – some hills around you – with absolutely no signs of any human civilization, nor any of its associated noise and the smell of prairie sagewort in your nose (Artemisia frigida, which smells comparable to common wormwood, Artemisia vulgaris, “Beifuss, Wermut”) might give you a quite perfect impression of this excellently relaxed country!

There are about 2 million inhabitants only for this enormous country, and it is said, that approximately 30 million domestic animals are living there, camels, cashmere goats, sheeps, yaks, and of course horses amongst them. Other animals already became extincted, but if you are lucky, you might be able to spot a dinosaur skeleton somewhere in a cretaceous wall near Kermensav!

And there is of course the Gobi desert – however, scientists might rather call it a “steppe”, primarily consisting of stony pists. Who cares, … climbing the famous sand dunes of Chongoriin Els?

The inhabitants are extremely friendly, very relaxed and they also appear to be very honest and unspoiled; maybe, this has to do with their religion: Buddhism: According to this philosophy, greed, envy and ignorance are to be avoided most – an interesting aspect, also to focus on the avoidance of ignorance, whereas other religions rather tried to keep their believers unknowing.

↗ studiosus