• City: Kanpur

    Ikh Uul to Murun.

    The day started off as we rode out of Ikh Uul. The town was a rather shabby looking town and we were staying in a place which can at best be described as a ghetto. Much like Mehrauli, the locality that i live in, in Delhi!!!

    We left at 0730 since we had more than 100km to cover before we reached Murun. It was fortunate that we rode out early in the morning, as we avoided the headwinds. The route that day also had quite a bit of climbing to be done. Breakfast was a bit of leftover bread before we left, the carbs help the rider pedal away without feeling too hungry. We did stop on the way to have some rice and dal powder for lunch. The dal powder had been brought all the way from Chennai by Prakash, since he had anticipated not finding any vegetarian food in Mongolia. He practically survived on that concoction for a month, and to do that while enjoying something as physically strenuous as cycling is truly commendable. At the lunch point we met a middle aged Italian couple who had ridden down on a BMW 800GS all the way from Italy. The bike was a 1985 model, just proves how rugged those motorcycles were built. They had ridden down from Italy on that rattletrap, but the bike was as solid as could be. They were headed to the same place as us, Khuvsgul. But they would have reached on the very same day, while we still had a couple of more days to pedal! They offered us a lovely cup of black coffee, which was welcome after all the hard pedalling.

    There I also tasted ‘chai’ for the first time. It is had with as much regularity as its namesake in India, but it is a salty, milky brownish liquid. The only good thing about it is that it is hot! We were happy to get the carbs that we required in our hungry bellies as about 30 km before Murun the climb to the last pass started, which was a long tough 12 km climb and we were already saddle sore. Eventually we reached Murun after climbing that pass. After which it was a continuous descent. In total we had ridden 120km from Ikh Uul to Murun. Which was stretching it a bit.

    We reached Murun and headed for the guesthouse which had been recommended to us,  The Murun Guesthouse. Unfortunately this was also in the middle of a ghetto, but surprisingly there were a lot of western backpackers there, as it seemed to be quite a favourite for them. Surprising because the facilities were rather basic bordering on cheap. The only thing that worked well was WiFi! Nonetheless we managed to get a good night,s sleep. We also paid 3000 Tugrik or 100INR to take a shower there, as bathing comes at a cost. It wasn,t surprising though as in Uran Togo, we had to pay separately for shower facilities in a hotel room!

    Murun appeared to be a more rough and tumble town compared to UB. This town looked like it was ready for a wild west gunfight at every corner! We met a guy from New Zealand, who had been backpacking alone, he told us that he worked as a farmhand in Australia and chucked his job to travel the world. He had only been using public transport and was having a good time at it. It is unimaginable in India that someone working on a farm could go travelling abroad. That is the difference between living in a developed country. There Prakash even got a special vegetarian meal! Homemade pasta with beef was my meal, perfect for a hungry cyclist like me.

    We ended the meal with dahi shakkar. We had managed to buy yogurt in the market and enjoyed our Indian dessert in the middle of nowhere!