THE GOBI DESERT The Gobi desert which is located in the southern part of Mongolia is one of the world’s largest desert and one of the most mystical destinations where we have ever visited. For a week trip to the desert you will need an interpreter, a professional driver, a four-wheel drive vehicle with two fuel tanks as well as plenty of food and water. There are no roads, but only directions in the Gobi. Intersections are identified when tire tracks branch out in different directions and sometimes the driving path may be just a frighteningly narrow canyon. The distances feel infinitely long, especially when bouncing on the back seat of a Soviet made UAZ-jeep made us feel like spending many hours in an amusement park. Mongolians never mention kilometres when measuring distances, because it brings bad luck, but you will reach Gobi from the capital of Ulan Bator in two days. On our way to the desert, we stopped at the ruins of Mongolia’s ancient capitol, Karakhorum. Where Genghis Khan used to rule over his vast empire. The countries first Buddhist temple is still present within these walls. 60 temples were destroyed and only 3 survived Stalin’s purge in the 1930s. Mountains start to shallow the closer we get to the Gobi desert. Eventually the terrain turns so flat, that we start to see mirages in the distant horizon. An old legend warns that in the Gobi sand there lives a worm of death! Which can kill its victims from a fare distant by spitting poison! Suddenly out of nowhere a massive sand dune emerges. This 12km wide sand dune and coil to as far as a 100km and can rise up to 200 meters. Within a week the temperature can change from burning heat to freezing cold. In the middle of the desert we find a secret spring deep inside a cliff. The water is scooped with a spoon from a small hole into your eyes. Because it is said to improve your eyesight! In the Gobi desert nomadic families live in Gers and by following the seasons. Camel breeding is one of the main sources of livelihoods in the Gobi desert. Next to one Ger camp we witness a sad sight. Small baby camels are tied to the ground with rope and they are whimpering with a heart aching sound. Why are they crying? Our guide tells us that the mother camels are free to go eating all day in the desert. When they return by sunset back to their lonely baby camels They are milked at the same time as they feed their baby’s. If the babies would spend the whole day with their mothers there wouldn’t be any milk left for the nomadic families. A hole in the ground serves as a lavatory. Assembled logs and twigs around the hole serve as cover. There is no going behind bushes or trees, because there are none in the desert. At dawn it’s time for Mongolian Barbecue. We haven’t had anything this good in ages! For the sake of your own appetite it would be best to forget that instead of the use of firewood the stove is heated with dung! Nor do we recommend you to think too much where the meat was from what you saw stored under a bed. In the middle of the desert the Flaming Cliffs are one of the most significant dinosaur bone dig sites in history. According to local stories a sand storm surprised the dinosaurs and they were buried under the oceans sea bottom mud and collapsing sandstone cliffs. To recognize a real dinosaur fossil, the bone will stick to your tongue. We moved to one dig site to the other while liking and analyzing stones. At times in the Gobi desert it felt like we traveled into a different planet. That’s how mystical this travel destination is.