This is Day 7 of our Seven Day Roadtrip into the Gobi Desert.  On our last morning in the Gobi, everyone  woke up amazed how we no longer felt the extreme cold that were familiar parts of prior mornings.  On our last night we had finally adjusted to the harsh fall weather of sleeping in Gers in the Gobi. Perhaps the shots of vodka the night prior had provided important insulation for our last night in the desert.

Remnants of the vodka from the prior night

We left that morning anticipating the long drive back to Ulaanbaator (UB).  20 minutes in we made our last stop on the trip which was the White Stupa.  The White Stupa is a series of red and white cliffs with mounds of sand around the edges, millions of years earlier it was at the bottom of the seabed.   It was an epic site and when we arrived we were the only ones there.  Typical of our travels in Mongolia we are able to see these amazing places without the crowds or presence of other tourists.

Views overlooking the White Stupa

View across the Stupa

We hiked down to the bottom of the Stupa through the sand which was no problem for us after walking the massive sand dunes a few days earlier.  We posed for some pictures and got in the car for the long drive ahead back to UB.

About 30 minutes after the White Stupa we stopped by a well with a  huge amount of camels.  The camels were lining up to drink from the well, and it was hilarious seeing some of the camels trying to push their way through.

After another 15 minutes, we reached a paved road, which we would be on till we reached UB.  Driving on a paved road was a rare luxury that week so everyone in the car cheered.  About 6 hours later (following a 45 minute stop for Davka to fix a broken muffler) we were back.  We said our goodbyes to Aya and Davka, who we were all sad to be leaving after having such a great time. Though we were only together a week it felt more like a month and we were sad to say goodbye and grateful for their care during our trip. 

The 6 of us (Jesse, Quan, Ze, Elisa, Rinchen & Nidup) had our final meal together at all of our favorite restaurant in UB, Namaste, which we had all ate at unknowingly the night before the tirp.  After eating Mongolian food for a week, we were thrilled to have colorful and spicy Indian food, with Bollywood music in the background Nidup was singing along to.

The entire crew lined up to leave the Gobi Desert. From left to right: Quan, Davka (driver), Jesse, Aya (guide), Elisa, Ze, Khongorzuo (chef), George (Nidup and Rinchen’s driver), Rinchen and Nidup

And so ends another adventure, and the beginning of several beautiful friendships. Mongolia takes wide open spaces to a whole new level.  Life is cold, hard and simple and we had the time of our lives on this trip.  We were so thrilled to be paired up with such amazing travel mates, guides and drivers who shared our philosophy of not worrying about putting our lives in danger so we could arrive at places earlier.