Thursday, 22 September 2016

Mongolia Trip: Orkhon Valley

Day 5 - Friday 12th August 2016

Another long day of driving! We were now moving up north towards Central Mongolia for the second half of the tour which - like most days - involved covering a very large distance. The landscape started to change from the desert to the iconic steppes! The Gobi was so flat and barren and it was beautiful to see the difference in the landscapes.

Mongolia 2016

Mongolia 2016

Monday, 19 September 2016

Mongolia Trip: Bayanzag

Day 4: Thursday 11th August 2016
We were warned the night before that today would consist of a lot of driving. We were heading out of the Gobi region and back north towards Ulanbaataar. This day was quite challenging for most of the people in the van, however it also highlighted something to me about myself. Naturally, I can get quite stressed and I am not the most positive person in the world. For those who know me in person, I am quite a negative and sarcastic individual, perhaps even bordering on bitchy more often than not. I find it hard to let things go, however for some reason when I travel a lot of these traits take a backseat (ha, I literally had a backseat in the van). I am definitely more carefree and stress a lot less about things I have no control over. It's a little bizarre but I think it's very much a good thing.

This day was a turning point in terms of the company that I was with. It was when the Canadian and American started to become quite grating and largely it was due to their negativity. Our vehicle was quite slow, going only at around 70kmph and had horrible suspension which made for a very bumpy car ride. The van was travelling with two others from the hostel (on shorter length tours) and we could never keep up with them which was very frustrating. They would be able to cruise at 100kmph and we would be trailing behind. The situation for this day was that we got separated from the vans (since they never waited for us) and we took a different route to our destination. It was a slightly annoying situation as the driver and the cook in the van did not speak English and we had no idea where we were going or if it was even the right direction. The American and Canadian (I was wedged between them) started to complain constantly that they didn't know where we were going and in the end I ended up putting in my earphones and listened to my audiobook (or maybe it was music). I was travelling through some beautiful and desolate landscape with people who ultimately would be able to communicate to Mongolians if we really ran into trouble.

Mongolia 2016
The drivers having an argument about which direction the town was.

Mongolia 2016

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Bike Riding at Bicentennial Park

Hi - I am Natalie and up until a few weeks ago, I had not ridden a bike in the last decade. Excluding the time when I was on a pedal bike at Centennial Park as mentioned here [but in all honesty, that really isn't a bike], the last time I rode a bike was when I was at a school camp. When it was suggested that we go bike riding at Bicentennial Park I was game. Although I was a little hesitant and worried that the notion that you never forget how to ride a bike may not hold true for me. Quite wobbly and unsure initially, I was the tail and followed my boyfriend who was having the time of his life.

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At some point I did tell him to just keep riding and I would get there ... at some point. I also had, at the back of my mind, the thought that I may actually crash into his bike. Ha.

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I was not game enough to ride under the fountain.

It was nice riding around the park for 2 hours and per usual, it was a beautiful Spring day! I am starting to miss the "cold" weather, but I am quite excited about spring and the possibilities of spending weekends in the great outdoors!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sud

On the way to a house warming party on Saturday night, my boyfriend and I stopped at Sud for an early dinner.There aren't too many places to eat in Concord and it was quite busy when we got there at 6pm. In fact, the server quite rudely informed us that "you can sit there" at the most awkward table right next to the door. In fact, the table was propping the door open.

We ordered the diavoli pizza and the ravioli funghi.

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$24 // tomato, mozzarella, capsicum, black olives, salame, chilli flakes

I am not entirely sure where the chilli flakes were but it was a very average pizza. The pizza base was quite nice though. The toppings were quite limited and there really wasn't anything special about it at all.

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$24 // beef Ravioli with mixed mushrooms sauce and topped with parmesan cheese

This was below average - it honestly didn't taste that much better than the ones you can buy in the fridge section at the supermarket.

The whole dinner was quite a let down; the food was so average and I was still a little miffed about the attitude of the server. At prices they charged, I was expecting quite a bit more. By the time we left, the place was completely packed and quite lively. I am not entirely sure why there were so many people there; perhaps there really wasn't anything else in the area.

This review is quite Negative Nancy but considering I am someone who is not fussy when it comes to food, I suppose it does say something about the place.

Sud Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Mongolia Trip: Khongoryn Els

Day 3 - Wednesday 10th August 2016
We headed to the sand dunes part of the Gobi desert! It was a reasonably short drive distance wise, however the van could only travel at around 70kmph which was quite slow. It was incredible to see the changing landscape from the beautiful mountain ranges to the steppes and slowly to the insanely massive sand dunes! This was also the day where I learnt how to pee in an open field with people around!

Mongolia 2016

Mongolia 2016
Lunch! A cucumber was never as tasty! By this stage, I was craving vegetables and fruit.