It was a physically difficult drive to the border of Mongolia. Not because the road was bad, but Rudy was feeling drained and had a headache. Having gotten out of bed at 4:45 to watch 120+ minutes of great passing shots and few goal shots. It must have been a disappointment for the Dutch keeper after having made some good saves during the match to have them all fly by into the net during the shoot out. It was not his fault but the fault of the 2 players who shot the ball in the hands of the Argentinean keeper.

Back to the trip. Thanks for the reactions (although few) on my comments request. As a result we are taking some more pictures on the non tourist side of the cities and add some more info to the write-up. In Ulan Ude we did a walkabout after having booked into the hotel. We saw the 7m diameter head of Lenin. It is on Jamaliah’s camera (rare occasion of Rudy forgetting to bring his camera) so those pictures will be added later. We saw a large 6×6 truck on the market place. It is taking the road of bones to Magadan. I can believe it can make a trip. We forgot to take a picture with our small camper next to it. Opposite the refurbished ballet/opera theatre there is a very relaxing square with a musical fountain moving to the sound of classical music coming out of the loud speakers. This simple addition makes a city much more attractive. Also we saw for the first time LED traffic lights. There are really thin.

The 2-lane road to the border (190 km) was mostly in good conditions. Only the last 20 or so km had lots of potholes. The wide valley slowly narrowed and became hilly open grassland. We stopped for the last Russian petrol and supermarket in Kyakhta on the border zone. This town used to be rich by the tea trade but declined after the trade was taken by the trans Siberia train line and the Sues canal. Some large decorated wooden house are remnants of this period.

The border crossing took some 2 ½ hrs. On the Mongolian side we were sent from officer to officer to get different stamps to import the car. It was not busy and all was done in pleasant atmosphere. We drove some 40 km on to the first bush camp. It was a lovely off the roadside amongst the pine trees. We discovered that the local are also on the move because of the Naadam festival and saw them also camping amongst the trees or along the road.