Mongolia in the heart

Having cycled across Mongolia meant having made a long-time dream come true. 55 days that felt like leaving the time and space in which one is used to live in. It is probably true that you must have felt some romanticism in all of what I have written about this country, but it's just that the beauty of Mongolia takes you out of your own orbit and invites you to romanticize. Its landscapes of smooth shapes and slow paced "precarious" life pacify the mind and evoke a feeling of magic inside. It is true that these are images of its brief summer. Soon after we leave the country, temperatures will plummet down to -20C and by the end of December they will stabilize between -37 and -40C (when speaking, Mongols unconsciously omit the "-") and a windchill of much lower ones. Even with its extreme weather, I suspect that even spending a winter here should be an intense experience which I'll try to make happen sometime in the future. 

There are many beautiful countries in the world, or better said, all countries are beautiful or have something beautiful in and/or about them, but there are countries that apart from being beautiful they are special. In my perception, when I'm in this kind of places I can sense an extra quality that separates them from the rest. Until today I have trouble describing what that quality is and I certainly have no definition for it, but it's like a series of phenomena that happen in the same space at the same time invoking a physically and mentally positive body reaction inside oneself, a sort of mix of joy and inner peace. I have come to feel this truly powerful sensation in my several years of traveling across the Tibetan plateau, and I have happily felt it once again here in Mongolia. It is not by coincidence, I think, that both Tibetans and Mongolians live both in very extreme regions of the planet and carry out ways of living and have spiritual beliefs that are very similar. Mongolian nomads are by all means extraordinary people and that's to say little about them. Their affection has gotten very deep inside us and we have lived some of the most truly special moments in some of the most unreal and remote places that I have ever been to. I think I will never leave Mongolia because it is very deep inside me and has grown on me, in both my heart and the sheep smell that seems impossible to wash away. The series of photos at the top of this post is a very brief summary of the infinite images that were recorded in my retina.