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After a four and a half hour train ride from Datong, we spent the afternoon in Hohhot getting our bearings by going for a two hour walk in the rain. It was only the second day it has rained since we arrived in China so using our rain jackets was a bit of a novelty.
The next morning we were woken by the guest house staff to inform us that we could go on an overnight tour of Inner Mongolia's famous grasslands. Of course we eagerly accepted and quickly packed up our worldly belongings and piled in a minivan with a lovely American called Julie
After a two hour car trip we arrived in the middle of nowhere. We were shown to our Ger, traditional Mongolian house, before taking a walk to explore the endless grasslands. During our stroll we came across cows, chickens, horses and camels, who, as you can see from the photos, proceeded to follow us back to our abode.
Later in the day we went for a horse ride and did some archery to build up an appetite for a hearty meal of lamb and potato stew, rice and a tasty vegetable dish.
Before it got dark we grabbed an empty sack and proceeded to collect as much dried poo as possible... It is far more abundant than wood in the grasslands and just as good a fuel for fires!
Just before the sun dropped below the horizon we went for a short walk to the top of the hill to watch it set... a beautiful and freezing experience!
It is almost the middle of summer in Inner Mongolia but, as we sat around talking and drinking local beer in the moon light, we sure were glad of our poo fire
The next morning we had a breakfast of meat pasties, milk tea and some sort of pancake before piling in the van and heading back to Hohhot. On the way we stopped at a a local market on the side of the road where our guide picked up a new pair of shoes for 10 RMB (NZD $2).
While out of town, the grasslands had been our toilet so once back in Hohhot it was lovely to have a shower and put on a fresh change of clothes.
The next day we visited the local shops and a beautiful and very uniquely Chinese Mosque. On our last day we went to Hohhot's museum before grabbing an overnight hard sleeper train back to Beijing.
Hohhot and our tour of Inner Mongolia's grasslands stand out as highlights of our time in China to date - made even more enjoyable by the fabulous staff at Anda Hostel - they were all so welcoming, helpful and great company.