CRAWLING out of my tent in the early Mongolian morning, I look across a vast steppe covered in a colourful carpet with intricate patterns.
Chives are growing as far as the eye can see and they are all in flower.
Literally millions of mauve and white heads bob gently in the morning breeze.
A delicious, heady scent of herbs permeates the air as I take in the awesome view.
We're camped on the edge of an enormous open valley – like a giant basin, rimmed with dark towering mountains. Sentinels in the early morning light.
Mongolia – the Land of the Great Blue Sky – is indeed living up to her name on this crystal-clear day. In 2007 I fell in love with Mongolia, its awesome landscapes, the interesting and diverse culture, the fascinating history and, most of all, her gentle nomadic folks.
During our travels we have found places off the main tourist routes. We're always finding new and out-of-the-way places.
Last year, I escorted a group of eight women and three men to Mongolia, with the eldest being 74.
The Women's Group departs from Brisbane and Sydney on August 15 and still has a few spaces left.
On this trip, the women will experience camping in tents in very out-of-the-way places – usually with a view to die for.
We will sleep in traditional gers, sometimes with nomadic families.
Sometimes we will stay in a hotel or guesthouse in a small town. Our trips are not fast-paced and we never travel to a tight schedule.
Lots of time is set aside to look, photograph, climb the hills (if you like).
Sometimes you feel as though you can see forever.
We wander through markets, interact with the local people, walk and explore. And probably we will undertake a camel trek, somewhere in there, into some of the most magnificent dunes I have ever laid eyes upon.
Before the group travels out into the countryside, we will explore some Mongolian “treasures”.
Visiting the Mongolian Costume Museum, the Bogd Khaan Winter Palace and a few other extremely interesting places will enable us to appreciate the diverse and colourful culture of this fabulous country.
Participants also will take part in shopping for food along the way in the many tiny villages and markets.
Everyone cooks and cleans up.
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