Have beautiful skin and keep skin beautiful by having regular Facials and by using natural organic skin care.

Lilla Skin &  Body Care

Have beautiful skin and keep skin beautiful by having regular facials and by using natural organic skin care.

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Harmful Chemicals in Skin/Hair/Nail Products

Posted on 29 June, 2017 at 16:35 Comments comments (3)

Unfortunatly harmful chemicals are very effectively absorbed via our skin. These chemicals are entering multiple tissues within our body and cause all kinds of illnesses. I made this easy to use chart for my clients. On the left column you find the harmful chemicals, in the row with an X, the products that contains them.


These ingredients may cause:

Aluminum Salts: Alzheimer’s Disease, Autisim, Breast Cancer

Formaldehyde: Cancer

Fragrences: Hormone Disrupters, Allergens

Hydroquinone: Cancer cell growth

Oxybenzone: Interfere with the Body Endocrine System

Parabens(methyl and propyl): as preservative in cosmetics, Breast Cancer by mimicking estrogen

Phthalates: interfere with the Body Endocrine System

Triclosan: Cancer cell growth, Endocrine Disruption

Say no to chemical/poisonous products, choose natural organic ones.

My very unique "Tropical herbal apprenticeship " in Costa Rica (April 18 - May 16. 2017)

Posted on 27 May, 2017 at 15:00 Comments comments (2)

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a one month "Tropical herbal apprenticeship" in beautiful Costa Rica, Manzanillo village, situated between the jungle and the Caribbean Sea. Molly Meehan Brown, of the Centro Ashe, a certified medical herbalist with a lot of knowledge and experience, organized the course. 

              

In this exciting month, I learned a lot about Tropical plants and their medicinal effects. I also experienced what it means living in the jungle. My favorite part of the day was sunrise, the moment when the jungle comes alive! The noise surrounding us was absolutely amazing with all kinds of birds and monkeys waking up and greeting the sun!

We spent our days learning about plants, learning how to make tinctures/extractions, teas, herbal oils, herbal honey and hydrosols. We also made herbal soaps and excellent body lotions. We had fantastic meals prepared by our local cooks, Alda and Luba. They were also our local teachers/herbalists.

Alda, a very nice and beautiful mid-40 local woman, tought us about local plants and their effects. She also took us on plant identification walks/Bush Medicine walks to the jungle and on the Manzanillo beach. This is where we learned that Vervain is excellent -when boiled for 20-25 minutes- for colds, and, when mashed with coconut oil, also excellent for dogs’ health. Lemongrass mixed with ginger and bitter melon is a good fever reducer. Papaya is a very nutritious fruit and its seeds are good against parasites and its leaves for cancer treatment. The young coconut/Pipa can keep your kidneys healthy. Dry almond leaves and cinnamon are good for diabetes. And we learned so much more about other beautiful plants, like Mimosa, Life everlasting, Lemongrass, Juanilama, Jackass bitters, Hibiscus and so on…

                                                                           

Luba, our other wonderful teacher, tought us how to make coconut oil. For a bottle of coconut oil we would have to chop, grate, and cook 35 coconuts, a tremendous work! After this experience, I no longer complain about paying a high price for a bottle of coconut oil.

Another time, we visited a Permaculture center where we had an herbal first aid class. And we made a trip to an "Ecological Farm seed saving Sanctuary", where our indigenous guide explained us about the importance of seed savings. “Seeds of Evil: Monsanto”                                                                  

We also visited a "Bri Bri organic farm" where we learned once again about medicinal herbs, used Annatto seeds as a natural lipstick and blush. Annatto is a popular dye plant, safe food coloring that not only lends color to cheese, chocolate and lipstick, but also provides Vitamin A. At the same place, we also made chocolate from scratch - a fantastic experience! From now on, I really prefer the raw and pure chocolate taste!

Many thanks to our organizer, Molly, who did a great job organizing all these wonderful visits that we will never forget!

One of my favorites was the visit of a "Jaguar rescue center" where we saw all kind of birds, monkeys, pigs, sloths, ... In this place, veterinarians and volunteers are dedicated to the rehabilitation of mistreated, injured, orphaned or confiscated animals. Once the animals are recovered from their injuries, they are reintroduced into their natural habitats, mostly to the surrounding jungle. A wonderful way to help these beautiful animals!

 

Costa Rica is absolutely beautiful and almost a paradise. Unfortunately, it has also its fouls: after a long Labor-Day weekend, people from close-by cities left immense amount of garbage on the beaches of Manzanillo without any care for the environment! A few local angels regularly get together and clean up these beautiful beaches. My deep respect to them! Once more, one can only wish that one day all polluting and harmful materials like, plastic, styrofoam and others will be banned all over the world. And people must be educated to take back home their garbage.

                                                         

Like everything in life, also this unique and beautiful experience came to an end! My deep thanks go to Molly, Alda, Luba and Omar, as well as to my colleagues who shared the course with me, and to the beautiful people of Costa Rica. Finally, don't forget the proverb: "A moment lasts abut a second, but a memory lives forever"!

My beauties: Ginger flowers

Harmful Chemicals in Sunscreens.

Posted on 20 March, 2017 at 14:05 Comments comments (0)

I came across on the internet of a great article about, How harmful chemicals in sunscreens can cause skin cancer and allergies. I felt that I have to share it with you. Our skin absorbs chemicals from sunscreens like from any other creams or personal care products. These hormon–disrupting chemicals are used in almost all conventional personal care products such as cosmetics, soap, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products, and animal studies have shown that they directly interfere with the body’s endocrine system. All of these harmful ingredients are found within most popular sunscreens: Oxybenzone; can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and promote the growth of cancer cells. Parabens, Phthalates, Fragrance; hormon-distrupting, used as preservatives in cosmetics Just to name a few. You can buy natural sunscreens without harmful chemicals Look out for sunscreens that contain zinc-oxide (reflectant) as opposed to the active ingredients listed above. You can find my organic sunscreens under Face and Body Products.

Remember, the best sun protection is shade and clothing. It is not necessary to wear sunscreen every time you are out in the sun. Sunscreen does NOT allow the body to absorb any vitamin D from sunlight. So if you plan on being outside for a short period of time, skip the sunscreen and feed your body the vitamin D that will keep it healthy. It is beneficial for your health to limit the amount of exposure of toxic chemicals to the skin. It is also beneficial to the environment as less toxins will be in our lakes and the sea or going down the drains.

Better substitue is also Spray Tan, as seen on the picture. Safe and you have a nice color for about a week.

                                                          

 

I also learned that the “Food and Drug Administration” (FDA) banned all antibacterial hand and body soaps/wash products containing harmful ingredients to our heath. Exactly 19 damaging ingredients this time, but unfortunately there a lot more out there which hopefully will be banned soon, but again not soon enough!

“In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term”. The agency issued a proposed rule in 2013 after some data suggested that “ long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products — for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) — could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects."

You can read more on this subject hereafter:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fda-ban-antibacterial-soap_us_57c9d670e4b0a22de09600f7

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm517478.htm


MY SUNSCREENS

Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30: Water resistant, great for exercise or swimming. Easy to use brush makes it simple to control the application. For all skin types.

Tomato Day Cream SPF 16: Light SPF summer moisturiser with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection for normal to dry skin types.

Red Currant Protective Moisturiser SPF 30: Ultra-light age preventative broad spectrum SPF moisturiser for normal to combination skin types.

Tropical Vanilla Body SPF 32: Protect skin with the natural defences of zinc and herbal ingredients in this organic sunscreen that blocks harmful UV rays. Revitalising and hydrating she butter combines with th calming aroma of vanilla.    

Bright Skin Spf 30 day cream: lightening sunscreen for uneven skin tones.  


                                                  




Heviz/Hungary Medicinal Spa

Posted on 14 August, 2016 at 10:25 Comments comments (5)

As I recently visited Hungary, I had the unique experience to spend two days in the small town of Heviz, next to the lake Balaton. "The curative Lake of Heviz is the largest biologically active, natural, peat-mud thermal lake of volcanic origin in the world." I could not describe this better, so I quoted from the brochure we got when we entered this beautiful natural thermal lake, also the largest one in Europe.                

Thermal baths are found all over Hungary and their healing effects are well known. The Turks built the first thermal baths in the sixteen-century during the Ottoman Empire. Later people were looking for natural gas and instead they found thermal waters. It is because of Earth’s crust is very thin in this region.

Although the city of Heviz is not so special, the lake is one of a kind; it is not like any of the thermal baths I’ve ever visited. The water is 2-38 m deep (6 – 124 ft), therefore you need a floating device, which you can easily rent for €2.00 inside the compound. The water temperature, which is heated up by geothermic energy, is in the summer between 35-38C (95-100.4F) and in the winter never goes under 22C (71.6F).

            

The temperature was just perfect for easily floating around among beautiful water lilies. The water of Heviz is beneficial to patients suffering from rheumatic diseases and locomotor disorders. (Muscular, joint and ligamentous pains). The lake is fed by springs with mineral water contents and it is completely replaced every three and half days.

Because of the flow of this mass of water, the distribution of the curative ingredients is even, and the temperature of the water as well. The skin of our body was covered by gas bubbles, which came from the hydrostatic pressure of the water, and which was massaging lightly our body. This stimulates of course our blood flow and therefore makes the movement of each body part easier.

The mud at the bottom of the lake has special values of curative factors as well and floating around lotus flowers relaxed our mind. This experience was truly one of a kind! I felt like reborn and I regretted that I have not done it earlier while still living in Hungary!

             

             



Baden-Baden, Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Posted on 29 May, 2016 at 5:40 Comments comments (0)

A couple of weeks ago, when I revisited the beautiful spa town of Baden-Baden, (located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany,) where I studied esthetics many years ago, I had a chance to indulge myself in the pools of the “Caracalla Spa".  

                                                     

You will find there plenty of rooms to relax and unwind in the spacious indoor and extensive outdoor areas.The temperature of the curative thermal water ranges from 18 to 38°C and it is very rich in minerals. In addition to the attractive pools, there are relaxing aroma steam baths, different saunas ranging from 65 to 95°C, and indoor and outdoor pools with massage jets. It is truly a unique relaxing and refreshing experience.

While trying these massage jets, the neck shower jets (also good for tired muscles, cellulite) and the bubble seats/beds, it came to my mind to write about “lymphatic drainage”. These jets are in fact one good way to stimulate our lymph flow! Stimulated lymph flow helps to get rid of toxins and excess fluid, so that we have a healthier body and skin.

                 

The other way to stimulate our lymph flow is trough massage. I was trained to do the facial lymphatic massage in N.Y. by the “Dr.Vodder Method”, which is a very specific form of lymphatic massage. When choosing this specific facial treatment, you will experience a gently massage of your face which will help to improve the lymph flow. And when lymph is moving freely in the face, you'll have clearer and healthier skin, without a buildup of toxins and fluids. 1 1/2 hour Treatment €105.00

Lymphatic massage, also called lymphatic drainage or manual lymph drainage, is a technique developed in Germany for treatment of lymphedema, also known as lymphatic obstruction. The lymph is a whitish liquid flowing throughout our body inside lymph vessels, collecting wastes and toxins that cannot be absorbed through the blood capillary vessels.

The lymphatic massage is a very delicate, light form of massage favoring the lymph flow. It is based on light, rhythmic and constant movements, only touching the skin with an almost non-perceptible pressure. The rhythm, pressure and motion of lymph drainage massages work together to reduce pain, stress and to promote general vitality and well-being. It is truly a very relaxing experience! The massage starts from the neck/décolletage towards the ears, following from the center of the face towards the lateral areas, always finishing with a light pressure on the ears and temples.The finishing in this area is from the forehead to the neck.

It is highly recommended for the following conditions:

- Acne: the skin is inflamed, accompanied generally by liquid retained amongst the skin cells. The draining effect of this technique decreases gradually the inflammation and the edemas, favoring a faster cure.

- Couperose skin: is due to an alteration of the peripheral circulation of the face, especially on cheeks, nose and chin.

- Before and after facial surgery: lymph drainage is effective for getting rid of edemas and hematomas and boosting tissue regeneration following a surgery.

Results: improved Immune system and extraordinary Relaxation!  

                                                                I

I hope you will have a chance to try it one day!

Prost,Cheers,To your health and well-being with a good German Beer!   

                                                          



My Green Spa

Posted on 16 February, 2016 at 9:05 Comments comments (0)

My cosmetic care-line makes me be more environmentally conscious/green. My aim for this year is to create a more sustainable lifestyle and an eco- friendly business having the three R’s in mind:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I will list here, few of the changes I made until now.

In my treatment room, electric equipments are fully turned off when not in use – no stand by!

I use LED, CLF or low-voltage track lighting in my room.

I use reusable or biodegradable options whenever possible. For drinking water, I use filtered tap water instead of buying plastic bottles - no waste.

Instead of paper and plastic cups, I use glassware. 

I send out emails for all marketing materials, not paper mail. I use and reuse paper bags for all products.

If there is waste, I recyle it.

I use biodagradable waste bags. Picture bellow:


I use natural, non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning supplies instead of chemical based products. 


I use cotton eye pads, cotton swabs with paper handle and cotton reusable wash clothes.


Just recently we heard in the news that the US will ban the use of microbeads in beauty products. Excellent news, but it is long overdue! Microbeads are tiny plastic particles used as exfoliants in many beauty products, such as facial scrubs, soaps and toothpastes. They do not dissolve and can persist in the environment for decades. They have been damaging water supplies, marine life and the ecological balance of the planet.

Read more on it here: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/microbeads-cosmetics-gyres-plastics-pollution-makeup http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3380712/Goodbye-exfoliating-face-wash-Obama-outlaws-tiny-plastic-microbeads-shower-gels-don-t-dissolve-harmful-environment.html#ixzz40WyOiYBF

Most of my clients are using the better natural alternatives which help you achieve a beautiful, glowing skin without harming our environment! Just to mention a few Face Exfoliants: - Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant has the fruits, rice and chickpea flour which helps to buff and smooth skin texture. - Rosehip & Maize Exfoliating Mask have rosehip, lemon juice and Maize flour which gentle removes waste build-up.

And not to forget these other wonderful Sugar Exfoliants for the Body: Mimosa Champagne Scrub, Blueberry Scrub, Pear & Apple Scrub and the wonderful Coconut Scrub.


The refreshment I provide to my clients as also linked to my green idea. I compost all the organic wast in my community garden in Luxembourg city.

If you have other wonderful green ideas, please don't hesitate to share it with me!



Moroccan/Marrakesh Hammam

Posted on 21 January, 2016 at 7:55 Comments comments (0)

Pictures of this beautiful Hammam Ziani in the center of Marrakesh.

My 3hours treatment included: a Body scrub, a head and body shampoo/rinse, followed by a mud wrap and a good Body Massage. All this for only 350.00 Moroccan Dirham or about €35.00

I liked it and I would recommend it!

Entrance

                                                                       

Treatment rooms


           

A room for scrub and rinse.

                                               




How to Treat Acne, Adult Acne?

Posted on 22 November, 2015 at 14:05 Comments comments (5)

                                                                      

Blemishes=Breakouts=Acne,pimples, means the same.

I decided to choose this subject this month, because lately I see more and more adults and adolescents are affected by Acne.They must realize, the  cause of Acne can be a combination of life-style, hormonal changes and the list below.

A little science about Acne: Oily skin is characterized by an over-production of sebum (oil) and feels thicker than dry or normal skin. The sebaceousglands, located in each hair follicle produce oil that lubricates the skin. They are found on face, back, chest and shoulders. The oily skin has enlarged  pores (follicles) that may be filled with dirt and grease. If some of the oil becomes trapped, bacteria multiply in the hair follicle and the skin becomes  inflamed, that’s what we call Acne.


                                                                                

 Oily skin and Acne caused by a combination of factors:

 - During adolescence (puberty) there may be an imbalance of hormones or increase in hormone levels, androgen (male sex hormone) stimulates the  production of sebum and keratin, which leads to clogged pores. Both sexes can suffer from acne at this age.

 - A diet rich in saturated fats and oils, hydrogenated fats (junk food) and animal products may contribute to the oily condition of the skin.

 - A hot, humid climate may also stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum.

 - Heredity of oily skin.

 - Allergies, for example to dairy products.

 - Stress can promote hormonal changes and cause flare-ups.

 - Monthly menstrual cycles.

 - Over-washing and rubbing of the skin (ph alkaline, more on this later).

 - The use of cosmetics or creams rich in fats.

 - If you start using a product, use it within 3-6 months, after that bacteria can set in. Use spatula when you take your creams out of the jar.

 - Hygiene, not regularly cleaned make-up sponges, brushes, pillowcases.

 - Skin is our largest organ, toxic waste escapes through sweating. Disruption of this mechanism can also cause acne.

 - Smoking is toxic, therefore can cause Acne

 - Avoid wearing tight clothing (turtlenecks, scarves); friction makes pimples more likely to rupture.

 - Don’t shave the Acne infected area.

 - Our skin should be slightly acidic 5.5-ph balance, this is our protective layer against bacteria.When the ph is higher than 5.5 or too alkaline, it becomes as a breeding ground for acne causing bacteria.

 What can we do to prevent acne or to reduce existing acne?

 During my 26 years in this field, I saw many adolescents or adults suffer from this condition. I had the most success with the ones who followed my  advice, used their products, had their regular Facial treatments and changed their diet and life-style. In my mind, I called them the "believers", their  skin  improved sooner. The others, the "non-believers", went on to take some strong drugs, like Accutane (side effects: nosebleeds, liver  damage, birth defects) or just simply gave up. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I can or can’t fix. So, if I see a client with a cystic acne, I for  sure will  send him or her to a  doctor, but not everybody has to run to a doctor and take pills right away. I will list hereafter all the things I experienced in my years to help treating acne. Some  will be surprising!

 First of all, you should always seek help of an esthetician, but not just any esthetician. The one who knows how to treat acne, how to properly clean,  exfoliate the skin and knows how to do proper extractions (using lancets or other sterilized tools if it is necessary to clean out the pores). My  experience here in  Luxembourg,  and also in the States, was that a lot of skin care professionals don’t know how to do extractions or they are afraid  to do it. It is easier  to put on cream after cream or mask after mask, but unfortunately this will not help your acne prone skin. When you find  someone good, you should  see her at least  once a month, but you may need a weekly session for a while, especially if you have a bad case of  acne (with a cystic acne, she will  advise you to  seek a help of a dermatologist).

 Second, you have to find a good product-line, the one you like and the one that is especially good for treating your acne. I, of course, will only  recommend organic products (remember, one cause of acne can be from toxins, and chemicals are toxins)! Many years ago, I also used some other  than organic lines and some were better than others. Make a smart decission!

 Third, always wash your hands before applying the products and, during the day, don’t touch your skin and, please, don’t pick your skin. Picking,  squeezing or scratching blemishes may cause scarring. Acne – if you follow the advice bellow - will heal, but scars will not or it will take you a longer  time and a lot of money to get read of them.

 Fourth, using cleanser and toner at morning and at night is very important. Gel/foaming cleansers are the best to treat acne, to remove dirt and  excess oil. Toners also help remove residues, kill acne-causing bacteria and put the protective shield (5.5 ph balance) back.

 5. Using a special day cream for acne prone skin and if you spend a lot of time outdoors use one with an SPF30 (15 minutes of sunshine each day without  SPF is good). Application of make-up (with a regularly cleaned and sanitized sponge and brushes)

 6. Night routine: cleanse again wit your cleanser, even twice if it is necessary, but don’t rub your skin too much. (too much rubbing and scrubbing and  hand towels can spread bacteria, avoid using them as long as your acne persists). Toner: spray some on a cotton ball and wipe your face with it,  then spray it on your face one more time.

 7. If you have a daily exfoliator for acne, I advice that you use it at night, because your skin will rest and breathe better at night. Next, use your night  serum and cream for acne prone /oily skin, of course no SPF.

 8. Once/ twice a week or between your facial treatments, you may also use a Mud mask or special Acne masks. Don’t overuse them though, it can  over dry your skin. You can use your Acne mask as spot treatment more frequently (only on the pimple or only where you have most of your  breakouts). 


 The following ingredients in products are great for treating Acne:

  Aloe Vera Juice: heals and calms irritated skin

  Carrot: heals and contains Vit A, a natural exfoliant

  Chamomile: soothing and regenerating

  Cucumber: tones and shrinks skin pores

  Eucalyptus Oil: antiseptic healer

  Glycolic Acid: loosens dead skin cells

  Honey: mild antiseptic, nourishing

  Kaolin Clay: draws out impurities

  Lavender: antiseptic

  Menthol: antiseptic and calming

  Peppermint: antiseptic and calming

  Sage: tones and antiseptic

  Salicylic Acid: gentle exfoliant, removes impurities and shrinks pores

  Stone Crop: reduces inflammation

  Zinc Oxide: reduces inflammation, healing and blocks UV rays

  Peppermint: antiseptic and calming

  Tea tree Oil: antiseptic and anti-inflammatory

  Yogurt: exfoliating, contains lactic acid

 And many more fruits, vegetables and herbs contain incredible ingredients, which can reduce inflammation and aid healing.

                                                                         

 What to eat to help our oily inflamed skin?

 Eat a diet that is high in fiber. It is important to keep the colon clean and ridding the body of toxins. Eat foods rich in Zinc, soybeans, whole grains,  shellfish and small amount of raw nuts. A diet low in Zinc may promote flare-ups. Eat a lot of low-fat yogurt. Say no to: sugars, butter, caffeine,  cheese, alcohol, chocolate, cream, fat, fried foods, spicy foods, hydrogenated oils, meat, wheat, soft drinks. In my opinion a vegan diet is the best to  cure Acne, but of course not everybody can became vegan or vegetarian over night. Reducing meat in our diet will already help!

 I hope this will help You to better understand Acne and how to treat it! If you live in Luxembourg (or even in Europe :), ) please do not hesitate to  contact me.

Peace, Lilla 





You Bought an Eminence Product They Planted a Tree!

Posted on 27 September, 2015 at 0:25 Comments comments (0)


Thank you dear clients for achieving this! Together we planted 272 Trees!!


My Volunteering Experience in Mongolia.

Posted on 31 August, 2015 at 17:20 Comments comments (0)

Sain baina uu- Hello in Mongolian

On July 17th I packed my bags and headed to Mongolia for volunteering in a kids camp to teach English. I was very excited, but at the same time very nervous! It was a far away place and a complete unknown land for me, but since I was very young I always wanted to go there. So, I arrived in the Mongol capital, Ulaanbaatar 15 hours later. My first impression was that it is a developing international city, formerly occupied by Chinese and Russians, and their influence can be found everywhere!

Next day, we took a minibus and traveled about an hour west to our camp. The camp was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hills, a few Gers/Jurt (a round tent where the natives live) and a lot of farm animals. I got to stay in one of these Gers together with five other volunteers, four lovely girls from Taiwan and Korea, and a friendly guy from Spain. It was a good group and we got along well right from the beginning. All together in the camp, we were eighteen volunteers from all over Europe and Asia.

My Ger and the Campsite.

                    

We all started working the following day. We all had some chores to do like taking turns of teaching, cleaning the facilities, cooking, watering and maintaining plants/trees at our camp. It was all real fun! The kids were very eager to learn, but I wished we would have had more kids in our group 'cause I heard from previous years’ volunteers that there were used to be more kids from an orphanage. We all started our work early in the morning, then after lunch we had two hours break, which I normally used for making walks and getting to know the surrounding area and the natives.

The sights around us were amazing, pure untouched nature, with herds of goats, lambs, cows and horses. On one of my walks with my Spanish Ger-mate, we met a young and friendly shepherd boy. (Below picture) He invited us to his Ger, where he lived with his parents and two younger brothers. He kindly offered us some goat cheese and milk. Their cheese is made without salt, whereas the tea is served with salt. It was fascinating! The Ger was a beautiful structure, small and organized inside and housed in this case five people. Mongolian families usually are large in size with an average of four people, and often many children. To the right there was the kitchen, to the left the bedroom and in the back the living room.

The kind sheperd Boy and the Kitchen side of his Ger.

                      

On my other walks, I often met some hungry/thirsty dogs, which here around belonged to shepherds, but in Ulaanbaatar they were mostly stray.         Sometimes I had food or water with me so I gave them some and this way I made some good friends in- and outside the camp. They made our daily life more fun and exciting! (Pictures below.)

Our kitchen and bathroom in the camp were very simple, minimalistic; we only had cold water to shower with and only a few ingredients to cook with. But thanks to our multinational volunteer group (some people brought spices from home), we had excellent Korean, Slovenian, Spanish, Taiwanese and French specialities.

The kids' dinning/play room. Playing outside.

                 

After two weeks in the camp, I was eager and ready to discover the bigger Mongolia!

Roads are not so good, often simple pistes, and in some areas are really dreadful; it took us many hours to make just a few hundred kilometers. There was of course no way I could see this big and beautiful country in just a week, but I was lucky to see the "little Gobi " desert and the beautiful White Lake and some other sights.

                

They were absolutely amazing and so different from each other; and it was definitely worth the bumpy ride! In these gorgeous, remote areas, people live a very hard life, especially in winter time when temperatures can drop to -40 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit! For lunch, we normally stopped in a place next to the roadside. The Mongolian food is largely dominated by mutton/lamb. Once I was happy to see a vegetable soup on the menu, ordered it and got a nice vegetable soup, but with lamb meat in it! I loved these roadside restaurants; they were pretty small and operated by kind families. And while they were preparing our food in front of us, I had time to sit down and observe. These were also the opportunities to meet some beautiful and interesting people outside of the restaurant.

                

A few days later we were back in Ulaanbaatar. At the beginning, I was not too crazy about this city, but it grew on me. It is a quite international city, people come here from all over the world, tourists and businessmen. Especially Koreans like to come here in order to see the beautiful big, blue sky and also to do all kind of business. Like in any big city, there are skincare and massage salons here. And I really wanted to try one, not to say that I also needed one after almost three weeks! So, I found a nice looking place advertising all kinds of therapies. Inside, the place looked nice and clean, with dimmed lights on the walls. My therapist guided me to a cozy room, which I was about to share with two other clients. After putting on a short and a T-shirt, my massage could start. It was a mixture of Thai and Shiatsu massage. Thai massage is full of pulling and stretching; shiatsu is a pressure-point massage. The combination of both really was divine! But then, two other persons came in for massage and even though they were not too noisy, my moment of relaxation was ruined. I definitely preferred the private setting. The massage lasted an hour, I paid and left with mixed feelings.

The Massage room and the Salon from the street.

                                    

The next few days, I spent with sightseeing in and around the city and, on my last day, I decided to attend a traditional Mongolian dance and music performance. First, I thought it will be something very touristy and kitschy, but my mouth dropped as soon as the artists started their performance. In a pretty simple, almost poor theatre setting, these artists - wearing their rich, beautiful, traditional cloths - performed superbly and I was amazed of their professionalism. After all these beautiful and unique experiences, time came to say good-bye to Mongolia - and it was hard! At the airport, one of the security guards asked me: "So, Miss, three weeks in Mongolia, how did you like it"? While answering, I teared up 'cause yes, I liked it, I even liked it very much.

The Theatre and a Buddha Statue in Ulaanbaatar.

                    

Bayartai (Good Bye) beautiful Mongolia! Thank you for the wonderful experience!

The doggies in and outside of the camp. The one among the shoes was Jay-Jay, my best friend in the camp.

                    






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