Scent Diary: 27.5 – 2.6.2019




Hey there APJ Crew,

I have an admission to make. We have been so busy that almost my whole week was put up from photos on one afternoon travelling by train from Irkutsk Russia to Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. Connectivity was spotty at best so forgive the lacks.

This week has been another week of wonders. Lake Baikal is a MUST SEE!

Scent Diary: 27.5 – 2.6.2019

Monday 27:

We are on the Trans Siberian Railway still. Made a couple of mates, Dirk and Rick from Netherlands. Hanging out with them has been awesome fun. I’ve added a bunch of vista pics, they’re not all gorgeous but I wanted to give you a little idea of some diversity.

Tuesday 28:

Today we arrived in Irkutsk station and jumped on the bus immediately to Lake Baikal. Really glad we did it without a days stop because all the travel was over and done with in one hit. Nothing can prepare you for the stunning, unspoiled beauty of Lake Baikal.

Wednesday 29:

I woke up at 3.30am and got to watch the magnificent sunrise.

Jin and I were up at breakfast early (it was awful, bleaugh) and out the door to walk to the famous Shaman Rocks. You can tie a ribbon onto the Prayer Poles and as the wind blows through your ribbon your prayer is sent to the universe. You can bring your own ribbon or buy them in the Souvenir Stores. The walk is mildly hard going because it’s quite hilly and there’s a lot of sandy soil.

Here is Jin stealing a TINY pebble to give to TinaG, our resident Rock Chick.

He also braved the local cuisine. It looked pretty grim to me.

In the evening we met up with Dirk and Rick again. They’d arrived on the island in the afternoon. We grabbed some Vodka, beer and snacks and watched the sun go down together. Discussion was wide ranging and full of fun.

We all climbed back down to the Shaman Rock in the dusk. The sheer amount of blue tones in the sky, sea and surrounds was magnificent. The pictures do it no justice.

All the local fooderies were closed by the time we were done. Thankfully Jin called our hotel and asked them to stay open to feed us. No problem. We jumped in a cab and all had delicious burgers and chips, done Russian style with loads of pickles, sweet tomato chutney and cheese. A few beers for the boys and a coffee for me and we were set.

Thursday 30:

Here we are a truck stop on the way to Irkutsk from Baikal.

Lunch at a Korean BarBQ.

Sexy Russian men are EVERYWHERE. Jin got directions from this one.

Bought FAKE Montale 30ml bottles from this lady. The frags are dodgy AF but smell good.

You may remember Jin likes markets. Here we are at the meat and delicatessen market.

Outside is the farmers market.

Friday 31:

Back on the train. This time Irkutsk to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The scenery was gorgeous.  So much water and small town. I thought I’d taken more variety but nope.

One of the stops where we could get out, stretch our legs and buy some local cuisine or junk food.

Our very comfortable First Class cabin. NO DINING CAR! We survived on Cup Noodles.

Saturday 1:

We arrived in MONGOLIA! Met at the station by Tuvshin and Ikima who are going to be showing us around. Met through perfume friend Lkhama in Australia, Tuvshin has organised a kick ass adventure for us. He’s not a Tour Guide and is doing it out of the goodness of his heart.

First stop the Soviet era statue which also is a lookout point over Ulanbaataar. The mosaic work on the inside is wonderful.

Then we travelled out of the city to Lkhama’s relatives who are Yak farmers! They cooked us a traditional celebratory lunch of milk tea and stone BarBQ’d goat.

Then we went out to meet the yaks and see them being milked. OMG! I want one.


Here is a family shot of the lot of us.

Then Tuvshin took us to the largest stainless steel statue on earth. Chingiss Khaan! Set in it’s own theme park with museum, restaurant, parkland, ghers and statues of the horde. It’s wonderful. You can go right up to the top too. we did. View is huge.

Then we went to another theme park. The history of Chengiss, his hers and people, including shaman rituals from all over Mongolia. The rocks are amazing too, spectacular teeth rising from the earth.

After all that it was time to head to our accommodation for the night. A ghee camp. the traditional dwellings of the nomadic tribes of Mongolia.

Sunday 2:

We slept and woke up to a clear blue sky. It had rained ferociously through the night and we loved sleeping in the warmth and listening to it.

Around lunch time we went back to Ulanbaataar and hit the last Mongolian King’s residence. Sadly it is in need of some love but it’s interesting to wander through the compound. You can clearly see his Tibetian roots in the design and his winter palace is a very unpretentious building full of his life, clothes, rooms of state and the eeriest collection of stuffed animals, birds and fish you ever saw.

By this time Jin band I were STARVING and getting hangry. We ate.

Back to the hotel, showered, dressed and going to diner.

Dinner was originally to be a huge THANK YOU to Tuvshen and Imika. Luckily our train buddies arrived in Ulanbaataar today so we got them to come along too. A perfect evening of food, drinks and laughs.

Afterwards we went up to a bar in the sky for drinks, thanks to Rick & Dirk.



It’s YOUR turn. What’s happening in your world?

Did you do anything Fragrant, Fun, Friends, Family or even had some less than Fabulous news you want to share? Now’s the time, in the comments below.
We love to read what’s happening to YOU.
Portia xx

40 thoughts on “Scent Diary: 27.5 – 2.6.2019

  1. Portia!!!! Those photos are breathtaking!!! Thank you for sharing!
    My youngest had oral surgery this week…two impacted wisom teeth which had to be split in pieces in order to be removed and the other two normal ones removed as well…so four in all. He is a stoic trooper subsiding on mush food. Given that he consumes 4000 to 5000 calories per day he will inevitably lose weight but hopefully gain it back quickly . And I was the thunkinator this week. My guess is that I thunked maybe 30 samples on my own but also mailed out three packages and am starting a new collection for Ms. Miller so my thunk count is probably close to 100. I have been busy!


    • And Portia, which bottles of Andrea Maack do you have floating around the house? I sampled a few and they are interesting . Also, did you do any full reviews on any of them?


        • Thank you!!!! Found quite a bit on Andrea Maack on APJ using the search! I know I wore Coal but now am not sure if I sampled Sharp or Gravel…I am going to have to research the notes as this will tell me.


    • Ouch, impacted wisdom teeth are the worst. He’s going to feel so much better when he’s healed.


      • I am glad he had this done now….out of the way and no pain and suffering down the road. The oral surgeon said the younger the better…less ability for the teeth to establish roots and quicker healing time. Luckily he is like my husband and not a whiner. But he slept the entire day on the first day and looked like a chipmunk.


  2. Another quiet week here. Thank you for all the wonderful photos! Loved Lake Baikal and the inside view of the yurt. And that photo of the two of you dressed up in full Mongol costume is priceless!


  3. LOVE the photos, Portia! Thank you for sharing and keep enjoying your fabulous trip!

    Nothing out of the routine this past week for me. I organized, by seasons, the latest samples that I reveiced and I have finished many of them in one single wear. Few have made it to my full bottle list, either because they are too expensive or because they didn’t win my heart. But it is always lots of fun trying new things. Many more still to go….


  4. Hi Portia! Another fabulous review of your week’s travels! I don’t even know of the places you travel, and it’s so much fun to view your photos and see a different part of the world. You and Jin are so blessed to travel so extensively, and I thank you for sharing your explorations with us. I love the photo of you and Jin in the Mongol costumes! Safe travels xx


  5. Amazing amazing amazing! What utter fabulousness. Jin makes quite a convincing local, not sure about you. 😂 And what’s with the face at the K bbq? I get caught making similar faces in most pics. It’s such a treat to be taken in with a local family. Gives insight like no tourist guide ever could. Great too that you had some buddies on your Lake Baikal visit. That place looks stunning. Of course I’m not jealous, not at all. I don’t ever lie either.
    My week was uneventful. Did some empty bottle dumping. I have declared myself the thunker in chief over Brigitte’s samples, by volume, haha. Finally got around to watching Bohemian Rhapsody last night with his nibs. Cracked open the wine – turned the speakers up loud – sat back and enjoyed tremendously, though I think they straightwashed Freddie a bit. Rami was very good in the role. And Jamie from Shameless popped up as Jim, wohoo, I have a bit of a crush on him. We got all carried away after the film and watched music vids and had a good singsong until silly o’clock. Was daylight going to bed. Am going off to meet friends soon, going for a spin on their boat for a while. Have my winter padded coat at the ready. It’s like October here today, and the cheese and crackers and wine and grapes are ready for off too! No work for a few days for me so I can be as bold as I want. Yippee.
    Have continued good fun with cheeky chops Jin.


  6. Besides having travel envy? I’ve been up to some Perfume Math. First, I did a side-by-side comparison of Puredistance Antonia and Mugler Supra Floral and figured they’re both in the broad category of Expensive, Pretty Floral. Next, I compared prices and my, isn’t Mugler cheap in comparison! Third, I had some department store points. Result: now I have a bottle of Supra Floral, after first thinking it was too much of an indulgence. Viva Perfume Math!


  7. Fake Montales, hahahha. The fakes from Russia, former Russian states, Eastern Europe, and now even Italy have ruined the ebay niche shopping for me because some the buyers get fake and then put on them for sale so you cannot even list local sellers in the US now.


  8. What a fantastic adventure! How fortunate that you travel well together, by now my husband and I would be on separate trains! Looking forward to more posts and pictures. I have a wee bit of the Mongolian dna myself and love to read about this area of the world. I did nothing much this week other than put in time at the office, cook, and soak up some sun in my highly fragrant yard (I have 8 varieties of lilacs along a 500 feet fence). Btw, all your gym work is paying off, you two look are looking great!


    • Hey otamum,
      Thanks. Yeah, Jin and I are 97% travel compatible. About 3% of the time, or less, we find ourselves not in sync. Rarely does it escalate into all out brawling, much more low key grumbling and misunderstanding.
      Mongolia is freaking awesome. I’d go back in a flash.
      O M G ! You have the lilac story covered. it must be absolutely glorious. Lucky you.
      Astonishingly I lost a few KGs on holiday. Happy dance.
      Portia xx


  9. Travel envy here for sure. It looks like you have had some excellent hiking. And then the Mongol costumes and the yaks! So exotic! It must have been fun meeting the locals.

    Finally I could take off the giant brace after my foot surgery, but after two days of stepping on a very swollen foot, I had to put the brace back on again to avoid too much pain. A visit from a friend brightened the gloomy day and things really look better now, no worries! Being able to go back to daily showers also helps 😂..

    And my hairdresser volunteered to come to my home and give me a proper haircut! That’s a real bonus after sticking to the same hairdresser for around twenty years, she’s also really good at cutting my thick hair. So I feel more back to my old self, except I need to drop some weight. Had to order tights in size L now in preparation for two weeks of intensive rehabilitation and that is not the size natural to me. I sure don’t have Portia’s willpower, but summer is always the easiest time to diet, so need to give it a serious try.


    • Hey I(ngeborg,
      Getting the brace off, even for a while, is amazing. Excellent news. Glad to read you’re so far along the road to recovery.
      Good luck with the diet, IO found myself eating more than ever while on the initial weight plunge. It felt like I was constantly eating.
      Portia xx


  10. Thanks so much for sharing Portia! What a super time you two are having. Keep having fun and travel safe xx


    • Thanks Melanie.
      It was a VERY super time. We are so lucky, our generous friends made all this possible with our wedding Wishing Well. We could never have had such an adventure without their amazing gifts.
      Portia xx


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