Total kilometers: 1760km
Total punctures: 2
We are in Hanoi at the moment, and it is fantastic to be able to communicate with people in English and (especially) order food from an English menu. Ohh, the little things...
Over the past four days, we have crossed over the Lao-Vietnamese border and have been cycling through remote North-Western Vietnam from Dien Bien Phu to Tuan Gio.
Although the mountainous topography (and ensuing mountain passes) have continued, the roads are in far better condtion than in Laos. However, apart from the beautiful H'mong women in their traditional dress, the scenery has been far less attractive, compared to the beautiful temperate jungles and crystal-clear rivers of Laos... I think that I really forgot how polluted and dusty Vietnam is!
Having cycled to Tuan Gio, we decided to sit down and take stock of our travel plans for Vietnam and reconcile those with the amount of time we actually have left... As suspected, we were cutting things really fine, and were not leaving enough time to explore the beautiful coast. So, we hatched a plan to fast-track ourselves (and bikes) to Hanoi and continue from there.
Yesterday, we caught a 5am local bus from Tuan Gio to Hanoi (420km) for only $12 each (!!), and 10 hours later we were in Hanoi. Yes, 10 hours! Lucky we are on holiday and in no real rush ; )
So, after navigating insane Hanoi trafffic from the bus station, we managed to find a lovely little guest-house down a quiet alley-way, and have been enjoying civilisation before we head off to Cuc Phong National Park tomorrow morning. We are hoping to leave early and hopefully beat the horrendeous traffic - heading out on a Sunday morning should help too...
We have had a lovely day walking around the Old Quarter and central lake, stocking up on reading books and groceries, and treating ourselves to a delicious breakfast and pizza and beer for lunch. Yum!
We are having a fab time, and looking forward to squeezing the last out of our holiday and catching up with family and friends when we return.
E & V.