Our cycling adventure continues. We are currently on the road heading to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon), mostly passing by small town and villages where it is difficult to find Wi-Fi. Therefore, we are not able to upload all the blog notes and travel tips on regular basis. Here is the summary of the past few days from Ninh Binh up to now.
Last days in Ninh Binh
After visiting Tam Coc we didn’t do much apart from blogging, facebooking, tweeting and having a bike ride around the city. Thus, there are not many interesting stories to tell, however we met a lovely Dutch-Swiss couple- Adri and Sanne, travelers who quit their jobs to travel the world (check their blogs out from Japan, South Korea, Cambodia and more at andriandsanne.wordpress.com).
They have been traveling Asia for the past 3 months and planning to carry on for another 5-6 months (we bet it’s gonna be more!).We met in a cafe as there was no electricity around a certain part of the town. We quickly found so many subjects in common to talk about, mainly sharing our travel experience and funny stories which happened to us while being on the road.
Believe me or not, but we talked for ages. It is always so nice to bump into people who have the same travel aspiration, who understand you with no words and have felt and experienced what you have.
On the last night we went out to a restaurant to grab some beer and chat. We had a lovely time!
The hotel we stayed in Ninh Binh (Kieu Anh Hotel) had amazingly hospitable staff and we made friends with the receptionist who was so interested in our cycling trying to give us some advice regarding places we shouldn’t miss when passing by them. If you ever travel in Ninh Binh, hit this place definitely worth its reasonable price.
Getting back to constant cycling
We decided to cycle constantly until we get to Saigon (maybe stopping in some nice places we find for a day or two). The reason being, we have been in Vietnam for 27 days but we were still in Hanoi area! That’s such a madness. There are still about 1300 km from Ho Chi Minh City so we were afraid of not having enough time to do it within our 3-month Visa.
We set off early in the morning (6-7 am) and bike till 9-10 pm. For the past two days the weather was great- not much sunny, mostly windy so we are able to cycling more than 80 km per day. Our next longer stop will be Hue- historic monuments, which have earned it a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. We can’t wait!
For now we are passing by some small towns and villages and eating a lot of local food.
We see Vietnamese people work in a field. We pass by some adorable kids screaming “Hello!” to us and running like crazy in our direction and some locals who always want to sell something to us (from fruits to even carpets and kitchen equipment like we needed it :).
The cycling nowadays is very nice. There are definitely more ups than downs than before but the nice weather makes it all pleasant.
After leaving Ninh Binh we did 180 km within 3 days. We cycle on average 10 km per hour, having 10 minute breaks after 1 hour and 30 minute breaks every 2 hours to have some food drinking gallons of water every day.
We also noticed that some Vietnamese try to use us for their own benefits. For example, we stopped for a lunch in a restaurant where we wanted to grab some rice. We had our food already prepared but we wanted to buy some rice to have it with. We were warmly welcomed by one elder gentleman who spoke German very well. We sat down at the table and ordered a bowl of rice. The guy was very pushy saying we should eat some more food as rice is not enough. We said “No thanks. We just want a bowl of rice. That’s it”. He was sitting at our table telling us his life stories from Germany. We were not too interested, because we are rather tired from cycling. His mouth didn’t shut even for a second. After 10 minutes the waitress brought a bowl of rice, a plate of fried egg omelette and shellfish soup. We didn’t order it at all but the guy really insisted. When we finished eating he asked us to take some photos with his daughter. All restaurant guests were looking at us and his daughter who was over the moon (she just made friends with foreigners). The guy wanted us to stay longer, but we refused. In the end, we were asked to pay the bill which included all the food we were served for the price at least twice higher than Vietnamese would pay. It made us so angry. We took the bikes and just left with no comments!
Biking is fantastic. Every day something new happens. Once, we found a cute puppy by the tree where we stopped and had a great time feeding him some sausages and playing with him like kids! Unfortunately, we couldn’t take him with us but this dog simply stole my heart!
The other time we found a wooden swing at the restaurant we had a lunch in. For me it was like back to my childhood- so awesome. I spent there hours swinging all the time.
Beach! Beach! Beach!
It was unbelievable but after few days riding we got to the seaside in Cua Lo. Going swimming was a great award for the our effort and hard work (more photos in the next blog entry).