11 photos from Meo Vac Market

On the 23rd August we visited Meo Vac market as part of our trip around north Vietnam by bike. The market is held on a Sunday and is one of the biggest in the region. Here’s eleven of my favourites from the day.

 vietnamese man at sewing machine 1. A Vietnamese man sits at his sewing machine watching the world go by. 

 black dao tribes woman takes a call 2. A black Dao tribes woman makes a call. 

 young girl throwing rice 3. A young girl throws out some rice. 

 water boiling on wood fire4. A pot bubbles on a wood fire.

 colourful scene in the mountains5. A colourful scene high up in the mountains.

 produce for sale at meo vac market6. Produce for sale.

  7. Fried stuff. 

 ladies taking  lunch at meo vac market8. Ladies that lunch. 

 women sewing at meo vac market 9. Preparing yarn by hand.

 pigs head on chopping block10. On the block. 

 a traveler takes lunch at meo vac market 11. A traveler takes lunch

Cycling to Sa Pa

I set forth from Ha Noi with more than a little trepidation. Admittedly, the experience of the last 4,554km cycling from London to Istanbul would serve me well in the next stage of my journey, however the idea of entering a wholly new terrain, culture and continent weighed heavy on my mind.

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London to Istanbul – stage one

Greetings from Hanoi!

You may well l ask how the heck did I get from London to Vietnam so quickly? Allow me to explain. After 56 days, 5 hours and 27 minutes in the saddle, 357 litres of water and 124 bowls of pasta I arrived in Istanbul. For those of you interested in statistics, here’s a few for you; I’ve cycled 4,554km crossed eleven countries and it’s taken 70 days including 14 rest days, some of which were leisurely, some more city break. I’m seven kilos lighter, two inches taller and I’ve grown a beard.

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In praise of… Gifting

Five weeks ago in a sleepy Greek town just outside Thessaloniki a guy gestured me over to his white van. “Wo kommst du?” Says he, holding out his hand to be shaken. England, says I, shaking the proffered mitt. “Have a coffee on me” he urged, driving off hurriedly. I step back to the pavement to find a neatly folded 20 euro note in my palm. Generous thinks I, very generous. 

Set against the context of the looming economic crisis and the yet be voted on referendum; this was a rare act of kindness made all the more poignant since a Greek bank will issue only 50 euro cash each day, causing long queues and minor inconvenience to account holders across the nation. 

Obviously this was a very happy moment; as was the eating of the cake and icecream I purchased with the cash. If you have the chance sometime to give a little, do it, you’ll make someone’s day.



Letter from Albania

It was three o’clock in the after noon when Alan and I crossed the border at Koptik to pass from Montenegro to Albania. We had just cycled what I believe to be the finest road since departing the UK. After a relaxed lunch on the beach at Petrovac we began a two and a half hour ascent from the coast into the clouds of the searing hot mountainside.

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Making hay while the sun shines

Having crossed the Alps in some pretty cold weather Kyle and I agreed to spend a few days at Lake Bled to rest our legs and enjoy the scenery. Slovenia is a very beautiful country and Lake Bled is the centre of attention, popular with tourists from across the globe. We arrived on Friday evening to a busy lake and expensive campsite. Chatting with a few folks on the grass down by the water we learned that the hostel over in town would cost less and provide much more. So with our new friends Lauren and Kendall we set off to check in at the Castle 1004 hostel. Continue reading

Into the clouds

Living with the weather is as much a part of the challenge as any other aspect of a world cycle. Your waking hours are spent in it, your movements can be determenined by it and your sleep can be disturbed by it. The weather is your everything. Obvious as this may sound, the last few days have been a stark reminder that on a long trip you really need to be prepared for the worst and ready for anything.

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In praise of… Cycle Touring Festival

The first ever Cycle Touring Festival took place at Waddow Hall in Clitheroe, Lancashire on May 1 – 3. Organised by , with a bit of help from husband , the event was designed to celebrate all things cycle touring. During the weekend there were talks by recently returned cyclists such as the lovely who specialise in Peru and the Puna in South America. There were various workshops with Q&A sessions including my particular fave Yoga for Cyclists. All this was interspersed with plenty of tea and cake, set in a beautiful part of Lancashire.The first ever Cycle Touring Festival took place at Waddow Hall in Clitheroe, Lancashire on May 1 – 3. Continue reading