CONTENT WARNING: This post contains a detailed account of a man taking a shit on a tile. If you are sensitive to toilet humour, this post may not be for you. You have been warned. Continue reading
Next day the road took us up to Quan Ba. We ate a late lunch and found out from the locals more of the road ahead. From the map it looked like a very steep twisting route. Our thoughts were confirmed and we were advised to stay the night. The journey on a moto would take six hours. We checked in to the most luxurious suite so far. A twin double with a huge window, balcony and a cracking view across the valley. It was a treat to be off the bike so early so I took a shower and set out to explore the town on foot.
Travelling the North of Vietnam by motorbike is a big deal. It’s a very cool thing to do. Talk to any backpacker, traveller or vagabond worth their salt and they’ll tell you it’s the way to see the North of this beautiful country. The only way, even. Understandably then, when I set out from Mountain View Hostel with my fully laden touring bicycle, eyebrows were raised.
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.
Late on Wednesday afternoon of the twenty eighth of July, at Noi Bai International Airport, there was a large cardboard box, crumpled and open along one edge with bits of sticky tape torn and ripped protruding in all directions. My bike had arrived safely from Istanbul. Thank you Qatar Airways.
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.
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. Continue reading
Leaving Tirana I headed once again for the coast; the lure of simple navigation, keeping the ocean to the right hand side, the relative ease of camping on the beach; the guarantee of a swim morning, noon and evening and the promise of boundless sunsets made for an easy choice.
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.
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