Tuesday, 31 December 2013
The year started with me having my idea for my trip and starting to put everything in place to make it happen. This was an idea i had for a while but I kept pushing it back for the time to be 'right' but realized the time is right when you make it right.
I needed the time off from work and the daily grind in the office, that much I knew but it took me a while to get everything else put in place to make it happen.
Looking back, I am very glad I did as I have learned and experienced a lot during this trip. It has been great to share everything with people through my blog but also with the people I met along the way.
Because of my trip, I feel like 2013 has been a very long year. Time passes different, slower when you travel and things that happened only a short while ago seem far away and almost in a different lifetime, my old job certainly fits in that category.
Things have changed and I have changed quite a lot in a relatively short time for some but for me it felt very long. There are things I would have done different, both before and during the trip but in life this will always be the case if you look back.
What I want to say with my ramblings above is that it's good to follow your ideas and make things happen rather than wait for a better time.
Happy New Year to everyone and make the most out of 2014!!!
Follow your plans and ideas and don't wait for the time to be 'right'.
Maybe as a fitting theme for the end of the year I went to visit the Khai Dinh Tomb. Next to the old tomb there were some new blossoms. In a way for people more poetic than me it might suggest the end or death or the old year and the beginning of the new year.
After visiting the tomb, I went to a nearby pagoda where quite a few people were praying, presumably for changes in the new year.
With this, I will finish my post and say that I hope everyone will get the changes they want and hope for in 2014 but you might have to go out there and make it happen no matter the price.
Have a great year and most important a lot of fun wherever you are and whatever you do.
Monday, 30 December 2013
It was another grey and cold morning with rain looming but thankfully it stayed dry.
Due to the grey weather, I did not stop often to take pictures and since I only really wanted to cover between 70-170km today, I did take it easy.
Getting to Quang Tri was petty quick and after visiting the famous church 'Our Lady of La Vang' there it was a quick drive to Hue to meet friends there and relax in the evening.
I will stay in Hue for New Years and a few extra days to chill and not be on a bike all day.
Sunday, 29 December 2013
The day started with a power outage in the hotel and surrounding area, so I had to find everything in the dark in my windowless room. My bike, not wanting to get left behind, had a similar issue and did not start. Thankfully being in Vietnam the next bike repair shop is never more than a few meters away.
What was even better, there was a coffee shop right next to the bike garage. Well, not everything was as good as I had to get the battery replaced and while at it decided to also get the aging chain replaced on the bike since it made clicking noises after it got hot. Guess a bike that says 'City Fashion Cruiser' on it, is not really meant for very long journeys and off-road driving but it handled everything without complaining so far.
After getting everything fixed and enjoying the coffee it was already a bit later than I would have liked it but due to it being Sunday traffic as light so I made fast progress. So fast indeed that I decided to stop and have some brunch and stop a few times for pictures.
The destination for today was Dong Hoi and I got within 50km of it very early. This is why a detour to the Phone Na-Ke Bang National Park to see one of the caves there seemed like a great option.
There are quite a few different caves and I just picked the first along the way, the Paradise Cave or Thien Duong cave. As usual in some places here the parking is miles away from the cave entrance to get you to pay for the overpriced electric shuttle. I decided to walk instead as I had enough time.
What I did not actually realize is that with all my taking it easy and not looking at the time, it already got 17:00 and the cave was about to close. I was only halfway through so had to rush parts of it to see everything before they would turn the lights off.
Being after 17:00 also meant it would get dark soon and the detour to the cave now meant the 50km to Dong Hoi from earlier were now over 70km.
Still, the roads were pretty empty at this time and with some fast driving I made it to Dong Hoi in just over 1 hour and managed to find a guest house, too.
After having dinner, unfortunately without some Bia Hoi, I went to check out the Honda event with some live music and saw one of the Vietnam Idol singers performing.
Overall, it was a good day despite the start of it costing me a bit of extra time and money. Tomorrow's drive will be down to Quang Tri or Hue depending on time and what there is to see along the way.
Saturday, 28 December 2013
Today was mostly about Ho Chi Minh, it started with driving past the Ho Chi Minh Square in Vinh on my way to see Ho Chi Minh's parents' villages and where he grew up and his mother's grave in the mountain nearby.
It was a grey and quite chilly day so not the best for photography but the villages were all quite nice and it was interesting to see the places Ho Chi Minh grew up in before his family moved to Hue.
The landscape around the towns is also quite interesting very rural, on a nice day in the summer it should be nice with the fields all being green.
After visiting the villages it was heading to the Ho Chi Minh road to head further south, before deciding to make a slight detour and stop off in Ha Tinh for the night.
Ha Tinh is a small place and does not have anything really interesting to see but it was the biggest place nearby so seemed like the best option to spend the night despite the 30km detour.
Friday, 27 December 2013
After enjoying a bit the view of the sea from the balcony of my hotel room and having a relaxed coffee, I set out with a modest goal of covering just over 60km from Sam Son via Ben En National Park to Thai Hoa.
It was a very nice and sunny day so I took my time on the roads and enjoyed the views.
The roads were decent enough, just some portions were pretty bad or more dirt tracks than roads.
Ben En National Park was just a quick stop to enjoy the view of the lake before continuing on.
Once I got back on to the Ho Chi Minh Road, I still had plenty of time so stopped off for coffee and relaxed a bit.
Even after taking m time and taking it easy, I still had plenty of daylight left so decided to head back to the coast to Cua Lo near Vinh since it seemed close enough.
Unfortunately the way there lead me back on the hated AH1 road, although for a quick an short porting only. After turning off the AH1 road towards the coast road at Dien Thanh, it was a great drive on a very cool and empty road along the coast and through some cool little villages. I enjoyed the way so much and kept taking it easy that it soon got dark so the view was a bit restricted but it was still fun.
I kind of only wished I could have driven along this road by daylight to enjoy more of the views and see more of the villages but maybe I can double back on this.
Still, it was a good day for my road trip as I made it twice as far as planned despite taking it easy most of the day.