So my flight from Hanoi to Istanbul was delayed even more. I think in the end it was something more than 3 hours. We got a free lunch at the airport. From the menu provided to us, there were just 3 meals left to order: spaghetti, rice or sandwich. I was happy with rice.
With the normal duration of the flight to Istanbul and the delay, I would have missed my flight to Frankfurt from Istanbul. Luckily they manage to fly the planes quicker when they are delayed. I arrived just in time to get off my plane, run (quick walking) through security again and over the whole airport to get to the gate of my flight to Frankfurt, which was already on last call… Really not a lot of time…
So my flight to Frankfurt was empty, I simply could run around and choose a random seat, I even could get 4 seats in a row to lie down and sleep, but I choose two seats next to a window 😀
When going down in Frankfurt the multimedia system stopped working and it began to “snow”.
Arrived at the luggage claims my worries became reality… I was able to get from one plain to the next in Istanbul, my luggage wasn’t… Yes, my bike an panniers are stranded somewhere between Istanbul and Frankfurt. The guy at the luggage lost desk couldn’t explain to me, why my luggage wasn’t there, so I explained him everything with the delay. Now they will send me my luggage as soon as they have it. Luxair (a Luxembourgish airline they work together with Turkish Airlines, with whom I was flying today) called me this evening, but I missed the call and the hotline just tells me to call them back during working hours. They called me not during their working hours but later… My luggage will arrive eventually (hopefully).
My father arrived just in time at the airport to pick me up, just 3 minutes before I arrived (without my luggage). We drove back to Luxembourg.
Arrived at home, all the stuff from the last 3 month were waiting in my room. Some bills, a Christmas present and my box I send from Nepal:D
Will this be my last post of this travel? No, there is still a big draft waiting to be published about how to blog while traveling, there is still some stuff missing or not well written. And at least one other post about the whole trip, what I liked, what I disliked, what I learned and lots more, but not today, probably in some days 😀
Today is the day. I am coming home,but it’s a long journey of in total 18:46 hours.
But the day didn’t start with going to the airport as the flight was planed to leave at 21:55. So we started the day with a massage at the only place in Vietnam where massage therapists are trained😀 with sauna, jacuzzi and a very good massage.
In the afternoon I then started packing my stuff and relaxed a little bit more.
At 6 we then took the taxi. My boxed bicycle, luggage, Charel, Gemma and me😀
Again lots of spare time in case of trouble with Hanoi traffic or checking in my bicycle. Traffic wasn’t as bad as expected. Sadly in the taxi then came the bad news: my flight has 70 minutes delay…
Me in the waiting line for check-in
Of course Turkish Airlines doesn’t take my bicycle for free… they wanted 91€ from me… But as we are in Vietnam, I had to pay in Vietnamese Dong. The calculation from € to Dong was professional: guy checked the current rates on his phone via google search and clicked on the first link he found… I checked it myself too, just to be sure.
Now I am waiting in the airport until my delayed flight starts at 23:50, because the delay got bigger.
The delay is no problem for me, this plane only brings me to Istanbul, where I would have had 3 hours waiting time for the next flight, so as long as the delay doesn’t go over 3 hours, everything is okay. But soon I can start looking for getting money back for delay from turkish airlines 😀
I did a post for multiple days, as I didn’t want to spend every evening with writing this blog, as my daily routine changed a little bit. There is no cycling anymore, from which I want to rest in the evening, while this resting I always wrote my blog. We (My brother Charel, his girlfriend Gemma and me) always did stuff together with friends in the city, and we arrive late at Gemma’s parent’s home and went to bed, to get up in the morning, so I didn’t have the time and enthusiasm to write my blog every day. Instead I wrote all the time a little bit and it ended up in this post and another post about how to blog while traveling, which will be published later.
Hanoi is a wonderful city, lots of nice places, lots of tourists and so on. I especially like all the different kind of foods. They do amazing different things with rice, and it always tastes different. Also different kind of meats. I am amazed 😀 You get this food on every corner and even sometimes there are places where you must have a local, as otherwise you will not find these places to eat. There was one place with (we called it that way) grilled banana leave meat, where there are people from the restaurant on the street stopping you to get to eat at their restaurant, funny part was, they only stopped Vietnamese people, no foreigners (as far as my/our observations went).
Hanoi is also the home of President Ho Chi Minh. One can see his dead body in the mausoleum here and visit the place where he lived in his last years. The museum about him looked nice, but I was not that amazed by it.
As Hanoi was often used as capital, there were multiple citadels build on top of each other. Funny story: When they wanted to build the new parliament few years back, they found remaining of the old citadels, so they started an archeology expedition and moved the construction site of the parliament a little bit down the street.
While I was in Hanoi there was also tet happened. Tet is the Vietnamese new year, which follows the moon calendar. We celebrated it with the family of Gemma by having meals with the family and exchanging red envelopes. On new year you give red envelopes with money in it to loved ones, who are younger than you. (I liked that concept while being one of the youngest :D). I expected a big firework, but private firecrackers and firework is forbidden and the one by the city was small out of respect for the people who suffered in the floods in October and December in the country and to donate the money to that areas.
As I take my bicycle again with me back home, I had to find a carton box again. It ended up in a funny story. The first shop had already cleaned up the shop for new year, so no single box left… Then we called a shop and they had one. The next day, we went there, bought the box for 110.000 Vietnamese dong (5 $). That one we stored at Gemma’s aunt’s house as it was far to get to Gemma’s parent’s house. We stored it outside next to a street shop the aunt knows. I trusted them. In the evening the shop and the box was gone. Probably the trash collectors took it, as it looked like trash. A little bit of panic by the other people, I was just like “calm down, there is still plenty of time to find one tomorrow”. We postponed the search to the next day and went eating something with a friend of Gemma. Gemma told the story of the box. The friend happened to know a guy owning a bicycle shop and he organised us the same evening another box. That guy then was so happy to help us, so he gave it to me for free 😀 And of course we transported the box Vietnamese style: on the motorbike (sadly I don’t have a picture of that…).
My time here in Hanoi ended with a 2 day trip to Halong Bay. It is a Bay close by Hanoi. One has to take a boat to visit certain spots there. The closest one to the harbour is a cave and a little beach with a temple, so there are so many boats.
But for what Halong Bay is known for are these mountains. As we wanted to visit more further points, with less tourists, we spend one night on a cruise ship.
In the evening, the crew showed us how to make spring rolls. The guy showing it to us (not the cook but the guy right next to me), challenged me in speed rolling. It started normally.
But then HE got physical and tried to push me away and failed. I pushed successfully back, so that he couldn’t reach his spring roll anymore. (Just for the record, he started the fight not me!)
But still we managed to finish at the same time, with me having a very modern, not normal looking spring roll.
We shake hands afterwards and everybody is all right 😀
Where there a hills and water there are also caves. The next morning we got to a place, where we got to rowing boats and explored the area by them. As it was a little bit further away, there were just 3 curse boats, so less tourists 😀
The day ended with us chilling a little bit on the deck. The weather wasn’t sunny or hot, but still okay to lie there.
After a 4 hour ride back to Hanoi, we arrived back in Hanoi and relaxed a little bit more.
Tonight we will go out one last time and I will finish my packing because tomorrow evening I will board a plane to get me home 😀
After a more or less longer evening playing cards, we got up a little bit later than planned, but got on the road quick. With we, I mean Sinéade from Ireland and me on a motorbike.
Our first stop was Trang An. There we had breakfast as we didn’t find a place on the road, it was just 6 km. From there we took a rowing boat to explore caves, lots of caves. Our rower woman gave us paddles and we could paddle too😂 Through the caves we got into different valleys with our boat. We also visited some temples on the way through the valleys.
Yes this is the entrance to a cave, we all had to put our head down to not hit the roof, just the Vietnamese kid on our boat was amazed with the hands up in the air😂
closer to the entrance
Sadly I was unable to take a good picture inside the cave due to less light, this is everything I got, one light.
The caves weren’t that long, after 100 to 300 meters we always reached an exit.
It was a round trip, so we never took the same cave again, we also exited the caves at a different opening than we entered.
Our rower, really strong, she was rowing the whole time. we, the passengers, took lots of breaks.
A boat going into a cave
Arrived at a temple we got off the boat and walked around a little bit
Back at the station where we started. They have enough boats there to ship a whole army😂 The are lots of boats at the other side of the lake (as one can see) and that it continued like that😂
It was a long boat ride, we arrived for lunch and wanted to visit two more places on our map. On the way to an ancient capital of Vietnam, we didn’t knew the way and we found a tourist with a Vietnamese friend on their motorbike and they were looking for the third place on our map, the biggest pagoda of asia or south-east asia (I don’t know, it is big). So we decided to follow them as they could always could ask for the way😁 We decided to visit the ancient capital later.
The pagoda was not the only thing to see there. There were also big statues. To get to the big pagoda we had to walk up some stairs. But the statues were great, there were different once at different levels. The higher we got the bigger the statues got or the more there were. The second last one was big and on the last level there were 3 of the big once from the level before.
They had a really big bell there
The first impressive statue.
The big pagoda (no we didn’t climb to the top, I don’t even know if that is possible).
The next big statue.
One hall where the statues are inside
Inside that hall (the biggest one on top), were three big statues like this one.
This is Sinéda with me😀
Returned to the bike we went to the ancient capital. I was not really impressed by it and I didn’t took any pictures. But I don’t say that it wasn’t nice.
For the way back, Sinéda wanted to ride as I was riding the whole day. So she was riding for the first time in a long time. She was pretty good, expect sometimes in the curves, but I am not the easiest one as passenger because of my height and weight😂
Arrived back at Ninh Bình we had dinner and then she took the night bus to get to Dong Hoi to visit Phong Nha caves, which I did some days ago😂
Tomorrow I will do my final kilometers till Hà Nội😀
This morning I remembered to take a picture of the baguettes they sell here. I had two, as two are not even enough for me😂 There is some meat, vegetables and sauces on it, sometimes also an egg.
At 7:45 exactly the van showed up in front of my hotel and picked me up for the tour. I was the first one. We picked up several more people so that the van was full to get to Phong Nha, the village from where one can discover different caves. Over half of the people in the bus were german speaking😂
Arrived in the village we went directly to the first of two caves to visit. The paradise cave. It is the “biggest” dry cave in the world. The quotes are because the word “big” can have many definitions😂 Like the longest, the widest, the highest, the… cave in the world. Let’s just say, it was big and huge and beautiful. A dry cave means, there is no Water like a river inside. But to get there we had to take electronic golf cars and then walk up 500 meters 😯 (To walk down again inside the cave 😂). As we were early there was nearly nobody inside the cave. The first kilometer is prepared with a walk with fence mad out of wood and everything is lit up by spots. And the end of the walk was how far we were allowed to go. By requesting an adventure tour I could have gone more inside, but that would have cost more money and more time. Notice that the pictures are not always sharp and clear as the was not so much light and I had to play a little bit with the settings of my camera to get acceptable shutter time, as I don’t have a tripod on me (next time I will take a GorillaPod with me) and I used the fence to place my camera.
After exiting the cave through the same entrance we waited for everybody to come out and returned to the van.
We all had lunch together at a restaurant and I had some nice discussions with 3 germans, one guy from Sweden and a woman from Japan living in Canada.
After lunch we went to the second cave. The Phong Nha Cave. This one is the “longest” wet cave of Asia (I think). Again the word “longest” can have many interpretations. A wet cave is a cave with a river, so we just took a boat and entered the cave with a boat. The boat took us one kilometer inside the cave and let us out there at a beautiful beach inside the cave. From there we walked again till the exit of the cave where the boat waited on us to take us back to the van. Again there was less light which makes a pictures not the greatest.
To show the size of that thing, here I picture with a woman at the bottom
The exit, which is the exit from inside😂
Arrived back in Dong Hoi, everybody got brought back to his hotel. I rested a little bit in my room, went out for a walk and dinner and am now back in my room. I forgot to make a video about the colorful lighted bridge in Đà Nẵng, so I did one here. It is not so amazing than the one in Đà Nẵng, but it’s still very nice.
After complaining everyday about the weather: Today the weather was nice, a little bit of blue sky between lots of clouds and only a little bit of rain in the afternoon☺️ Hopefully it will stay like this till I am in Hà Nội. It will probably take me 4 to 5 days to get there, depending on how fit I feel and so how far I can go oer day. This will be the only thing I will do the next few days, cycling, cycling, cycling. ☺️
So a day at Hue. In the morning it wasn’t raining. I walked around and went to a place where locals ate breakfast. I pointed at some food of people at another table, something with meat and these french baguette they have here. The guy went away, a second guy came and asked “omelet or scrambled eggs” and I said omelet. I thought it would be combined with the meat. No I just got a baguette with omelet.
I continued walking through the city and got a second baguette at a street vendor. This time there was omelet, meat, vegetables, some more unidentified stuff and sauces. Really great. Continue walking around to get some coffee.
All the time people say “hi” to me to either offer me a motorbike ride or to get me to eat at their restaurant…
Around 10 o’clock I decided to visit the old citadel of the last dynasty of Vietnam (beginning from something with 18xx till 1945). It is a nice place, sadly a lot is destroyed due to two wars (I think it were two wars). A nice cheap animation movie explained me a little bit about it, so I didn’t need a guide to get at least some information.
At 1 o’clock in the afternoon it then started to rain. As I left my raincoat at the hotel, I had to get back there.
Arrived there it started to heavily rain and I didn’t want to go outside anymore, because my further plan was to rent a motorbike and visit some places 10 km away from the city center and I didn’t want to drive in the rain. So I spend the afternoon in my bed sleeping, reading stuff on the Internet and watching stuff on YouTube😂
In the evening (yes, it was and is still raining) I went out for some dinner and to walk a little bit more through the city through a rainy night.
Tomorrow I will continue cycling in the rain (as war as the weather forecast is correct). I intended to do an extraordinary distance of 164 km in one day as it is flat and I would reach another city where I would take another day of to visit a national park, but because of the weather, I split it up into two days of unknown distance😂
I saw this toilet today and I thought they had misplaced the sign… I don’t know
ohh about the title, I really had problems with the pavement here because it was wet. I nearly fell 3 times and started then to walk more carefully. It is possible that just I have these problems because of my medal plates underneath my shoes to fix my shoes to my pedals while cycling.
With this I also want to present my shoes:
My cycling shoes are the best. They have SPD, which is a system fix the shoes with the pedals. Great grip for hiking. I used them to hike up to Annapurna Base Camp, therefore I took of the metal plates of the SPD system. And now finally the last feature cam in handy too. They are GoreTex, so waterproof. Until now I never had cold or wet feed in these😀 The only thing I hate about them is getting them on and off. As they have normal shoelaces to close it but also some velcro fastener, so that the Loops of the node do not get into the chain or somewhere else. It’s a perfect solution for the problem but annoying when putting them on or taking them off.
My flip-flops, what is there big to say, when the weather is okay (not like today) I wear them, so that my feet can breath, but because I always wear my shoes with socks while cycling, my feet are white and my legs are brown, it looks a little bit funny. But I can’t walk for a whole day in flip-flops as my feet hurt then so much…
After (for me) double portion breakfast, we decided to visit the mountain resort called “Bah Nah Hill”. It is close to Đà Nẵng. Arrived at the bottom we got some tickets for the cable car. Everything is built for long queues, but there are no people to queue 😂
We had to take two cable cars to get to the top. There they tried to rebuild some castles and build up a little resort there in french style. Behind that one there was a little temple. When some clouds placed everything in fog, we decided to go down again.
The good eye can see: I have two cameras, one belongs to Banh and she took this picture with her phone 😂
Banh had a selfi stick with her, from that moment on, she took a million selfies😂
We decided to visit a pagoda at a half island of Đà Nẵng. Before we arrived there, we visited a colorful Buddhist temple we saw on the road. It started to blow heavily and I sometimes had to slow down because of tge wind 🍃.
Because of the wind, somebody got a little bit cold and I gave her my buff and my orange long shirt, which I had packed for the day trip.
After the temple we then went to the Pagida, where we also saw the sunset behind Đà Nẵng.
At 8:30 in the evening Banh had to take the bus back to Kon Tum. I returned the motorbike, got a bed in the hostel I stayed in one day ago. I git into the same room but the lower bed😀
The rest of the evening I spend with repacking my stuff and writing the two blog posts (as I didn’t write one yesterday).
So who is Banh? She is a tourist guide from Kon Tum, who decided to join me in visiting Hoi An. How do I know her? She is a friend of a girl I met in Kon Tum and we were all spending a nice evening together with some more French people (read it here). If you want to travel to Kon Tum, I can give you her contact☺️
Tomorrow I will cycle to Hue, where I again will stay one day.
The day started early at 5 o’clock. Banh arrived with the night bus and I took the motorbike to pick her up. We decided to get immediately on the road to Đà Nẵng. It is just a one hour ride with the car. As I am not that quick on the motorbike it took us a little bit longer. We also stopped at some rocks, called “Ngu Hanh Son”, on the way, where there is a temple inside. It was nice, as nobody was there.
A picture of Banh, me and a Buddha
Arriving in Hoi An we got breakfast at a place of a friend of Banh. He then showed us a nice guesthouse. We left our stuff there, Banh took a little nap of half an hour. Then we took of to get to “My So” some more ancient temples.
After the temples we drove back to Hoi An. As we had to pay for the ancient town, we decided not to go there. We went to chill at the beach, where we stayed till the evening. We also had dinner at the beach. I didn’t took any pictures… Just a picture from Banh’s phone.
It was so nice to have a person with me who speaks Vietnamese, so I just always send her and she then did everything😀
Since I left the beach in Cambodia I was cycling every day. Eventually I got a bad mood while cycling, as Kon Tum seems to be a nice town where I could visit some stuff, I decided to stop here for a day of not cycling. I checked: there was a museum and a wooden church and probably some more stuff to see.
But first: sleep long.At least that was the plan, I already woke up at 5, at 6, at 7, at 8 to get up at 9… But okay more sleep.
I went out found some breakfast and went on the search for the museum. The first place kind of didn’t seems to be museum. The second place: no museum. I gave up, I wasn’t even in the mood to go into a museum. I visited the wooden church and walked around a little bit.
I had lunch and meet up with a local girl. She then showed me where she lives. There we met a friend of her and went to a beautiful bridge. I got to drive the motorbike and they shared the other one😀
For the rest of the day we were sitting at a cafe drinking some juice and talking and taking pictures with the baby. Even more people joined us😀
Tonight I will meet up again with them, we will have dinner and relax more😀
First the rest what happened yesterday. At the ferry I met some more people from the hostel in Phnom Penh but they went to a different beach than I. It was nice to met them again.
The speed boat ferry took one hour but it brought me directly to the beach where Soraya and Andreas were staying. I saw the sunset on the water: AMAZING
At the beach, Soraya welcomed me at the pier and we went to the tens where we got invited in for christmas dinner by the owner.
After the dinner the owner came by our table and told us to change to our swimsuits to see glowing plankton. As I had never planed to swim on my trip I didn’t pack a swimsuit, so I just went into the ocean with my underwear. What I saw then was amazing. The owner turned of the lights of the beach, he went with us into the water and told us to shake our hands inside the water. The plankton, which one can’t see because it’s too small begins to glow as soon as it thinks, it’s being attack (That’s what the owner told us). So now imagine how swimming in the night must feel like, when the water starts to glow green as soon as you start to move. Amazing (again).
After the swimming in the night, we spend some more time in the restaurant playing a game and went to sleep.
Until now it was all what happened yesterday.
I decided to stay a whole day at the beach with Soraya and Andreas, before going back to mainland with the last ferry. Sadly that one left already at 14:30. So I kind of only had half a day at the island, but it was still amazing. We went swimming and walking around the island before I had to leave.
We took one last selfi when I had to leave
Arrived at mainland I collected my bicycle from the ticket office of the ferry, as I was not allowed to take it with me and I didn’t see why I should have taken it with me. I found a hostel and skyped with my family at home as they were all together at one place for christmas😀
Now I am planning my day tomorrow to get to Kampot (100 km).