6:30AM and I once again find myself up before the sun and getting into a car with a map, and my index cards. I am off to Han Lu, the old capital of Vietnam in the time of Dinh – long time ago. After a 2 and half hour car ride and a coffee stop, I was in Tam Coc not Han Lu – Guess I did not yell and point properly. No issue, as this was the other city I wanted to visit today – Actually I think I had them mixed up the name if you can believe that. I will post a video in my next post or Tam Coc
Tam Coc is typically described as an inland version of tomorrows destination, Halong Bay. As I arrived I could see the Limestone outcropping every ware on the horizon, but this did not prepare me for what I was about to see – I paid to enter the park and hired a boat and that promptly set out for a 2 hour boat ride. I was in the front of a small boat being propelled by a women rowing with her feet down the Ngo Dong River. This was 180 degrees different from my Mekong Delta boat trip. With a little luck I had arrived before all the buses and tourist and other than a few other travelers and the locals working in the rice fields alongside the river, I did not have to share the view. As we went down the river you could see the people working the rice fields and fishing the river. The river does not allow engine, in sharp contrast to the Mekong you only had the water lapping agent the oars, it was actual peaceful. Peaceful not being a word I would expect to use when describing Vietnam. As it was 59 degrees and raining when I left Hanoi, but it had cleared up a little as we drove inland. Unfortunately it still remained hazy with a slight mist that actually only added to the allure. This was the first time I had jeans and a long-sleeved shirt on since I arrived in country. I also had my rain paints and jacked on too – Just like at a soccer game or an afternoon in the Scotland Highlands!
I hope you can begin to see what I did through the enclosed pictures, if I can ever get the damn WiFi to stay connected long enough to load them…
Next up, the Temples – Not much in comparison to last year in Cambodia, but cool and interesting in their own right. The first place was built under an outcropping of rock and the second had a mountain behind it that you could climb 250+ steps and then actually rock climb to the top. You know I had to go to the top! The steps were all covered in mud and slick, it was like walking on ice. I thought I was going down several time on the way up and more on the way down. I strapped everything in my backpack so I would have both hands to help with the assent not that they did much good on the way down. I thought about using the approach John F. and I used when climbing Double Head in NH to get down, simply sit on my ass and slide, as I was already covered in mud it was a viable option. The steps were fun and the actually climb was work, at some point I was on top – what a view. I made it back to the base covered in perspiration, well actually drenched! I stop at a little spot for some water and a coffee, and to change my shirt that was a mess. Ended up having a great time this a local family exchanging stories with 3 generations. At one point the old man who had not teeth offered me a smoke – Checkout the video.
After a few more sites it was back to Hanoi, 3 hours – Stopped at the White House well actually in Vietnam it is the Yellow House and said hi to Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum. Blogged from the room and then off in search of dinner a beer or 3.