While being on the food tour the evening before I had met another Austrian on the road. We bonded over the shared citizenship but not much more. Still it was nice to speak German again and when he told me about the guided tour he was doing the next day, I was all for it and signed up as well.
We were picked up around 8:30 and off we went into the crazy traffic to go 150 km south to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th century.
Not only did I want to go sight-seeing, I sought to escape the city heat as well. But it was completely in the wrong direction. For that I would have needed to stay in the hotel room. There was just no escape from the heat.
In the air-conditioned car we made our way slowly south and when we got out at Hoa Lu I was immediately perspiring again. The heat was unbearable. We made our way over a bridge and followed our guide around. There was really not so much to see.
Back in the car it took a couple of minutes to feel like a human being again. I really don’t like AC because mostly I get a cold from it, but without one there would have been no existing on that day. Funnily enough we then went to our lunch stop and since the restaurant was reasonably cool I could eat some lunch (which was ok; so far on tours lunch in Vietnam has disappointed me).
After lunch there was a boat ride along a river very similar to what I have seen in Yangshuo. We walked over to the boat and saw rice all over the port. So this is the way how it is dried. Very interesting.
Then we got on the little boats, always two by two. I was paired with the Austrian guy who had even managed to bring an umbrella with him on this trip which turned out to be quite lifesaving. I sat with a long sleeved shirt on the boat not to get burned up completely.
The Austrian btw used the umbrella to creep nearer and nearer until I had to tell him that my thoughts in this heat couldn’t be further from being touched and he should keep his hands to his side. Didn’t really help a lot but I think he got the message. Awful behavior when you think about it, especially since he was married. His wife never got mentioned though and later on was only referred to in passing. One can only wish for a husband like this.
Our rower was a little woman and here on this river everyone rowed with their feet! An astonishing feat!
The boat tour took at least 90 minutes or so and we crossed through a couple of caves which was alway nice to get some shade. Even the goats stayed in the shade.
It looked all very peaceful and scenic, but most of all it was hot. And my clothes were wet when we finally made it back on land. In the afternoon there should have been a short bike ride and while on the van I had been all for it. But once back from the boat ride I couldn’t imagine going outside on a bicycle again. Actually nobody else could so the bicycling was canceled and we went back to town again after having a cold drink.
For dinner the Austrian and I (I knew how to keep my distance) went to the best Pho place in town. It had rained shortly before in one short torrential burst and the air felt a lot better after it. Maybe that was why the soup tasted so delicious? Yours, Pollybert