01.08.2013 - 01.08.2013 34 °C
Todays plan was to hire bikes and venture further afield than we did yesterday on foot. We awoke rather later than planned and got downstairs for the last ten minutes of breakfast. We sorted out our onward travel to Hoi An tomorrow and hired the bikes for the day, It was around 11am by the time we got out and the sun was scorching.
We decided to cycle along the river and take in some of the scenery. First we had to navigate the horrific roads and traffic on Vietnam. After our original assumption that there was no traffic lights, we now know that everyone just ignores them. It was treacherous cycling through junctions and the we took the first chance we had to get off the road and cycle through a small park that runs along the riverside. The park is small but is well kept and is full of sculptures, it was a welcome relief from the traffic and a beautiful setting. We pulled up and sat on a bench for a while looking over the river. On the river they have swan peddleos and small places to drink and eat. The park is really nice.
Eventually the park ran out and we had to re join the road. We followed it around past the train station to the other side of town from where we are staying. We crossed the river at the next available bridge and headed towards the citadel we were sightseeing yesterday. We entered the walls of the citadel at the main entrance which we missed yesterday, here the walls are thick and there is a huge Vietnamese flag flying high, on the opposite side of the wall is a large paved square overlooking the entrance to the forbidden city,
Having seen the forbidden city yesterday we made the most of the bikes and explored the top of the citadel. It is very picturesque inside the walls of the citadel, there is more greenery, less traffic, the roads are narrower and the populated areas are made up of nice old style houses with shutters and shop fronts. We cycled for a good while following the walls along the west side until we found the entrance which we used yesterday. By this point we were beginning to feel the effects of the sun so exited the citadel and called for a drink.
Refuelled we headed back to our side of the river, again navigating the traffic and cycled around the touristy area which is full of bars and restaurants. Only a couple of streets, the tourist area is a nice place to grab a drink at night but it in the day there are much nicer places to see. We only headed there to visit a book exchange of the local hostel as we have been carrying around the same books for far too long. Book exchanges have just been impossible come by. We had another drink in the hostel before heading back to our guesthouse.
In the evening we headed back to the river and a night market that we stumbled across yesterday. Apart from very pushy stall owners we had an amazing meal yesterday so decided to go back and try a different stall. Along the river front seafood street food stalls selling meals. Yesterday we sat and watched a beautiful pink sunset over the river and enjoyed some squid.
Today we had an amazing seafood meal, clams in lemongrass soup, morning glory in garlic, rice and BBQ mackerel that came with the added bonus of rice pancakes, greens and a spicy dip. It was one of the best meals we have had, in Vietnam, maybe in Asia, although we have had a lot of good food and the setting is just lovely.
Following the meal we made our way back to out favourite happy hour bar for buy one get one free giant beers. We had a couple apiece before slowly making our way back as we have an early start in the morning.
We have a bus to Hoi An in the morning at 8am. It is a place we have been looking forward to since England, we hope to spend a while there, hope to do a cookery course that Liam will actually be able to take park in, maybe visit a beach and carry on to eat the delicious food that Vietnam as offered us so far.