From Hue towards Hai Van pass

From Hue towards Hai van pass

It was one of those days I really couldn’t get out of bed. Outside was raining and not at all inviting. While Mirko, Mike and Minsung went to the market to buy breakfast, I stayed in bed and slept some more.
I was completely draind, I felt I could sleep the whole day, but I knew it was time to move on. I had to collect all my energy to drag myself out of bed and take the shower. Just as I had finished the guys came back and brought lots of goodies from the market.
I send SMS to our friend Hoan, who wanted to come for coffee and see us before we left. We had a good breakfast; guava, pomelo, Xoi (sticky rice) this time without the MSG sesame topping and some black tea with cake.
Most of the things I packed the night before so there was not much to do in the morning. We only had to put the things which were still outside in the bags and pack the bikes.
While enjoying the tea and waiting for Hoan, I sang a few songs. It was one of those days when we were all without energy and none of us wanted to go anywhere. Even the weather was not inviting. But we all knew we had to move on.
While the guys were packing the bags Hoan came and I made him coffee. It was so nice to see him again. He told us that he went to sleep late last night and also couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I guess it was one of those lazy days hihihiih.
It stopped raining and it was time to go. We went downstairs, packed the bikes, paid the room for 3 nights (3.000.000 VTD – Vietnam dong) + laundry 25.000 VTD, said goodbye to our friend and started to cycle out of Hue.

Above from left to right: Mike, Mirko, Hoan, Chris and Minsung in front of our Hotel in Hue

It was good that our hotel was not in the center but in the suburbs. So we could go out the way we came in. We turned right at the first small crossroad and bought some fried potatoes while waiting for Chris who was buying bread. We met a guy who spoke very good English, you could tell he was working with tourists, cause he was also very open minded. He loved the idea that we are cycling and asked us if we would mind if he would join us and show us a nice way out of Hue. He was local and knew the area very well.

It is always nice when somebody joins us on our journey.
Six of us left the small road where we met, turned left to the main road and then again right on the first crossroad. The road was under construction so part of it was very broken and muddy because of the rain. But soon it became a very nice, small village road again.
While talking to our new cycling companion we discovered that he works for Mr.Tuan, bicycle tour guide who helped us repair our bikes. We met him last year when we were cycling with Hoa and Nancy. He heard that we were in Hue two days ago.
He also saw us when he was on a tour close to Paradise cave – Phong Na area. He was very impressed with our Korean friend Minsung.

We were cycling through the area of many colorful graveyards. It started to drizzle, so we put on our rain gear and enjoyed the beautiful landscape.

Left and right were big and small Buddhist and Christian graves. Some were very colorful with beautiful engravings. Many of them were quite new, but here and there you could see some very old ones too. Even though the weather was not so great, I really enjoyed this part of the ride.
In the villages we were passing through we saw this cute Hobit like houses made out of hay where they were growing mushrooms. It was only in the area close to Hue.
We reached the crossroad where our new friend had to say goodbye. He joined us for about 10 kilometers, but it was time for him to go and visit his wife and kids. He gave us directions how to continue with our journey so we wouldn’t get lost in this labyrinth of small roads.
After awhile we came to the crossroad where we turned left and continued to the bridge. I was getting tired and we were all very hungry, so we decided to stop in the first possible place.
Soon we reached a bigger and a bit busier road by the sea, where we found a small restaurant with lots of pool tables. We had a short rest there, some tea, bananas and fried sweet potatoes we bought in Hue and then made 10 more kilometers before we stopped for a lunch.
The road was still small but there was much more traffic. Big busses and trucks made cycling on this small, narrow road a bit uncomfortable and tiring and the rain which started to fall made it even worse.
I was very tired and sleepy when I reached the place where we were stopping for lunch. The others didn’t look any better and Mirko was in a very strange mood, so I just kind of ignored him.
We ordered some vegetables, but the lady didn’t really listened and brought us food we didn’t order. The vegetables smelled funny, so I only ate rice with pumpkin oil from Slovenia and can of vegetarian meat fluff we were carrying with us.
We were thirty kilometers away from the busy road N1 which goes all the way from the North to the South of Vietnam. Our plan was to take the small roads we saw on Google maps and avoid N1 as much as possible. But when we crossed the second bridge and came to our crossroad we saw the small road we wanted to take and realized that because of rain it would be very muddy. We asked some people about the road we saw, but they told us that it is a dead end.
I was in no mood to explore and ride in the mud. If the weather was different and I wasn’t so tired I wouldn’t mind, but with all that rain.
We decided to continue towards N1. There were two climbs and hardly any traffic, the road was very narrow but beautiful. When we reached the top of the second climb we could see the end of this quiet road and the beginning of a very busy one, we were trying to avoid until now. But we had no other choice; there was only one road in front of us.

It was getting late and some dark clouds were coming our way. I could see the line of trucks slowly climbing up from far away. I was psychologically preparing for the big monsters as I was getting closer to the crossroad where we joined N1.
The climb looked steeper than it was. There were few steep parts, but mostly it was quite easy. It didn’t take me too long to reach the top where Mirko was waiting for me. The air was full of black smoke coming from the factories in the area and the dark clouds were getting closer. It was very windy at the top and quite dangerous to cycle down with the strong side wind coming from the sea. While descending I was wondering if we will have enough time to find a good spot to hide from the threatening storm which was not far behind.
I saw the guys in front of the hotel. I was quite happy that they found it, because the storm which arrived was quite scary. We had just enough time to bring the bags to the room and hide the bikes.
Strong wind and heavy rain outside made me think how lucky we were to arrive only few minutes before it started. It was raining all night