Back on two wheels

Having ridden more in a week than I have in the past 20 years it’s back in the saddle to enjoy some of the stunning scenery that Nihn Bihn has to offer.

The incredible scenery starts literally outside our little hotel with towering green hills and placid ponds.

So many shades of green to enjoy – and so many uncomfortable bikes!

The sky looks grey and sullen but the humidity is through the roof – so ideal conditions for my lardy backside to be on a saddle.

The lush green rice fields stretch as far as the eye can see and I don’t think I will ever get tired of that view.

Pro-cyclist hubby has barely broken a sweat while I am trying very hard not to cough up a lung . . .

But the scenery quickly puts a cheesy smile back on my sweaty little face!

We cycle past isolated little houses nestled at the foot of huge limestone stacks.

It really is some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen in my travels.

Reflecting on all this outdoor space, while self isolating due to the current coronavirus pandemic is starting to give me cabin fever!

We finally make it to our final stop, a tiny little local restaurant where we are stuffed full of local cuisine, including a Ninh Bihn speciality which is sort of like a large savoury rice crispy cake that you cover in sauce. Lovely!

Here’s the husband trying some goat wrapped in leaves!

Ha Long Bay scenery

After our first day of canoeing and exploring we’ve got a relaxed evening on board our Vega Travel boat to chillax and enjoy the scenery.

Designated a World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay’s scatter of islands is a beautiful sight and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam’s number one-tourism hub.

Hạ Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2 (600 square miles), including between 1,960 and 2,000 islets, most of which are limestone.

Again it might look a little grey but believe me it is flippin hot and humid!

The name Hạ Long means “descending dragon” and the bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes.

Ha Long Bay is the centre of a larger zone which includes Bai Tu Long Bay to the northeast, and Cát Bà Island to the southwest.

Of course, it can’t be too quiet – given the chance the hubby will hurl himself off anything!!

According to local legend, when Vietnam had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders.

To assist the Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors.

This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders.

Gorges de la Spelunca

Next up on our Corsican odyssey is an exploration of the gorgeous Gorges de la Spelunca.

Just inland from Porto, the awesome gorges offers splendid hiking, plus freshwater swimming on hot days.

The Gorges de Spelunca are scenic river valleys cutting through the mountains. Rocky paths pass alongside stunning gushing waters of green, blue and brown.

We took the shorter route which was from the road bridge to the old Pont de Zaglia in the gorge-bottom forest – and back again. It took about two hours in total.

The winding path passes through the gorges with mountains, river valleys and pools. It’s a bit of a scramble in the heat but well worth it when you reach your destination.

After about 40 minutes you reach the Ponte a Zaglia. A fairy-tale like Genoan stone bridge that was built at the end of the 18th century to make life easier for the locals and the shepherds.

The bridge has a very high arch because at certain times of year the river becomes very large and fast flowing.

Next to the Ponte à Zaglia bridge there are some glorious pools of colourful water surrounded by boulders, which are an excellent place for a picnic.

After a sweaty hike these beautiful pools are like magnets to us.

The rushing, sparkling water is so tempting as it glitters under the Corsican sunshine.

How tempting does this beautiful pool look? The man looks like he is about to dive right in!

And he’s in. Dipping his toes in this wonderful green pool of cooling goodness.

Even now, the water makes me want to leap in! I can remember the boiling heat on my neck and the beguiling sparkles on the river.

Then finally I take the plunge! Like a plump mermaid, wallowing in the gorgeous, shockingly cold, pools.

It might have been a little chilly (and I might have soaked my only set of clothes) but it was awesome!!!

Look how delighted we both are!! Thumbs up from us, definitely a must see.