Nov 242015

I went on a really good food tour in Marrakech. We tried all sorts of food from lamb cooked underground for hours to amazing sardine-ball sandwiches. As a bonus we also stopped off at some interesting spots, including the village bakery, where people would bring food in to be baked in the oven to be picked up later in the day.

If you’re ever in Marrakech I would definitely recommend it! You can find their website here:

Our second stop was at an olive stand, we were allowed to just eat all the olives that we wanted off the stall. The seller seemed to have an endless supply of different types of olives.


Sep 152015

So I got to talking about Vietnam today, which led me to look on my SmugMug page to show some friends a few pictures. Then I realized I had a fair few waiting to be posted.

This photo shows the entrance of Phong Nha Cave. During the Vietnam (or American, depending on who you ask) War this cave was employed as a Viet Cong military base.

To get to this cave we first had to wander to the river bank in town where we found a number of Dragon Boats lined up waiting to give tours. They gestured that we needed to go to a ticket booth to pay. Once we were paid up we set up. Most people wait to group together to save money, the dragon boats can sit at least a dozen people. It was late in the day and we didn’t see anyone around so we got straight on.

Our drivers were an older couple who communicated to us entirely in gestures. You can see them in this previous post.

It’s about a half hour boat ride up the river, through the jungle covered Karst formations, past a fishing village and numerous water buffalo tied up on farmland along the banks.

Around a bend we came to the entrance to the cave, a low slit in the mountainside. The rocks above were scarred by artillery as the US army attempted to seal the cave. It’s amazing that the rock face held together.

Our boat ride continued inside, through narrow passageways and into large chambers full of stalagmites. When we reached the furthest point of our journey our pilots carefully turned the 30 foot long boat around in a space that only seemed 20 feet wide. They did this mostly by using their hands to push off the cave walls.

From there we were dropped on a beach inside the cave that served as a landing point for injured Viet Cong soldiers. We walked back out through the rock formations. Just before walking back outside to board our waiting boat I stopped to take  this picture.

looking out of the entrance of phong nha cave in vietnam


Mar 102015

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a photo, so here’s one of my favorites.

To visit the amazing caves at Phong Nha town it’s typical to hire a dragon boat at the river bank in town. They then whisk you up river and a good way into the cave. There, they drop you on a beach inside the cave once used as a military hospital during the American War. On the way back I saw the sun’s rays breaking through the clouds and managed to snap this picture. It was a bit tricky though, I had to fit my head through the slats in the top of the boat, then raise my camera with my hands reaching through two different gaps. It took a couple of tries but eventually I was in. I had a brief moment of panic afterwards as my head appeared to be stuck.

dragon boat pilots on the back of their boat in front of the mountains at sunset

Feb 042015

Today’s photo follows on from the photo of the rice paper drying in the sun. This is the bow of the sampan that we hired to take us out to the Mekong Delta’s floating markets. We had based ourselves in Can Tho and arrived there the night before we planned on going on a tour. We turned up without anywhere to stay booked and no real idea how to book a boat for the next morning. Using our trusty guidebooks we decided on a place right on the waterfront and were happy to find out they had a room available. Shortly after checking in a very smiley old lady who had been sat quietly in the lobby approached and asked if we were interested in a tour. She had a book of photos and a map of the route. Unsure how we’d go about getting a boat at sunrise the next morning we decided to assume her price was fair enough and book. We went to sleep happy in the fact that we’d found a boat for the morning.

Sure enough, the next morning we were greeted in the street by the same lady who escorted us to our boat. We did realise that had we waited until the next morning to find a boat we’d have been fine. The waterfront was abuzz with locals as soon as there was a hint of light. This included numerous other old ladies offering boat rides to every Westerner within earshot.

We were happy with our tour guide, who drove the boat while constantly weaving reeds into various bits and pieces. The “roses” you see here were particularly impressive!!

Sampan traveling on the Mekong In Vietnam decorated with woven reeds.

Feb 022015

On my first day in Vietnam we traveled down to the Mekong Delta to take in the floating markets. We wound up on a boat tour early the next day. This included a stop at a place where they made rice paper. Here, you can see the freshly cooked rice paper laid out to dry in the sun.

rice paper drying on bamboo mats in the mekong delta, Vietnam

Feb 012015

Our journey to Marrakech involved a number of stages. We flew overnight from Bermuda to London, where we had a six hour layover, before a four hour flight to Marrakech. For some reasons British Airway didn’t see fit to provide any movies or reclining seats for a 4 hour flight, very strange.

Upon arrival, we found ourselves a taxi. Having read that the taxis have a tendency to take advantage of newly arrive tourists, we were careful to make sure we agreed a price before getting in. Of course, as soon as we pulled off that price increased, but it was still within what we’d agreed was an acceptable range.

Now, the thing about staying in the Medina of Marrakech is that it’s highly unlikely that your taxi will be able to drop you at your doorstep. As a result, you find yourself being dropped off with little idea of how far away your hotel is, or with any idea of how to get there. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for a smiling man with a cart to appear who will carry your bags for a fee. They also know all of the hotels in the area and almost before you know what’s going on, you’re following this complete stranger you’ve given your bags to down weaving, narrowing alleyways.

Even once we thought we’d arrived, we walked through a door with the Palais Sebban written on it and were faced with a tunnel that still had multiple other addresses branching off of it.

After snaking around a few more times, we found the reception. Here we were greeted with mint tea and one of the most amazing lobbies I’ve ever seen. Below, you can see what we saw when we looked up.

View of frescoes carved in the plaster ceilings of lobby of Palais Sebban, Marrakech

Jan 282015

So, I’m back from my trip to Marrakech, London and Amsterdam. I went on an awesome food tour in Marrakech I’m looking forward to telling you about. For now though, we’ve got another picture from Vietnam. This is the view from inside the Japanese covered bridge in Hoi An. I waited ages to catch a bike passing across the far end.

Inside Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam with bicycle passing far end.