I think every staircase, and there are many of them, in the Chinese emperors’ Forbidden Purple City in the heart of Hue, Vietnam is flanked by dragon’s like this one. In fact, if you look into the background of this picture, and squint a bit, you’ll see four more examples in the building across the way.
One of the big reasons why I stopped posting photos was because I bought a house and most of my energy was going into getting it move-in ready. I finally got moved in 6 months ago (I still didn’t have a roof on my living room yet at that point). The night that I moved my camera gear in with me I was greeted by this sunset.
Watching this sunset from this spot was not part of the agenda. While still in Hanoi, we had booked a ferry/bus combo from Ha Long Bay out to Cat Ba island. We had decided to bi-pass Ha Long Bay for the less trafficked but similar Cat Ba island.
I’m normally pretty good at avoiding getting ripped off when travelling, but this time we fell into a bit of a trap. We were promised a direct boat trip to the island, as we wanted to get there and be able to explore at our own pace. Instead, after getting to the port we discovered that we were being bundled onto a tour boat, which made numerous stops. The hour long trip was going to take us a whopping 8 hours!
We weren’t the only people to fall into this trap as there were about 6 others who were also stuck on this boat unintentionally. The worst part was, as we’d paid for a transport and not a tour, when they gathered everyone together to tell them what the plan was, we discovered that there was going to be food served, but there was none for us. As we thought we were on a 1 hour boat ride, we had no food with us at all, and we were already hungry!
So, when I look at this beautiful sunset I can’t help but feel a little bitter about the fact that I was starving, captive, and miserable.
It got worse though, once we got to the island we needed a bus to take us to the main area. Our bus arrived, we boarded it and it promptly broke down. Cue another hour wait for another bus to arrive!
I know, it’s been awhile… and no, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. I just ran a bit low on time and as a result, ran a bit low on photos. I’ve kept traveling though and have a lot of photos to share from Vietnam, Spain, France, Morocco, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland.
I’ve got travel plans for 2017 too. I’ll be kicking off the year with a return to Marrakesh and a weekend in Berlin where I hope to add to my collection of pictures. In addition, I’ll be taking a couple of more adventurous trips through the year, though I haven’t thought about where yet. Suggestions in the comments below are welcome. I’m thinking South East Asia, South America or maybe even Egypt. I’ll be doing my best to get back to regular postings.
My most recent trip was to the Cinque Terre in Italy. It was my third time trying to get there. On my first attempt, the towns in the area were beset by landslides so I had to cancel my plans. On the second attempt, I was driving from Piedmont and stopped at a service station where my car was broken into and cameras, laptops and passports were stolen.
My third trip wasn’t without a hiccup either. When I went to check into the airport in Bermuda for my flight to London, I realized that I’d booked the wrong date for my connecting flight and it had actually already departed! I actually got onto the London flight without a connection and had to quickly sort it out the next day.
In celebration of the New Year and of finally making it to Cinque Terre, please enjoy this photo, taken from my hotel balcony in Manarola while sipping from a bottle of Prosecco.
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.