We decided to have a final fry-up before leaving and found a great place where we had triple-decker bacon, cheese and egg sandwiches, fries and milkshakes to prepare us for the road
. Setting off we noticed that it was actually really cold and grey today and after 10 miles it started to rain – rubbish. The 59 miles were muddy, cold and boring and the 1A highway terrible for cycling. (due to insane traffic) We stopped twice, once for popcorn and coffee and another time for some really grim noodle soup which we duly got overcharged for! This extortion has made stopping for snacks much less fun. However the flat ground meant that, despite the rain and traffic, we could still do 15 mph and so we reached Ninh Binh in about 4 ˝ hrs.
The lady at the hotel looked at me (covered in mud) and asked me if I wanted a cheap room or a really very nice room. Of course I said a really very nice room please, and it was pretty nice – clean, warm, hot water, cable TV. Hot showers followed by an enormous meal in their restaurant revived us and we arranged to hire a moped to visit the limestone caves before leaving in the morning – I love the flat ground, which means we are now able to do things other than just cycle ALL day then eat and sleep!
59 mudsoaked miles
Having spent too much time over breakfast yesterday, we missed the opening hours of Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and so got up early today to see him before we checked out. As the Lonely Planet said, the best thing about the place was seeing how the Vietnamese tourists behaved. We all had to march in a single line around the large site until we got to the actual building. There was absolutely no queue barging, or even stepping out of the line alllowed. Lovely after the insane bundling and shoving in India. Once inside the Mausoleum you had to take your hands out of your pockets and weren’t even allowed to talk. Everyone filed past the body in silence and then outside we got pestered by photographers wanting to take our photos in front of the completely unspectacular building. – weird. Glad we went though, it was free and only took 15 minutes, our kind of tourist attraction!