Day 19: Vang Vieng – “Bor.Na.Moon’ Resort (80km) – Distance travelled so far 940km“Beauty and the Beast”
At 6:30 this morning, we realised our rest day was over….Yes it was back on the saddles again with a target of about 75/80km which would bring us into a another decent village. We are delighted that our hostel have hot water and complientary tea/coffee (a real treat for us)….We say our goodbyes to both our buddy Sue and his brother Roy…They treated us well here to be honest….After a couple of quick photos, we hit off down into Vang Vieng for a good breakfast….It may be the last “westernised meal” we may eat for at least another couple of 100km’s….
Our route today will take up us some extremely steep mountain passes so we are a little apprehensive to be fair. Away we cycle…and onwards in the direction of Luang Prabang.
About 10km in we figure out that this day is not going to be so easy…Our 20/25km per hour has now dropped down to approx 6/8km per hour. It is just mountain climb after mountain climb with no reprieve whatsoever….Anyone thinking of cycling in Laos should listen to the following…..’It will make you sweat buckets and will take every last musle in your legs help you pedal”….The beautiful scenery around us feels like a distant memory with all of us concentrating on our breathing and pedaling…..It definitely feels like a case of man versus mountain….with the roads spiralling up over a thousand feet….No going through mountains in Loas!!!!!!! Still Beautiful though
We see plenty of Tour Buses along the way…and chat to a really nice Irish couple from Co. Wicklow…They have been the first Irish people we have chatted to since leaving Bangkok over 19 days ago so it is really refreshing…Colm Reynolds and his girlfirend Sinead from Bray….whom after a quick “who you know in Bray/6 degrees of seperation” quickly transpires that we all know the same people…Yes….They know you all…Liz, “Lizzy”, PK, Caroline and Clare, Carol and Justin…..Both very funny and bizarre…ha ha….They also thought that we were mad…..and couldnt get over the fact that we had started cycling just over 3 weeks ago!!!!
After this fun encounter…we eat some fruit, rice and drink more water. We have a fair distance to travel still so delaying is not on our agendas….We saddle up again hoping that a downhill or two is only around the next bend!!!!……As we cycle we are starting to see alot more touring cyclists….We meet a pair along the way named Pam and Kerry…They are also heading in our general direction which is…..a warm springs resort somewhere at the top of a mountain about 65km away….Along the way we meet another couple…again heading in the general direction of the warm springs…….This is the most cyclist traffic we have seen so far…..and it makes us feel like we are not the only ones on tour….
The roads to the Springs are horrifying….Its climb after climb with cars and mototbikes sometimes struggling to cope….We pass a broken a broken down bus which seems to have over-heated….The highest gear on our bikes “the granny gear” seems so tough to cycle in……Sometimes there is a little hill you decend on but only to find out that you have to climb yet another mountain….Its literally a case of coming down hills to go up mountains….At the moment we have come to the stark realisation that coming down a hill generally indicates that bad news (steep mountain ascents) lay ahead of us!!!!!! Aghghhghghghghgh!!!!!!!!
Anyway onwards and upwards (pardon the pun) with us….Bottoms tender…tongues flapping like prize golden retrievers…..and with grimaces etched on our faces that would even make Mick Fleetwood blush!!!
The scenery is some of the best in the world and some of the villages up here would leave you wonder in awe at the peaceful, family orientated lives the people lead here…They have basic shelter and spend their days collecting firewood and food…… and all the while with laughter and smiles and as many “Sab a dee’s” (Hello’s) when we pass by…..
It can be difficult to keep saluting people along the way…especially when so exhausted but then some kid will put out his hand “to high-five” which once again brings a smile back to the face…..The smallest gestures make a big difference at the moment….
After lots of stops and some lost gear (Brian lost his sleeping mat and cycling hat along the way!!!) we finally reach the “hot springs”…..We can see alot of the other touring cyclists bathing and enjoying a beer….It feels good to have reached this place…and should offer a great nights rest…..The resort has got 5 shacks, which are all taken up by cyclists!!!!…..Seems like a convention or something. After getting our Love Shack for a bargin price we head straight for a refreshing beverage and of course the springs themselves…..
Ohhhhhhhhh…..thats the spot!!!!!!……The volcanic springs are lovely and warm and it feels like such a treat for out tired “jelly legs”…….Everyone seems to bath here though…People wash clothes…brush their teeth but the water feels damn good…..so we enjoy it to the maximum.
That night we enjoy a nice meal with the rest of our newly made cycling friends….We share stories and poke fun at each other….Everyone seems pretty beat and the restaurants only customers (us) leave at about 8:30pm/9pm for bed….(I know….its early but…..)….We cosy up in our honesy-moon esque shack to sleep for tomorrows treasures…..With the thoughts of further mountains in our brains, we try to get some sleep……Night folks….Zzzzz!!!!!
Cyclist convention, Sorry to Pam and Kerry for beginning cut out of the pic