After the feet disaster in the night bus, we decided to travel a bit more comfortable this time. We traveled first class in the night train from Ninh Binh to Hoi An. With real beds in it! So nice (if felt like stones with blankets around it, but still nice).
A night of sleeping at a stone later, we arrived. A happy taxi driver was waiting for us with a board with ´welcome Julia Dilissen and mom ´ on it. While we arrived at the hotel, we immediately saw the thing we were waiting for the whole time: a swimming pool! Heaven. The sweet owners gave us some watermelon to welcome us and then we entered our room with soft beds (which is heaven after sleeping on stones for a while), and with a bathroom with a really nice interior. I love interior so this was perfect.
We took some rest, I tried the pool and after this we cycled (of course, the Dutch way) to the beach with our beautiful bikes with baskets. The roads were so busy that we were doubting if we cycled the right way. While arriving at the beach, I knew we were right. I saw the most crowded beach I had ever seen. It was a national holiday in Vietnam and therefore all the locals came to the beach together. In the Netherlands, people always just bring simple sandwiches with cheese or something when they bring food from home. Here, I saw lots of families with big pans of rice, fish and other delicious dishes. The families were all around it like a real family dinner. I´m more into quiet beaches, but this was really funny to experience.
We heard that the food in the North and the South of Vietnam is a bit different, so we wanted to try some local food in the evening. One of the owners of the hotel recommended a local place where we could try rice pancakes. We arrived in a small restaurant with a floor filled with napkins and food. We are at the wrong place, we thought. But after checking Google Maps for 10 times, it turned out it was the right one. The place was not really clean and we didn´t know why the hotel owner sent us here. In the end, I liked the food so it was all fine.
We went back to our hotel room and there was somebody waiting for us: a gecko. I´m not scared of geckos, they are kind of cute and they eat insects, but I don´t really need to have them on my hotel room. So we asked the owner if she could get it away. If you know geckos, you know that they are extremely fast. He was too fast and he hid himself under the airco. So after all, we slept with the three of us in the room: my mom, the gecko and I. In the morning, the gecko was still hidden and we got some breakfast in the hotel. It was so good. Every morning we got a fruit shake, bread with egg or a banana pancake. Nothing better to start the day with.
After our local busy beach experience, we decided to look for a quiet beach. We cycled with our beautiful bikes with baskets to ´Hidden Beach´. The name of the beach says enough: it was hidden and therefore not busy. I immediately got my pink diving mask and jumped into the water. After this, I tried to tan a bit. Because at this point my legs looked like the legs of a real cyclist: brown but white in the end. After tanning, drinking a fruit shake and eating a hamburger we explored the city of hoi An. There is a ´light festival´ in the city every evening. The whole city is filled with lights and lanterns. This makes the city really cosy. After making way too many pictures of the lanterns, we went to a night market where I bought the first thing for myself: a really original elephant pants (okay maybe not so original but I like it). In daylight, we cycled to the centre again and looked in some shops. And of course, we made more pictures. I really liked the old historic city with water and bridges in the middle.
After Hoi An, the plan was to go to Ho Chi Minh. But the good thing about backpacking is that plans can change any time. We didn´t really feel like going to a big, chaotic city again and therefore we decided to stay some nights in Da Nang. I will tell you more about this in my next blog!