Page 4 of Rodyssey Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Khanh Hoa » Nha Trang August 1st 2007

So my attempts to do a vodkatrain-type tour through Vietnam on the Reunification Express from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh have come unstuck. The Vietnamese train system is great with one slight problem - demand greatly exceeds supply so if you don't book tickets way in advance you don't get the tickets of choice (if any). How I miss the honchos who'll produce perfect tickets just as we're about to board the train. Despite asking for a soft sleeper to Hue, ended up on a seat for the 16 hour overnight journey. About as comfortable as it sounds. Hue was hot, very, very hot. Spent two days there, the first just wandering around and the second visiting the old Citadel - turns out most of it was destroyed during the war, so there wasn't a whole ... read more
Perfume River, Hue
Imperial Enclosure, Citadel, Hue
Hoi An

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi July 26th 2007

Another week, another country. Arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam on Sunday night on a flight from Guangzhou. Back to independent travelling for the next two weeks which after 5 weeks of getting everything done for you takes a little getting used to. And noticed the difference immediately - the muppets at Hanoi Backpackers had given away my bed so had to go to the hotel next door. Still, had my own AC ensuite room, so couldn't complain. When I opened my bag though, noticed that my suncream had exploded over everything - not what I needed at that time of night. Went out to explore Hanoi the next day - crazy city, makes Beijing look like a sedate backwater. There are motorbikes literally everywhere - blocking every path, millions speeding down the streets and guys trying to ... read more
me at Halong Bay
Hanoi's Old Quarter

Asia » China » Guangdong » Guangzhou July 22nd 2007

So the China tour ends today in Guangzhou - pretty miserable place to end the journey if I'm honest, just another huge, hot Chinese city with very little to see or do. We spent most of our time in the air-conditioned hotel/bar, tired from the trip and worn out by the heat. Would have been ideal to have finished up in Hong Kong. The rest of the tour was a bit of an anti-climax after the pandas, which was inevitable I suppose. We drove back to Chengdu on Tuesday morning and got trapped in a traffic jam (several trucks got stuck in the mud along the non-road) for 2-3 hours. Our guide, Cui Wei, made the mistake of mentioning that there was a Pizza Hut close to the hotel, so we all descended there en masse ... read more

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu July 19th 2007

Well that was without doubt three of the coolest days of the trip so far. Just finished volunteering at the Giant Panda Centre in Wolong, Sichuan Provence and it was an unforgettable experience. Arrived in Chengdu on an overnight train from Xian (Terracotta Warriors were cool but was far too hot and sick to enjoy the rest of the city). Imaginative Traveller, being cheap bastards, have us in the cattle truck section of the train - three bunks per row where you can't even sit up on the bed and completely open compartments. We were the only non-Chinese on the train and therefore the source of much attention and amusement (wearing my Chairman Mao PLA hat may have exacerbated this). The nice enclosed 4 bed compartments like on the Trans-Sib were full of westerners. Managed ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing July 10th 2007

Today is my last day in Beijing, arrived here on Friday (iirc, my sense of timing of days and dates is way off). It's blisteringly hot here as it has been most days so I've taken refuge in an air conditioned internet cafe to update the blog. The Vodkatrain trip ended on Sunday and though we're all gutted it's over, we're all completely worn out so needed the rest. Visited Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City on Saturday which were very interesting despite the heat (had a load of Chinese kids wanting to take photos with us in Tianamen - we were like visiting celebrities!). Also caught a couple of shows - The Legend of Kung Fu and an amazing acrobatics show. Spent our last night out on Saturday in SanLiTun - the tackiest street ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar July 4th 2007

It's our final day in Mongolia - have arrived back in Ulaan Baatar after two days in a ger camp in the countryside, in a beautiful valley surrounded by hills and mountains, with nothing but horses, cows, marmots and a few Mongolian nomads for company. What an amazing experience - challenges Lake Baikal for being the highlight of the trip so far. Went horse riding two days in a row - the first a trip to Turtle Rock, the second a visit to a nomad family. I'm aching in muscles and joints I never knew I had. The horse riding was great, just slightly outside my comfort zone when they start galloping and I was hanging on for dear life...... Whoever started the rumour about how bad Mongolian food is was way of the mark ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Lake Baikal June 29th 2007

Have been away from civilisation for a while so no chance to update on the Trans-Siberian Express before now. Am currently in Irkutsk, awaiting tonight's train to Mongolia. Just spent the last two days at Lake Baikal which was bliss - so good to get out of all the cities I've been in for the past 7 (i think) weeks. Went for a brief dip in the lake (fookin freezing!!), had a russian sauna, went sightseeing around lake baikal, played frisbee and a quiet drink or two before bed. Not much time to update about St. Petersburg, Moscow or the three day train trip to Siberia. Needless to say it's been a great trip so far - travelling with a very cool group (especially in comparison to the "Others" - the Vodkatrain group we met in ... read more
the vodkateers at Lake Baikal
me at St. Basils in Red Square
the Commodore on board the Vodkatrain

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn June 16th 2007

Spent this week on a whistlestop tour of the Baltic states, 2 days each in Vilnius (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia) and Tallinn (Estonia) with long bus journeys between them. Very interesting places - surprised by the diversity between the three capitals. Vilnius isn't very touristy (not a very picturesque town), Riga has a very cool Old Town filled with old churches and Art Nouveau buildings and Tallinn looks superb - full of medieval towers, cobbled streets etc. Nice cool sea breeze here too. There's a lot of renovation going on in all three and frankly a lot more needed, but I guess it's not been long since they were part of the USSR. Definately an edge of Europe feel here, things are getting a little stranger the further east I go, as are the people I ... read more

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague June 7th 2007

Ah, Golden Prague indeed. Circumstances forced an 11 day stay here in the Czech Republic, which seemed an eternity compared to the previous 2-3 day stops, but ended up being all too short. So much has been written and hyped up about this city that it seems pointless to add to it, but needless to say, yes it is as good as they say and frankly a whole lot better. Filter out the tour groups and the stag parties and the tackiness of parts of novo mesto and the tourist trail and you're left with pure magic. Beer to die for and obscenely cheap in the right places, fantastic jazz clubs/cellars with daily gigs, every street and alley of staro mesto and mala strana, the bridge and castle lit up by night and all the ... read more
big beer
old town

Europe May 31st 2007

Been a bit lazy getting the blog up and running, but with internet access limited and the need to check emails, news, CL build-up, CL grieving etc, haven't had a chance before now. So a brief summary so far: Venice: Magic of course, though overrun by tourists (and pigeons), unique experience however. Ljubljana: Secret treasure - devoid of tourists, but a mini-Prague in a very cool country (don't tell Ryanair or Easyjet). Vienna: Very stylish city, not my favourite though. Bratislava: Disturbing signs of a "British invasion", but a great little town - cool castle and old town (common motifs in central Europe). Budapest: Partly spectacular, partly run-down, not quite sure of Budapest (suffers a little in comparison to Prague). Krakow: Very cool town, took the usual tourist trips to Auschwitz and the Salt Mine ... read more

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