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The return to Hanoi

Sapa – Hanoi

Before we say goodbye to this absolutely stunning part of Vietnam we dare to get on the bikes, again.

Starting at 09:30 am, this third tour of ours lasts 2 hours. Again, we have the opportunity to gain even new sights of the country, and see it from a different perspective. On this occasion we ride on the other side of the mountain and literally see hills and valleys from another angle.

My own perspective has changed, too, over the past days and weeks during this trip. On topics like the importance of certain things in life, different kinds of lifestyles, happiness and content.

Each time I face these aspects and see how people from different cultures cope with them, it broadens my horizon and I try to see which parts of traits or behavior I could possibly learn from. Since I have lived in South America for half a year – an experience that has grounded me in many ways – I keep my eyes open.

The one thing I will definitely take away from Vietnam is the open-mindedness from people who not in the least have the means to make their living, but are just so happy, content and curious, and cordial towards strangers who they might not understand at all. I could feel that in the different encounters I had with locals, especially here in a place that is free from outside influence and mass media.

The people of the Sapa region are the living reminder that most of the materialistic values of our Western lives will sometimes be of less value than we perceive.

Nonetheless, tourism has also come its way to the most remote places, resulting in me being surrounded by diligent, resolute merchant women who like to sell me memorabilia. It was hard to escape the crowd of very, let’s say engaged, women when we returned to the hotel after this short, last bike trip.

I succeeded anyway and we use the last two hours before the transfer to lie down under the sun, relax and enjoy the awesome valley view.

With some minor issues on the way (a flat tire that needs to be fixed – but, hey, no problem, just pull over to the next free courtyard and gather all needed material from suspicious sources throughout the streets) we get back to Hanoi about an hour later than planned. The forced stop allows us to get a bite to eat – I truly recommend Banh Mi – which also reminds us of our reservation at Cau Go tonight. We won’t make it. Thanks to free wi-fi on the transport I send an email and the restaurant pushes back our reservation for an hour, no problem at all.

// beautiful Hoan Kiem lake view to match the food: Cau Go Restaurant

// mountain retreat: Topas Ecolodge

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