Little Green Boat

Spruce left the UK in 2011, arrived in SE Asia during 2015. Now land/air touring to see a little more of Asia in between doing a long list of boat maintenance jobs.

12 February 2017 | Cat Ba Island - Vietnam
12 February 2017
12 February 2017
12 February 2017
07 February 2017 | Ninh Binh - Vietnam
07 February 2017
07 February 2017
07 February 2017
07 February 2017
07 February 2017
04 February 2017 | Hue - Vietnam
04 February 2017
04 February 2017
04 February 2017
02 February 2017 | Hoi'an - Central Vietnam
02 February 2017
02 February 2017
02 February 2017
02 February 2017
02 February 2017

Island in the North

12 February 2017 | Cat Ba Island - Vietnam
Andy & Sue
To visit Halong Bay or not... that was the question in our minds. One thing we procrastinate over as we travel is which sights and sites to partake and what to bypass. Some places are quintessentially "of" a country or region, others are sights often repeated; the more one travels it is those quintessential locations that must not be missed. Fellow travelers met along the way recommend their favourites. We all have different views based upon our inclinations and what has previously been experienced. We tumbled onto Cat Ba island from a heavily laden fast ferry. In fact, not so fast: the additional load slowed us from planing to displacement mode. The weather was lovely for showing off the land and seascapes.

12 February 2017
Cat Ba boasted a national park, views of the limestone karst islets to the north and east, and a host of agents intent on selling visitors the perfect trip. We opted for two days motor bike hire, casual exploration by road and some hiking in the jungle.

12 February 2017
A ten kilometer walk into the interior was a bit disappointing: great for exercise but virtually zero views with most of the route in tree cover. A notable exception was a clearing with huge plants: a set from a lost world film. The objective, Frog Pond, was almost not a pond. The frogs croaked loudly from fissures in nearby limestone, none were having a dip.

12 February 2017
We thoroughly enjoyed a couple of days chilling out after the long haul northwards through Vietnam. Next stop, Hanoi.

Karsts Ahoy.

07 February 2017 | Ninh Binh - Vietnam
Andy & Sue
As we headed north from Hue our train passed through the old DMZ. Land appeared to be pocked with bomb craters from the conflict of the 20th century. Scrub dominated, with less land farmed than earlier in our journey. Finally we entered limestone country. Although these monoliths are cast ashore and not flooded as in Halong Bay to the north. They are quite impressive, especially after tracts of less hilly terrain to the south.
The almost empty train rolled into Ninh Binh a few minutes late. Our slow train had taken 14hours to complete a 450Km journey, often waiting in a siding for faster siblings to whizz past. The upside was that fully booked express trains, spilling with passengers, had little space for luggage. This sluggish steed was only lightly loaded. The hotel, forewarned, was unflustered by our late arrival: it took only one minute to check in.

07 February 2017
Another small motorbike rented gave us freedom to roam the district. The nearby national park's main attraction is boat rides along a river and into limestone caves. We arrived early, as advised, a procession of craft, bow to stern, a continuous line, boat men and women hurriedly rowing noisy passengers along the route, eager to get back for the next fares: this was not for us, our dream of a languid float through dripping limestone caverns shattered. We headed off through the countryside to quieter realms.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-16 brought us north into Asia. The past few years cruising has enabled us to visit many countries, meet lots of interesting people and to understand the world a little better.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/littlegreenboat
Spruce's Photos - Porto - The home of Port Wine
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An amazing pictorial representation done in glazed ceramic tiles decorating the side of a church. The people in the photo give an idea of the scale.
Gold decorated wood carved cherubs. A small sample of an enormous carving standing some eight-metres high.
The churches in Portugal seem to have elaborate golden (real) decoration applied to wood carved altar pieces. The sheer scale is breath taking. Vast sums of money were spent on furnishing churches during Portugal
Interiors are well lit with natural light due to clear glass used in the windows, the golden decoration is very bright. This elaborate decoration on internal furniture makes stained glass windows unnecessary.
Portuguese crafts on dispay in a shop window.
In one of the main avenues in Porto a large number (circa one-hundred) resin castings of human forms have been decorated by different artists. Each one conveying an alternative impression.
Traditional display of wares within a shop. The smell of the spices emanating from the door was alluring.
A second large mural done with blue and white ceramic tiles.
An open market within an enclosed quadrangle. The goods displayed within bear no relationship to the dilapidated roofs. See the photos that follow...
Colourful strings of garlic and chillies in an open market stall.
One of the many small fish stalls in the market.
Beans of every shape and size.
We didn
Cafe Majestic - Splendid surrounding in which to dine - Apparently 1930s Style.
Busy street scene in Porto.
"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag" - Mary Poppins for those fortunate to be too young to remember:-)
 
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