Dear friends, after a comment here and there, I wanted to just shoot out a quick travel update, letting you know all is well…I am so happy with my guest blogging series so far, and that you seem to enjoy the variety it brings. Thanks for continuously stopping by to read what my fellow bloggers have to say.
We spent the first week and a half of our trip in Thailand, in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to be exact. Bangkok was as overwhelming as we expected, so we opted for taking care of our jet lag by lounging along our friends’ swimming pool, taking in the great street food and getting accustomed to the heat and humidity. In Bangkok, we met up with two wine bloggers, the great James of The Wine Diaries, and my Trier-“buddy” Rainer and his wife (Rainer writes the excellent wine and food blog The Man From Mosel River). As it turned out, we partied very hard with James and his friend (I think we made it home around 3.30am or so) and then went to meet Rainer at 9.30am…and still managed to form coherent sentences. It was great meeting each of the two, and I encourage you to check out their blogs. Both have a nice perspective from South East Asia on wine which is enlightening.
From Bangkok we headed to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand where we stayed at a guest house a bit outside of the old city (HeyHa Guesthouse). Our hosts, Racha and Tee, were incredibly friendly and welcoming: upon arrival we were greeted with sweets and beer, later in the week they invited us to join them and friends for an epic Japanese BBQ that went on forever…then again later, we went clubbing with them and some other friends of theirs. I’ve never experienced such generous guesthouse owners, and we definitely want to go back. Chiang Mai has a great coffee culture and lots of culture. We ate a ton of street food, which was wonderful.
After an ordeal of a bus ride (we started one morning, switched to an overnight bus, and then arrived the next morning – mostly on unpaved dirt roads) we arrived in the ancient Lao kingdom town of Luang Prabang. This was a true stunner: temples, a palace, and a ton of French colonial buildings on a small peninsula that was formed by the Mekong river and another river joining it. French culture is still very prominent and we had a bunch of baguettes, croissants, pastries and you name it. I was sick for a couple of days, which sucked, but I was able to post-celebrate my birthday on our last day with a good breakfast, a spa treatment (which became even better when the monks in the temple across the street started making music…) and then an epic dinner in one of the best French restaurants in Laos. Their version of Coq au vin was the best I have had of this dish ever…
Taking the day bus South to Vientiane, the capital, took us 12 hours for 384 kilometers. The landscape was stunning though: steep, steep mountains and hills, lush forests, and the Mekong always with us. Photos cannot capture this beauty. Vientiane does not seem to offer much to explore, so we are heading further south to Pakse, the other old capital of one of the three kingdoms that went to form what is Laos today. From there, we will head down the Mekong to 4000 Islands, a group of islands in the river, to chill a bit before we enter into Cambodia.
So how are we feeling two weeks in, you may wonder? We’re missing Thai food for sure (Lao food seems more bland), but I am happy for the bread culture here. We think the north of Thailand and Laos are absolutely worth your time, even if you are beach bunny. We are actually looking forward to Cambodia, where the food should be more interesting again and everything reportedly a bit cheaper, too. This has been a great trip so far, and we are full of impressions and ideas, and are feeling blessed for being able to do this.
(Somehow, I am having problems getting some of my photos into here, so I beg your pardon for making this a text only update…)
Until soon! I hope your summer is great wherever you spend it.