Winter 17/18 – From Thái Nguyên to Pom Coong

Spend two nights in Thái Nguyên to relax a bit after the loooong drive down from the mountains. Sorry but there was nothing interesting to share. As far as I saw the town when shopping that is. The only interesting thing to report: There was a girl from Brasil I think on her scooter so I went with her to have pizza. No clue why she craved it and sure enough the pizza was as bad as I expected it. That interesting it was. Might be because I was too lazy to go and see the city. Apart from that, I have nothing to report from Thái Nguyên.

Nam My Van Homestay
Nam My Van Homestay

The Nam My Van Homestay and booking.com

Nam My Van Homestay is in a small lane down from the main street. No way you would wander down that lane and find that homestay by yourself. They have a 9.1 rating by now on booking. Usually, they are really good booked and very happy to have this biz on the side.
Mitsos told me the other day in Surat Thani how bad booking and such sites are for the small people. But here I sit and this guy was so happy. He could not have a biz at all without. Who would find him??
Also, last winter when I was in Indonesia I stayed a few days with a family that converted the family house into a hotel. He told me that before booking only rich people could afford to open a hotel. Or you had to be lucky and your hotel was in the street that became the main tourist area to have enough customers. Like Khao San Road in Bangkok a long time ago. But now he said I can open my own place here and people come and it is far from the city center.
I asked a few more of the small place owner and they all said the same. We have no idea how to find customers if we would not be on these big booking sites. I guess every medal has two sides and sometimes it is good to see the other one as well. Of course, Mitsos does not really agree with me here. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Entrance to the homestay
Entrance to the homestay
Little Brown Dog
They had two dogs a German Shepard and this little brown one.

On the Road again

DaiViet Pilsner
Brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 they claim. Interesting!!
Quite modern place on the other side of the lake
Quite modern place on the other side of the lake
Sunset over the mountains
Sunset over the mountains
Village in a Valley
Nice view down the valley
Mountain in Ricefields
That looks sooo great!

Today’s drive:
I drove 214 kilometers in 6 hours and 31 minutes with gas and food stops.

Pom Coong

Went back to my old Guesthouse No 24. Boy, this place changed a lot. The upper part of the village where the guesthouse is looks still like 3 years ago.
But if you walk down to the other guesthouses. They ship (mainly) Vietnamese tourist by busses so you better stay clear. And the quiet fields further down in the valley? New expensive hotels and small villa resorts all over the place. Guess I do not have to come back here again. Sad – I really liked it here and they have super good food in the guesthouse as well.

More information on Pom Coong and Guesthouse No 24 in this blog post from last year.

Sunset over Pom Coong
Sunset over Pom Coong
Dinner
Dinner
Homestay in traditional Longhouse in Pom Coong
Usually, I have my place all the way down in the Longhouse. This time I got the one at the door. Why not? Most of the time I am the only guest so it does not matter to much. And yes – there is a mosquito net here as well.
Breakfast
Breakfast at the guesthouse. Strange mix but since I do not eat meat she got creative every morning 🙂
Rice field in Pom Coong
Walked a bit into the valley
Rice field in Pom Coong
I love that green!
Lunch in Pom Coong
Lunch
Birthday celebration
This couple came here with the whole birthday set. You get a cake and a bag with the hat, candles, plates and forks as well as a knife. You eat the cake and take some pix and everything goes into the trash. Hmmmm
Birthday couple
They made some pictures till coffee was ready
Cake
I got some cake as well. It was good!!
Sunset and Hanoi Beer
Beer o’ clock!!
Dinner
My Dinner

Dinner on the other side of the Street

Burning the pigs hair
Burning the pigs hair
Small dog prepared for Dinner
Small dog prepared for Dinner
Dog and Pig prepared for dinner
Not sure why they eat such a small dog but ppl eat super small pigs as well. Meateater – who can understand them??
Dog and dead dog
Wonder what big dog is thinking
Dogfood
One is a pet and one is food… Dogfood
Woman and kids looking out of a window
Waiting for dinner

The Lao Loop

Wanted to do the Lao Loop the last two years but it was gray sky for most of the time so I skipped it. Which was a mistake.
This year I went and I left the Canon in the bag and took only 3 pictures with the iPhone.
There was nothing interesting left to share 🙁

Old IFA truck
If you want to see them old IFA trucks from East Germany still working – you have to come to Vietnam. Not to many left on the streets but in the nNorth you still find them every other day
Door Sticker
I do not get this sticker. It is so wrong – every word apart from Angeren is spelled wrong. Who makes this and why??
Water Wheels
Water Wheels

Today’s drive:
I drove 237 kilometers in 8 hours, 7 minutes with gas and food stops.

If you are in the area do a loop on the QL15 C and swing on the DT432A. Should be much nicer.

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A week in Amsterdam

Dee, Jouke and Gerben where in Amsterdam. And I could squeeze a week in. So it was off to Amsterdam once again. They had a caravan on a small camp ground about 8 kilometres from Amsterdam Centraal. Great to do this with my bike!

The Deutsche Bahn BS

So I went online and looked for a train that will get me from Stuttgart to Amsterdam with my bike. There is a little box to click if you want to travel with your bicycle. Great. Now to get there in the afternoon with the bike it was only one nice option. 6 different trains on the way to Amsterdam and 5 different trains on the way back to Stuttgart. Really??
Well I did book and wanted to pay the 98€ but you can not print that ticket and they do not send it to the App as well. They only send you a paper ticket for another 3,90€.
After I booked I was not sure where my bike was on the ticket so I did email Deutsche Bahn. Turns out you can NOT book the bike online. You have to call them or go to the station. So I went to the station only to find out that 2 of the trains where full and I can only travel without the bike! WTF??
The woman at the counter was looking into her computer to tell me that but I can not book it from home? Why is there this stupid box and nobody tell me that I can not book it from home? Grrrrrrrr. Of course I can not give back the ticket for free as well. So train hopping it was.

Deutsche Bahn
The first train – never been in one of those but really comfortable and a lot of space. They should have more of them!

Deutsche Bahn
This one was quite boring but OK with a lot of space

Deutsche Bahn
The next one: not to bad but full.

Along the river Rhein
Along the river Rhein. Might be the best part in the German rail system. I love to go along that river valley and look for castles and dart through the small villages.

Along the river Rhein
Since there is not a lot of space between the river and the hill the tracks cut right through the little villages.

Along the river Rhein
Lots of cruise ships on the Rhine.

Along the river Rhein
And lots of castles on the hills. This one does look like it will fall soon? Strange!

Along the river Rhein

Deutsche Bahn
The last German train for today. It will bring me over the border. No way somebody with a lot of luggage would have made it since there where only minutes in between.

Dutch Railway
Not a lot of space for fat people in the Dutch train. But free WiFi!

Dutch Railway
The last train for today – right into Amsterdam Centraal

Amsterdam
Slowly they sink into the water

Amsterdam Taxi
OK – this is a 80.000€ plus Taxi. Sure we have a lot of E Class and some S Class Mercedes cabs on the road. But I never saw a Tesla Taxi. And on that day alone I did see 7 more. Turns out that they have a total exemption of the registration fee and road taxes for 5 years if you have a corporation. Saves you about 19.000€. Charging and parking in Amsterdam is free for you at the charging stations. Plus an extra subsidy of 5.000€ if the car will be a Taxi. Plus there are reserved parking spots and if you have your flat in Amsterdam that could save you a 10 year wait for a spot if you have an electric car. Makes sense – a lot!

At the Campground
Walked to the market where the guys did sell today. Helped to get everything in the van and we where off to the camp ground. A very small place only a few kilometres away from the city center. In the far distance you could see the light of the cars on the highway but it was quite and green. And only a hand full of other campers – great!

Gerben & Jouke
Gerben & Jouke

On a ferry
We took a small trip on their free day to see some country side – took this picture on a one car ferry – 2€ one way.

Happy Dee
Dee got a new kitchen machine and was so happy. Somehow she likes to work in front of the door so it gets tricky to get into the camper.

My morning cup o Joe
My morning cup o Joe. The gang left quite early every morning – way to early for me. I did sleep, had some breakfast and a second cup of coffee with my emails. After that it was time to shower and get dressed. I walked a few different routes towards the inner city and took a few ferries over the water. That way it never got boring. Took me about 60-80 minutes to reach the train station or one of the markets.

Cool BMW
Cool BMW

Lina and me
Did meet Lina in Amsterdam – we did meet each other in New Yorc City while helping Zack at his film project

On the way to the ferry
On the way to the ferry

Old Peugeot 203
Old Peugeot 203

Old Peugeot 203

Old Peugeot 203

Old Peugeot 203

On the ferry to Amsterdam Centraal
On the ferry to Amsterdam Centraal

 
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The smallest Mini Cooper in the World??

Roaming the streets of Athens one night i had to stop for this very special Mini Cooper! This is the smallest Mini Cooper i have seen so far. Would love to take it for a spin – it looks so much fun. Did you ever saw a smaller one??

Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper