The weekend was reserved for one final hurrah in Vietnam – a cycle ride from the french mountain resort of Dalat to the golden beaches of Nha Trang. In spite of it being in the middle of the local holiday season, thanks to the resourcefulness of my colleague, Van Nguyen, we managed air tickets and were on our way !
Dalat was cool and beautiful as ever and we were charmed by our hotel “Du Parc’s” elegant French looks and its quaint 80-year old elevator which turned temperamental whenever it felt overworked.
Saturday morning was ideal cycling weather and we set off early with the tour operators named “Phat Tire” (we could see our mugs in their posters.. The Fat Tyres now in Vietnam) The name aside, everything was lean and sporty. The cycles were fast, the guide was racing fit,we had a support vehicle following us if we had a fit or something, and the picnic lunch was ideal.
The journey was 140km but the cycling distance was a 72km “best of” scenic route up and down the mountain and through the green valley. After gamely climbing up the mountain without giving the SUV much to huff about, we hit the accelerator on the downhill section. 30km of thrilling speed with the breeze and the recurrent waterfalls for company. Freedom.
There’s a week-long beach festival starting in Nga Trang tonight and we were entertained by a posse of Harley’s and Kawasaki’s roaring past us to the festivities.
And, from our well placed hotel balcony, as Aarti and I watched the Nga Trang night sky explode with fireworks, we could not think of a more fitting finale to two memorable years in beautiful Vietnam.