Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sapa the last day 20th February 2012

What a difference a day makes...

It's a struggle to leave the warm duvet, knowing in all probability the weather hasn't changed from yesterday. Still pretty cold in the hotel, but needs must, biological if nothing else and eventually stumble down into reception. Sunshine, yes it's the sun and there's a mountain peak. Rush for the camera just since this might be a short lived glimpse of Sapa scenery. And it is as the place is enveloped once again in thick fog. It's the last day in Sapa, at least I've seen a mountain! Oh look, it's clearing again - sunshine, warm sunshine too.

Looks like the weather has broken into scattered clouds, those fair weather clouds seen in a British summer sky, not too often but has been known. Better get something to eat before making that search for the famous Sapa scenery that draws tourists from every continent. A vegetable curry, the best meal I've had in all Vietnam. so much, I can hardly finish it, good value for 30,000 vnd.

The only way is up, an it's easy to see which roads head that way. About 30 minutes hiking  reveals some rather nice rural scenes on one side, and towering mountains on the other. Great panoramic vistas at last! Mountains are still shrouded in mist but just enough light to make a good photograph, actually several hundred probably. Those white clouds roll up the valley, envelop the town then roll back down the valley again. This continues and is fascinating to watch the cycle of warming and cooling air currents. A couple of hours hiking from Sapa reveals stunning scenery, following a sign post to the Silver Waterfalls. It's warm, I need to loosen some layers the closer to the sun I get.  No waterfalls yet and really need to head back, don't want to miss the bus. It's quiet, no traffic except the odd motorbike.

Birds are tweeting, trees in blossom and it's warm. Heading down towards the town, looking out for refreshments. There is a market on varying levels accessed by steps. Quite an uphill hike from one end to the other. It's my first clear view of Sapa, mountains on all sides and loads of the ethnic hill tribes people adding a splash of colour, trying to sell their trinkets. Numerous hotels around, heating arrangements by negotiation as I discover from a couple of tourists paying $20 for their room. One street here seems to be dedicated to tourists as far as eating is concerned - it's same pricing as Hanoi, with plenty of Western cuisine on offer for around £4-5 a meal.

Bus go's at 6, better stock up with snacks, fresh from a local street bakery - 2 pasties content of which I couldn't figure out, and coconut bread, 75p the lot.

Within a couple of weeks I should be in a position to upload photos to accompany this report, so please look back for some stunning images.

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