Thursday, 26 December 2013

Nam Lik to Vientiane

Weds 25/12/13, 100km

Dave dropped off a pre-breakfast Christmas treat of a big of hot water and a sachet of Nescafe 3 in 1 coffee. Very nice start to the day! Breakfast itself was at eight and was nice with homemade bread and jam. And a single egg...

So, plan for the day was to head down to Highway 10 and use that as a more quiet route into Vientiane. Daniel (Australian cyclist) had mentioned road works on one section of Highway 10, however 13 does not sound like fun as it nears the city.

First we had to get to the highway. Armed with directions we set off. Had a few kilometres of well packed dirt road with the occasional bit of tarmac as we went through villages. We sang all the Christmas songs we knew (I need to brush up on the words to Slades Merry Christmas... can you believe Cindy and Dave had never heard it?!) as we rode and I wore my Santa hat.

Shortly before we came to the highway I came a cropper on an old wooden bridge and went sprawling. This normally wouldn't warrant a mention but for the fact that when I came to unclip my sandal from my pedal a little further on it wouldn't do so... Luckily I didn't fall over and with help from Dave we managed to free the sandal. Still, a new set of cleats was now needed.

Highway 10 started quietly and remained that way for a quite a while. If you're cycling this route Tha Lat/ Thinkeo looked a good place to stop. Lots of nice looking guesthouse close to the river with a lot eating options, roughly equidistant between Vientiane and Vang Vieng. A little while onto the road I made my farewells to Cindy and Dave as I was moving a tad faster than them.

Managed to get a good speed going down the road although I broke for a slap up feed of noodle soup for Christmas lunch. The road continued to be good, although with slightly more traffic until about 23km from the capital at which point it crossed a river and was suddenly a morass of roadworks. After 3km of this I consulted Google Maps and took a chance on a road branching off to my right (all I can remember is it was good asphalt and signposted for "Garment Factory No 2"). The chance paid off and I had a lightly trafficed road for the next 10km, bit of a dog leg through the university then a navigate to the city centre. Kept me off the busy highway though!

Found a posh hotel for Christmas, went out for food and wine and made merry. I vaguely recall beer and a pina colada were involved.

Ho ho ho
Dave photoboombing like a good 'un!
Christmas lunch 
First traffic light in 15 days
The bridge of doom (and skinned knees)
Well it is Christmas!


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