A Merry Christmas to everyone! We have spent a delightful Christmas day in Luang Prabang. Surprisingly Santa did not forget us and brought great presents. Max got a new innertube, Ellie a brake-cable and I got a set of brake pads. Thanks Santa!! And we had a wonderful day ride to a Buffalo farm. It is a really cool project. Buffalos are traditionally mot milked in Laos, despite it is highly nutritious and could help to lower the rate of malnourished children (50% of rural children are malnourished here). This project tries to change that a bit and also produces the tastiest cheeses and ice-creams you could wish for.
Luang Prabang is all what expected. Very touristy and outrageously pretty. I like it. There is no loud Karaoke tourism, all is a bit subtle and there is still a healthy amount of “normal” life. I love the architecture. A great mix of colonial and traditional Laos architecture, with many beautiful temples. We reside, because it is Christmas, in an old colonial building in a leafy suburb. We love it.
To come to here, we had to tackle a few delightful days on our bikes. It was not the promised “flat stages”, but we agreed on undulated. The riding was pretty, partly along the river Ou, which is being heavily dammed in the moment. Apparently nearly all of the produced electricity is being exported to Thailand. The raising water levels have made some villages disappear and at one point we saw just the tip of a temple out of the water. Reminded me of the church tower at the Rechensee in Itlay. I like the riding in the countryside here. There is so much going on, everywhere. Misty mornings, people are busy, fishing, gardening and doing all kinds of stuff and very friendly and curious. There are 100s of Sabadee every day and wherever we stop we are surrounded by people, even if Max is just reapplying sunblock (See photo). We had truly relaxed riding days without any dramas… well nearly. The route we took was not very well served by guesthouses and one day it got late, and we did not see anything to sleep, when this nice little, very basic guesthouse appeared out of the nothing. Next to the river, quiet, dirt-cheap, with some nice owners and a restaurant next door. Great luck!!! Unfortunately, the Restaurant was not open, so we wandered the streets to find a place to eat. Like always we did not know what we ordered. And like so often the owner left to buy ingredients after we ordered. Anyhow, a great meal followed, and we were ready to rest these sore bodies. What followed was the night of hell, as the “closed” restaurant was in reality a Karaoke bar that opened at 10pm and our little guesthouse turned into a brothel….. But we took it quite relaxed and sometimes I wish I was a bit more social and just get out of bed in these situations with a big sigh, say “ a f… it” and join in, singing loud and badly “griechischer Wein” from Udo Juergens.