Day 11: 90km. A perfect day of cycling. After a night spent listening to the sound of waves crashing on the beach we set off on our final leg to Huê. The road had changed somewhat from our map and now the highway coursed under the hills instead of over. We intended to take the old mountain roads but missed the turning for the first one so took a pedestrian walkway through a short tunnel instead. Dusty and loud. The second hilly route was much better. Zooming back down to the coast gave me goosebumps of happiness – this is exactly what we came here to do! Every other house by the side of the road had a still made from an oil barrel with a metal cone secured on top with mud. A smokey fire underneath completed the Breaking Bad impression. We think they were making whiskey-strong rice wine.
A few navigational errors later (helpful locals gesticulating wildly in opposite directions to each other) we were on the small coastal road we wanted. We were glad of the suspension on the bikes. The road was as I had imagined cycling here would be: single tracked, weaving through paddy fields with water buffaloes grazing and women in pointed hats. The road took us along a narrow spit of land between sea and lagoon. The area was filled with villages interspersed with graves and enormous ornate shrines. We passed a funeral procession of men in smart white tunics and white headbands. Their vehicles had a red cross right on the windscreen. Music so loud that the whole village knew about it.
Later, we passed food sellers with wood burning stoves built-into the back of their bikes. We finally arrived in Huê after a small child attempted to ride on the back of my bicycle along with my luggage! I think he wanted the Haribo but I needed them for the final 10km. It was a long day in the sun. Frustratingly we discovered the suntan lotion we bought in Cambodia didn’t work despite applying it hourly. Cambodia strikes again, not a country either of us will be keen to visit again!