Cycle Tour round Veng Vieng
Vang Vieng Travel Blog› entry 188 of 206 › view all entries
Zoe was up earlier than I've ever seen today having totally misread her watch and jumped out of bed at 7am. I was slightly hungover and took my time preparing myself for our big day cycling. Oh yes. Watching all the motorcyles and bicycles in Asia I have craved the wind in my hair and the flies in my teeth so was eager to sign myself up to a 32km cycle round Veng Vieng. Dear lord. I don't think I've ever cycled 32km in my life so far, but something possessed me to try.
We cycled first about 8km to Poukham Cave, or
the Golden Crab cave. Here we spent some time by the beautiful blue lagoon
before setting off up the mountainside, a steep climb of about 200m up tree
roots and rocks to the cave entrance.
The cave floor evened out a bit though it was
still pretty frightening going with no torches between 2 of us and the uneven
rocks and steps.
Down at the lagoon cafe we were treated to
another (included) delicious lunch of rice and barbecue before setting off on
our bikes again, our bottoms finally having forgotten the agony of that
morning's bouncy ride. It wasn't long before they remembered though. The next
stint was another 12km on mostly flat, unsealed orange dirt road.
We stopped to guzzle litres of water at a
village producing silk products that are reputably cheaper here than anywhere
else they transport the goods to (obviously) but we were so sweaty and panting
that we could barely grunt or wave away the villagers eager to show off their
The final push back through the gorgeous countryside was only broken up by one welcome incident when Lion Guy Tim ducked a branch and his bike slid down the nearside ditch and he went rolling slowly over the handlebars. He was unhurt, but we all grabbed the chance to stop, drink, and ease off the pointy saddles and massage our bum cheeks into their normal shape. Finally after another few kilometres we rejoined a sealed road, and I thought our troubles would now be over as I (and my poor, sad bum cheeks) moved gratefully onto a flat surface. Oh no. The final 4 kilometres were too much for me, and I slipped from pole position back one by one, until each person was just a distant speck. My bum was agony, and my legs begged to be straightened, even just for a second, but I didn't trust my legs to have the strength to straighten balanced on a moving bike, or my stiff bottom to hold my heavy legs erect without crashing unceremoniously to the tarmac. Nor did I trust myself to stop, on the basis that I would never start again, and had too much pride to be seen walking back to town. After an interminable age I finally swung into the gravel 'bus station' (read: large expanse of gravel) and gladly cycled the last few minutes back to the bike's waiting owners.
Dusty, filthy with orange and sweating like beasts, our first port of call was ice cream from the Indian restaurant, before separating to shower and meet again at Xayoh restaurant in town. By this time Caroline and I had discovered we are both from Harpenden, coincidentally the 6th person I've met traveling from my home town, and found out she knows my best friend from Lacrosse. Really really teeny weeny world you know? We had a great evening chatting, though the food wasn't brilliant, and finally turned in around 9pm. I treated myself to a roti and a Lao massage before bed which was just what the doctor ordered. Lao massage is pretty practical, and this giggling, blushing girl manipulated my arms into bizarre positions, pumped my inner thighs with her feet, twisted my legs around and with some amusement tried to click my back and hips with some weird swaying supporting manouvre. My stiff body was having none of this and we both collapsed in giggles at the attempt.