The route : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/177002818
The chat: Feeling perky after a mere 60km yesterday, with adrenaline flowing after a rather heated argument with a cheating witch who charged us 4 times the going rate for a cup of cold instant coffee (these disagreements are becoming increasingly regular, and increasingly infuriating in Vietnam) we were excited to tackle the 1500m climb from Lao Cai to Sapa. While Andy was sadistically excited at the prospect of spending 4 enjoyable hours sweating up a 10% gradient road, I was more excited about the prospect of tarte au chocolat and hot showers we had heard awaited us at the top.
The climb itself wasn’t too bad – it was just long, and steep, and unrelenting. Fortuitously for every 100m climbed I could hear the chocolate brownies calling my name a little more loudly – excellent motivation to make it to the top, even when it started raining. The views were unsurprisingly pretty magnificent, and we wound through villages of hill tribes staring at us as we crawled past.
Arriving in Sapa cold and wet, we headed straight to one of the best cafes in town for some Guardian readers food – butternut squash burgers with parmesan. The tandem waiting outside was generating quite a lot of attention, and by the time we reluctantly left we had to run the gamut of 20 Hmong women who couldn’t seem to decide whether they were more interested in our tandem, or in selling us overpriced tourist handicraft tat – they settled for the latter.
The evening was spent in a rooftop bar shivering in fleeces ( a pleasantly novel sensation) and sipping G+Ts as we watched the sun set over the mountains. A great reward for a tough morning.