Mount Blue State Park in Weld, Maine

Yesterday, with absolutely nothing to do, I packed my bike into the car and drove north to Weld, Maine where I went for a 43km bicycle ride through the hills in and surrounding Mount Blue State Park. The roads are excellent for cycling, undulating with some significantly steep climbs, and very little traffic. There are some dirt roads as well, but they are well maintained and not much danger for a road bike. Located in western Maine not too farRead more

Cycling in Western Maine

I’m in western Maine (Oxford-Norway region) for about five weeks enjoying the peace and quiet of the rural western woods and mountains. People don’t visit western Maine for any reason other than the outdoors: skiing, hiking, fishing, etc. And I’m finding there is no better way to see the beauty of the rolling hills and country farms than with two wheels beneath you. What better way could there be to pass the time?Read more

Hanoi in the rearview a.k.a Freedom.

Eight days ago I left Hanoi. Pulled a runner. Got paid on Wednesday and boarded a plane on Thursday. I never thought I’d be the man to do something like that, but I didn’t have a lot of options it seemed. You see, Hanoi, to me was essentially Dante’s seventh circle of hell. I don’t regret my decision to go but I certainly wish it had gone differently. When I first arrived in Hanoi I was immediately overworked. I’m talking onlyRead more

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Built in 1070, the Temple of Literature, which is dedicated to Confucius, was the first national university in Vietnam. The temple consists of five courtyards each with its own unique features and is one of the most important sites in Hanoi. It appears on the 100,000 VND bank note and also appears throughout the Hanoi as emblem of the city. It takes a significant amount of time to wander through the courtyards and read about the significance of the various buildings, sculptures, andRead more

Halong Bay

If northeastern Vietnam is defined by one thing and one thing alone, it is undoubtedly Halong Bay, one of the truly awe inspiring creations of either evolution or the hand of God, whichever you choose to believe in. The “Bay of Descending Dragons” contains approximately 2,000 karst towers that have been shaped for millennia, rising out of deep, sea-green and blue waters that teem with huge white jellyfish. I think everyone who visits Vietnam desires or attempts to make a trip to HalongRead more

Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam

Hoa Lu, located in Truong Yen Thuong Village, was the 10th and 11th century capital of Vietnam before the capital city was changed to Hanoi. Located about 90km south of Hanoi and quite near to Tam Coc, it is a good place to stop on a day trip to Ninh Binh. Many of the original buildings have been destroyed, but parts of the ancient city still remain and include two temples in honor of former emperors who ruled from Hoa Lu. TheRead more

Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Built on Ngu Nhac Mountain very near to Tam Coc outside Ninh Binh is Bich Dong Pagoda, which dates back to 1428. It consists of two separate pagodas that are built in ascending order over four different levels. Like many Vietnamese temples and pagodas, the pagodas are built of wood and are surrounded by various stone structures that show centuries of weathering and vegetation growth. If you follow the path behind Thuong, the second pagoda, and up the stairs you will find yourself in anRead more

Tam Coc, Ninh Binh

Tam Coc in Ninh Binh, located about two hours south of Hanoi, is one of the most astonishingly beautiful places I have ever visited. The name refers to the three caves carved through the karst towers by the Ngo Dong River. To get to Tam Coc I hired a private driver for three persons for $70 to pick us up at my house at 6:00 a.m. The reason for the early start is that Tam Coc is an increasingly popular tourist destinationRead more

Hoa Lo Prison a.k.a. The Hanoi Hilton

This morning I headed out to see the notorious Hoa Lo Prison, which was sarcastically nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton by American POWs. I didn’t know before the visit that the prison was actually built and used by the French colonists to house Vietnamese nationalists who opposed the French colonization. Today the prison is a rather lovely spot: air conditioned, wel lit, flowered, and well maintained. But it is clear to see that long ago it would have been a manifestationRead more

Coloane Village, Macau

On the southern end of Taipa, the smaller of Macau’s two islands, is the village of Coloane, a quaint little fishing village marked by brightly painted and ivied houses. A walk through the village doesn’t take long, but with a camera in hand it is easy to spend a couple hours wandering through the narrow alleys and walkways to photograph everything in sight. Unfortunately by camera battery died within 40 minutes of arriving and my charger was forgotten in Hanoi.Read more