I moved out of the rice fields in Tam Coc two districts over to Trang An, into a beautiful small moutain lodge perched on the Sao Khe river (parts of the river run through the grounds of my lodgings.) I thought I would be in the main lodge, but to my unexpected delight they gave me a little (almost treehouse-like) cabin of my own that overlooks two large karst hills.

My plans for going out to explore today are somewhat scarpered by a rain shower in the morning (only a start-stop drizzle by now, but I am fully aware that even at the best of times I have more optimism than warranted by actual skill when it comes to bicycling, let alone on wet and unfamiliar roads as now. Where Tam Coc was full of small, walkable country lanes and in town there were frequently pavements and I felt happy just padding along on my two feet and smiling cheerfully at the cyclists who pass me, here it is all uneven gravel paths leading out of the hillsides directly onto a (small) motorway on which walking is not an option and a cyclist of doubtful ability will find no road shoulders to pull up on in a pinch.) It is clear that I have lamentable lifeskills in this terrain and will have to get a taxi (oh woe!) once the rain (which has started up again) stops. I will report back anon.

(I hasten to say that it is no hardship if I stay indoors for the rest of my visit, because I am amply-provisioned with books and rainy days invite languorous indoor lounging, especially when this is my cabin and my view.) **