Ninh Binh’s beauty
If you travel about two hours south of Hanoi you will find yourself in a very different environment. The hectic pulse of the city seems to have disappeared and made place for a far more serene environment. People familiar with Halong Bay will compare the landscape with that of the UNESCO site. Only the boats and hordes of tourists lack in Ninh Binh. Rural life seems to be the heartbeat of this area in northern Vietnam. People working the fields, cattle gracefully strolling on the roadsides and crops growing in between the limestone karst formations. As beautiful as the landscape is, the beauty of Ninh Binh may not be its surroundings. Its real beauty seems to lie in the heart of the people that make Ninh Binh their home.
Lakes, Grottoes and Limestone Karsts
I move around on my motorbike over small paths and roads not necessarily mapped on any of the maps I collected. The urge to stop and take in the atmosphere and scenery overpowers me at every chance I can get. Each little road I see, I want to turn onto. Curiosity has taken over and in this landscape that does not push me to rush or do anything I do not feel like doing, I follow my feeling and make the turns I would normally not take. Turns that would always end up with another remarkable view of an incredible hill. Standing in between all these limestone hills, can make you feel tiny.
The hills harbor many grottoes. Some of these grottoes are accessible while others remain hidden. It reminds me of a headline I read a few years back, which fascinated me, that a group of scientists had discovered the longest caves in the world. These caves linked Vietnam and Laos underground. This would be an area just like that to find this underground paradise, but do I dare to look for it? The lakes complete the pretty scenery and showcase reflections of the limestone hills and the clouds. All together it is hard to imagine a more beautiful place I would like to be.
A day in the life of …
The places we see and the things we do… they are all remarkable in their own way. Sometimes it is hard to imagine what life would be like if you would life in that particular place. While i was observing the life of a group of farmers in the distance, a man approached me. He was just interested in who I was, what I did and where I was from. He insisted I took a picture of him, not having any clue he would be part of this blog. If I would show him this blog with his picture, what would he say?
No matter how pretty the surroundings were, I found it hard to picture myself living there. From observation I could tell that life was hard. People work in agriculture and depend on the Gods to give them favorable weather conditions. It may not be for me but I admire those who live through it day in and out. Leaving Ninh Binh was not easy as I felt I needed to dig deeper to understand its origin. But I left with great respect for its nature and its people. A remarkable adventure I would recommend all of you to undertake.