leaving again

Re-returning to Vietnam – so new and so familiar

Traffic. Traffic is terrible in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It’s been about 14 months since I was here last and I swear it feels like traffic has gotten worse – or maybe I’ve just forgotten.

Amy has forgotten how to drive here. She rented a motorbike and drove out. 20 mintues later she was back – she wasn’t able to cross the roads in this chaotic city. Red lights are taken as suggestions. You must be constantly aware of your surroundings.

After less than 24hours we’re ready to leave this city.

Vietnam, the place where you can get a Pho for a dollar and a freshly made pineapple juice for 50 cents.

Da Nang. The pearl of Vietnam. Where the traffic police isn’t corrupt and where the streets are clean. Good food, good people, amazing beaches and weddings by the dozen. We’ve established ourselves, got upgraded to an appartment with two rooms and a kitchen. Life is good

I got on a motorbike for the first time in a year – shaky at first but I’m getting the hang of it again. Traffic is nowhere near as bad in HCMC but still – rush hour in the city center – not for everyone.

 

I’ve spent the first part of this post talking about traffic. It says something about the impact it leaves on you. But there are other things…

When you come here you’ll see everything from “hamburger bros” selling western style burgers to local places serving pipefish, ostrich, pork belly and other local delicacies. Where you can point at the fish while it’s still alive and you can make sure the food is fresh.

The place where you can get a Pho for a dollar and a freshly made pineapple juice for 50 cents.

An hour massage will set you back about $12.

Vietnam, where the toilet doubles as both the laundry room for the family, and where the dishes are washed for the guests. Where you learn some perspective about what hygiene is. In western culture we’re obssessed with cleanliness.

 

All of the above and many more things is why I love Vietnam. It’s like I feel at home here but it also feels like I’ve been away for a decade. It’s so vastly different from my home culture. When I’m driving on my motorbike with Amy on the back I’ve got a sensation of freedom and fear in equal parts. Of adventure and uncertainty.

 

Oh, how I’ve missed the joy of open-ended long term travelling. It’s good to be on the road again

 

What Were We Thinking (and other ramblings)

Lavender, France
From our trip to the lavender fields of France

A few months ago (who can remember exactly when), we decided to go on another trip.
I, Thor, wanted to see the rest of the world (south america and Antarctis). Both Amy and I wanted to visit friends and family.
At some point Amy has to have some continuity and get a career in Denmark and at some point we will make a family and then it’s hard to travel long-term.

Not now, though. Not now. Now it’s easy. Amy and I both quit our jobs and on a rainy day in August 2018 we took a plane to Vietnam. (And that answers the title question:))

We just came back from 10 days on Iceland – and what a blast!

Looking forward, at this point in time, we knew that we would be heading to Vietnam to plan our wedding July, 2019 and to visit Amy’s family. I’d be meeting her parents for the first time. Gasp!

We also knew we’d be going to Indonesia for a work opportunity.

Japan was on the itinerary to visit my, now, good friend JJ who was doing a sheep show there and my Niece, Tyra, who was doing half a year of study abroad on her asian studies degree

Finally, since this was also our honeymoon, we had (one-way) tickets to HawaiiUSA.

 

After this we’d be going to central America, Guatemala, South America, Antarctics. Possibly – plans change.

 

All this and home for christmas… or in january…

 

Keep looking back at this page. We’ll try to keep it updated. As well as on social media

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Also follow my pursuit of weight loss (sorry it’s in danish)

 

Thor and Amy!

Monaco and Liechtenstein has been checked off

Europe was once ridden with independent mini-countries but now only a few remain: the mini-states of Andorra, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein as well as the city-states of Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City with the latter serving as the Catholic Pope’s residency.

During my latest and current roadtrip (I’m writing this from Portugal) we passed through first Liechtenstein and then Monaco. Both are interesting places!

Europe was once ridden with independent mini-countries but now only a few remain: the mini-states of Andorra, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein as well as the city-states of Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City with the latter being the serving as the Catholic Pope’s residency.

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is a country about 25km’s long, making it large, as far as mini-states go. It is situated in the mountainous Alpes between Switzerland and Austria.

We arrived here at 1am and looked around. Even in the dark moon-light, you can feel the charm of this city with winding roads and small shops.

High above the centre of Vaduz (the capital) is visible a highly picturesque castle. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to go inside the castle (even during the day) as it is a private residence. The prince of Liechtenstein – Liechtenstein is a Monarchy – still lives there.

Furthermore, it has excellent winter sport capabilities and has through a long period of time served as a billionaire tax haven. However, in the recent years, the country is no longer blacklisted as a tax-haven but still bolsters the highest GBP per capita in the world (meaning everyone living here is filthy rich!).

The castle in Vaduz, Liechtenstein where the Prince lives
The castle in Vaduz (capital of Liechtenstein) at night. The castle is not small. It stretches far behind what is visible here including several (modern) wings.

Monaco

Of the two, Liechtenstein gives off a secluded private haven in the mountains best suited for people wanting to take a break from an otherwise hectic lifestyle, while Monaco gives off a vibe of all the things your mom says you shouldn’t waste your money on: cars, girls, yachts and casinos.

Monaco is a city state located on prime real-estate on the French Riviera overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It is about 3.5km’s long, meaning that it’s basically just a bay and that you can see from one side to the other from the beach (or from your yacht if you prefer). This makes it the second smallest and densest country in the world.

Monaco, like Liechtenstein, is a monarchy with a sovereign Prince as head of state with immense political power. It’s noteworthy that a single house, the house of Grimaldi, has ruled Monaco (with brief interruptions) since 1297! While Liechtenstein has the highest GDP in the world, Monaco comes in at a close second.

The reason for this are favourable tax laws, luring wealthy people from all over the world to the country as well as a sprawling gambling industry started with the opening of the famous (or infamous) Monte Carlo casino in 1863.

With exuberant social persons, quiet philantropists, casinos and the charming French Riviera combined with agreeable weather this place is currently a very lively place with all of walks of life enjoying their existence here. You’ll see helicopters in the sky and yachts floating outside the coast (all private, of course) topped off with an all you can eat buffet of expensive cars.

You’ll see more exotic cars (new and old) within a day here than at any car conventions I’ve been to. If that picture doesn’t convince you, consider this: at any time and at any place – if you look around you’ll see a car worth turning your head for.

Of the two, Liechtenstein gives off a secluded private haven in the mountains best suited for people wanting to take a break from an otherwise hectic lifestyle, while Monaco gives off a vibe of all the things your mom says you shouldn’t waste your money on: cars, girls, yachts and casinos.

Monaco with monte carlo casino, yachts and beach
Monaco seen from above. You can see the Monte Carlo Casino and one of the monstrous yachts in the background. There’s a beach behind there as well