Tuesday, 22 July 2008

A Morning Aboard Ship in Halong

We woke up to some pretty amazing views .. I could have been quite happy sailing around the bay for a few more days but time was short and we were due to board a train to Hue that evening from Hanoi. Ahhh... but it was so peaceful, so calm... I could really get used to this...

We were provided with a morning snack before going off to tour some caves. We were each given a plate of an assortment of mini pastries. Jo's plate above had (clockwise from top) a dinky croissant, a pain au raisin and a muffin. My plate held (clockwise from top) tiny pain au chocolat, a pain au raisin and a flower shaped concoction.

The pastries were ultra buttery and just sweet enough to keep me going before we went cave exploring. The flower shaped pastry turned out to be short crust pastry topped with sweetened grated coconut. Good thing this dinky little thing ended up on my plate - Jo isn't very fond of coconut :)

The caves were pretty darn amazing but let down by the hordes of tourists whose only mode of communicating with each other was by shouting, camera flashes going off every two seconds and staff from the boat reminding us to move on (to ensure we followed their rigid timetable). Ahhh..complains ;) I can only imagine what this place is like at peak season! My photos from the caves are pretty fuzzy but I refused to use my flash in there but I did get this photo overlooking the bay as we were leaving. Pretty amazing, huh?

Back on board, we were served some proper, filling breakfast before we disembarked. This time it was buffet style (yay!!) and I got myself a slice of ham, some toast (which looked like it needed a bit longer in the toaster), half a grilled tomato, baked beans, a few slices of grilled sausages, a weeny bit of bacon and a slice of smoked salmon with 4 capers :D It wasn't too bad - standard breakfast fare. I went overboard with dinner the night before (dim lighting + hungry tummy = fuzzy photos..hehe) and I had to calm down a little for breakfast.

Their offer of a local speciality was pho bo - rice noodles in a clear beef broth with thinly sliced beef, garnished with coriander, sweet basil, spring onion, chillies and lime. The broth was nice, delicate and refreshing rather than the usual in your face beefy goodness. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would probably have gone back for some more if a) I hadn't eaten so much the night before b) the dining room wasn't so small, with so few of us that I felt the staff were counting how many trips I made to get some food.

Some fruit (watermelon, orange, pear) to make myself feel as if I've eaten something healthy that day and some chocolate cake to un-do all the goodness of the fruit :D The chocolate cake was quite light, almost fluffy with a dash of butter cream in the middle and a spread of chocolate ganache over the top.

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