SAPA: second day OFF the beaten tracks among the remote villages

Following my previous post for the first day of trekking, for completion I dedicate this post for the second day of SaPa adventure 🙂

First of all, the home-stay where we slept was nicely arranged for us foreigners and I was surprised since they even had a western toilet with shower (my guess is that they would not have the same toilet in other houses/shelters in the village), the reason behind that is that they cooperate with Sapa O’ Chau tour which is one of the most reliable and best rated tour agent in SaPa and besides that, Sapa has become a popular destination nowadays. However, be sure that if you ever end up sleeping at a casual house in such villages you could never expect a western toilet! The experience in Indonesia (Flores) taught me something.

Secondly, like in every village the morning starts very soon, at 5am you can already observe ‘women at work’ taking care of the chickens, goats and cows already awoken, and myself I caught the chance to get up to record the scenery during the sun-raising , after that I just returned to the bed to sleep a bit more. Finally we all got up around 7:30am to enjoy the offered breakfast and get ready to set off.

Not until we started off, we had to trek further up to a steep hill on a muddy trail, despite the conditions of the trails local people ventures to get through by scooter, I could imagine how often they break the suspensions 😀

When we arrived at the top-point of Soi Thau village there were two kids playing with each other and smiling to us like to say ‘Welcome aliens!’

Once we reached the top point, the trail upfront looked at our eyes long and well-distributed throughout the immense landscape, compared to what we had to trek the day before this was a way easier, after one hour of trekking we got to pass through a weak water-stream originated by a small waterfall see the picture below:

Water pool in-between the trail

it was nothing impressive, we stop by to record some scenery around, then when we continued, we finally got to trek gradually upper and upper, the trail itself had been carved along the perimeter of the hills and it was wide enough so that we were fully-safe 🙂

at one point we end up passing one more farm house, as aliens we said ‘xin chao‘ to the local guy outside the house, however he did not react: our tour guide Su explained us that most of them are rather shy with the aliens and therefore they will barely react, in addition there is the title of the tour itself ‘OFF the beaten track’ 🙂 During the first day of the tour I made an estimation that we met max. three more foreigners who probably were with another tour guide, other than that no one more was around. See below the surrounding scenery 🙂

At one point we arrived at the top point of the last hill, and after that we only experienced downhill, the more we were getting down and more we started observing more and more houses which was the sign we were slowly approaching the semi-rural life, at one house in the outdoor space there were five kids who were fighting to drink from a bottle of water, it was just funny to observe them how cute as well as ‘naughty’, see below:

Here at this point our trekking turned into a walking down to the village of Ta Giang Phing, because we end up being on concrete narrow road which meant the beginning of the conventional civilization had taken over 😦 all the second day trekking lasted about four and half hours.

We stop at a typical open-air Vietnamese tavern to enjoy a pork noodle soup spice with lime, chili and mint!

All in all, this is an experience I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to get away from the agitation of the conventional civilization, it is worthy for the money, moreover if personally I were to travel back to SaPa, I would surely go for a motorbike tour off the beaten track.

As for the tour agent trips, check out their website here below:
http://sapaochau.org/sapa-trekking-and-homestay/

Any remark is welcomed!

Giuseppe

ITALY, low Piedmont: hilly countryside with viticulture and culinary BIO-farm food.

Dear explorers,
the autumn is now started, so I am here to dedicate this (first) post about my home-country.                                                                                                                                          When it comes to Italy, someone might be thinking ton of things such as nature, food, drinks, fashion, arts and so on. However, I will just focus your attention on a specific tiny area of Italy which is probably not-so known by everybody but still it would be 100% worthy to spend free-time by forgetting the routine of the urban life.

The low Piedmont, more in specific the province of Asti as shown above is known to have the largest number of red-wine producers as well as a number of BIO-food farmers, besides that, it is also challenging for enjoying outdoor sports such as mountain-biking  and running, and because I firmly believe that the real life is a balance between sports and healthy food, this area of Italy would likely 90% fulfill such a goal 😉

Below there are three pictures showing the scenery as well as the trail:

As a first thing, while in my living Country Slovakia the cold autumn got started since few days before leaving, here in Italy I was nicely greeted with such a pleasant warm weather which has been almost like summer with +25 during the day.

Secondly, from the Mt-biking perspective, the trail was like dry soil beaten by tractor which is a way more challenging on the up-going parts then especially if your MTB is not provided with tick wheels like a the ones of a fat bike, as a result for the first time I ended up pushing my bicycle half-way up to the top wine hill. Both pictures above and video below represents the surrounding landscape of San Paolo Solbrito, and right on that that the Real-feel temperature was of +28C, indeed it was like in the summer.

Coming to the culinary aspects, here there is lot of variety to mentions and I am not pretty sure whether I could cover off such a tough topic 😀

One sunshiny day, I enjoyed a BIO-farm food shopping and I ended up being at the BIO-farm store named ‘Pijte ‘L Piasì‘ better knows as ‘Anzienda agricola Gilli’, they just have the Facebook page which I have mentioned below:

https://it-it.facebook.com/PIJTE-L-PIASI-Az-Agricola-Gilli-177356392404491/

As you enter this place, you will realize straightaway that here you have the embarrassment of choice which goes from the fresh cured meats, gastronomy until the organic green vegetables.

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Every single thing bought in here comes from their own family BIO-farm GILLI and I can ensure you that it worths for every single €uro you spend out of your pockets, IE the reversed nine test was with fresh full-fat milk that I have been enjoying it over the breakfast time, normally I do not put up easily with the full-fat milk but this one I always digest it with no issue. On the other hand you are supposed to consume it preferably within three days as you freshly bought it.

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In conclusion, having my parents living in this countryside are since quite some years I have become knowledgeable and I noticed that more and more of this BIO-farm producers have also arranged budget B&B accommodation which could give to some curious foreign visitors a great experience by stepping into such this countryside which is just 35km away from Turin.

Should you need for any recommendation, do not hesitate to contact me or just leave a comment.

Few more posts will shortly follows this one 😉