These two days were mainly driving through Laos along the Mekong River with no specific planned stops. However the local villages we passed through were wonderful.

As Laos’s celebrating their new year with New years day being Friday, most were having festive celebrations with family. Their parties spread out into the street and loud music accompanied their partying. Water is a large part of their celebrations and along the road you could see the small children playing in wading pools and the older ones throwing water at the cars and motor bikes that passed by. This is related to blessings that are received when perfumed water is sprinkled on the buddhas and each other at the temples.

In addition to our morning tea stops there was one unplanned stop as “Shiraz” Mike and Kay’s car had a flat tire. This became a luncheon stop as the tire was changed.

A good hotel once more in Thakhek on the banks of the Mekong. Nearby was the ferry port for those arriving from Thailand.

On New Years day, as we approached Vientiane we visited the Buddha park instead of driving out there the following day. This was interesting…large concrete buddhas created in 1958. Many people were sprinkling perfumed water on them to receive blessings. Driving into Vientiane our car was sprayed with water, dye and some flour. Occasionally we were not quick enough to close our windows and became very damp. Of course unlike many cars driving through our only air conditioning is to open the window!
Arriving in Vientiane we enjoyed a swim and then a local meal nearby.

P.S. Ian wants to report that the engine idle problem has been solved by eliminating air getting into the manifold via a hose leak. Idling beautifully now!

Posted in Vulcan on Tour

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Wine and More Wine – OleBilbao OLD and NEW Monday dawned sunny and warm and we headed down to the Guggenheim Museum, even though it is closed we wanted to relish the slick titanium skin, contrasted against the smooth pale limestone blocks. Everything glistened in the bright morning sun, reflections of the curved surfaces bounced off the water surrounding the metal walls and the metallic sculptures in the forecourts around the Guggenheim. Did you know that every surface in the building is curved and there are no straight lines thus emphasising the organic flowing lines of this magnificent Frank Gehry masterpiece Tomorrow we’ll visit this amazing museum along with our Silk Road companions Pat and David who we are travelling with around Spain and Portugal in our trusty MGs. Hop on and off buses have always been a favourite and quick way of acquainting ourselves with a city. We cruised around the narrow streets enjoying the views from the top deck. We were diverted by police a few times into the back streets because of a rally of thousands of people marching along the main thoroughfare of the city. Red, white and Green flags and banners waving, fire crackers exploding, releasing clouds of smoke. How We hopped off a The Mercado de la Ribera one of the largest fresh food markets in Europe and we arrived just in time for some Pintxos which we enjoyed with a beer and Sangria. So many delicious sweet and savoury munchies to choose from – what a treat!

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