If a thing’s worth doing…

it’s worth doing by bike.

On my second day in Manila I decided, as is my wont, to take a guided tour of one of the main sites: Intramuros, the remains of the Spanish colonial Philippines (or Felipines, after Spanish King Felipe II, anglicised to Philip during the American colonial era) and the heart of modern Manila.

An abandoned Japanese cannon from WW2

An abandoned Japanese cannon from WW2

The old customs house - vast fortunes mined from the American colonies passed through here.

The old customs house – vast fortunes mined from the American colonies passed through here.

Monument to national hero, renaissance man Jose Rizal.

Monument to national hero, renaissance man Jose Rizal.

As a poor backpacker, I have previously avoided tours unless they were either free, very cheap, or really essential for any understanding of what I was looking at. I also hate the idea of being on a prescribed schedule and being shown stuff other people have decided is interesting. However, in recent (and more affluent) years, I have relaxed into the joy of discovering small stories I would never have known about without the expert knowledge of a local guide, and so on each big holiday I’ll generally look something up for an area of interest to me.

This was my second bicycle tour this year, and so I’m going to focus today not particularly on what I learned about the Intramuros area of Manila, but on what I learned about booking tours – particularly on bikes. More


Miss Saigon

and I’ll miss Shanghai, and I’ll also miss the numerous places I saw in Cambodia. It’s been a great holiday, but, like all good things, it has come to an end. A day early, in fact, but that is the topic for a different blog.

The final day was a sobering one for me as I had decided to reserve it for a trip to the notorious Toul Sleng prison, S-21, the Khmer Rouge interrogation centre which provided the many thousands of mutilated bodies found in the killing fields of Cheung Ek. This provided for a harrowing afternoon in probably the most sparse but most grim museum I’ve ever visited. More

Holiday in Cambodia

Splendour of the Khmer empire

The great thing about travelling and blogging is that you always have plenty to write about. The terrible thing about blogging and travelling is that you are so busy doing interesting things that it’s difficult to find the time to write about them. Fortunately, the weather forecast currently reads, “hotter than the innermost circle of hell, wetter than an octopus’ garden” so there’s some quality hiding-from-the-sun / rain down time.

The ‘Eyes of the Mekong’ Fishing boats along the river in Vietnam are traditionally decorated with these curious eyes.

I arrived in Cambodia five days ago by boat along the famed Mekong river, making this the fourth country I’ve arrived in by boat, ship or ferry, and the second iconic waterway I’ve taken an extended voyage on to reach a destination (rather than sailing along for excursion purposes) the first one being the Amazon. This was a very different experience.


Feathered friends

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