After getting a taste of the city life in Yangon, I was ready to turn down the tempo. Inle Lake with its lovely little villages, artisan crafts and rice fields was our next destination. We arrived at 6 am, checked in at the Lady Princess hotel (partly because of the name, partly because we all secretly had a crush on the receptionist, a woman with literally the biggest smile I have ever seen), rented bikes and rode through rice paddies until we realised we were going the wrong way. And this wouldn't be the last time.
After an amazing lunch of curry and extra plates of goodness covering the entire table, we decided the time had come for some serious wine tasting at the one and only vineyard in the area. Myanmar wine. We were curious and maybe a little bit too excited to see what it was all about. Imagine goon (shitty wine in a box), but then about ten times worse. It was hilarious. At least the view was stunning. As the sun was setting, we got back on the bikes. I'm still not sure whether it was the wine, the rain or the broken brakes, but only half of us made it back to Lady Princess in the ten minutes it actually took to get to the hotel. About an hour later, I found my way back and after two more minutes my roomie Els arrived.
We laughed and changed to dry clothes, ready to walk to the store for chocolate and chips. An early night with books and snacks was all we longed for after a long rainy bike ride. Instead we found a bar called One Owl Grill and that meant the end of our plan. Cocktails, pizza, humus, bruscetta, chocolate mousse with caramel sauce, it was like we hadn't seen Western food for years. We agreed we had to try everything on the menu. So the next couple of days, you know where we were at.
The next morning we hopped on a boat for a day
trip on the lake. Mountains, temples, fishermen, floating gardens and villages, long neck women, traditional cigarette factory, lotus weavers, young monks, markets, my eyes could hardly keep up. Catching a glimpse of life on the water was fascinating, but I did feel like the ultimate tourist. Every stop was a souvenir shop in disguise. Still it was a nice experience. The village next to the lake is the place that stole a piece of my heart, though. Surrounded by beautiful nature, on the bike, the balcony or the terrace of the bar, I enjoyed every second in that area. Many travellers do a trek from Kalaw to Inle, another reason to go back to Myanmar, one day. :)