Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Walk Away Your Troubles

Ninh Binh, Vietnam 2008

A brand new bridge at the Trang An caves, Vietnam

August 2008, Ninh Binh:

It’s my first time in Vietnam and I’m on a mission to talk to as many artists and galleries as I can for the website Gallery Cyclo [still a work in progress]. But I’m tired. I’ve been hassled in Saigon, hustled in Hoi An, and had a moto driver try to mug me on a beautiful night in the ex-DMZ city of Danang. My knees and palms are still covered in scabs from jumping off his motorbike to keep my camera – and everything else – out of his hands.

Looking for a respite from the big cities, I take a few days off from artists and focus on a new photo series. I climb limestone karsts and pant my way into pagodas at the top. Visit a Chinese-style Catholic cathedral made famous by one of my favorite writers. A hotel receptionist hands me a map and says, “You should see these caves at Trang An, they’re not in the Lonely Planet.” Always a recommendation to follow.

My guide and I hop into a rickety wooden boat and are soon dodging stalactites in a massive inland lagoon. The caves are truly spectacular, and are unlike anywhere else I’ve been before or since.

More photos and descriptions over at ThingsAsian.

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