Our pick up was due at 8am on Wednesday 12th February and I had to take more Imodium just to make the journey while one of the Geckos said hello! Captain Caveman had arranged for us to share a car to Dong Hoi where we had plans for an early valentine’s treat. We went to a nice little place, called Sherlyn Coffee, next to the Vincom centre to wait for the cinema to open as we were off to see Harley Quinn at 09:45am.

We shared a popcorn and I had a coke to try to help my stomach and it seemed to work, the film was ok and I really enjoyed the comfy seats – we were the only ones in there too. We intended to drop off our bags at the hotel after the film but when we got to the Vinpearl (next door) they were able to check us in early. All the staff were wearing masks to prevent catching the Corona virus, we had to complete a form which asked if we had had any symptoms in the last 2 weeks and as we went to the lift there was a guy taking our temperature with one of those gun things pointed at our foreheads. I read 35.5° and Captain Caveman 35.8° so I was officially cooler than him! The hotel room was lovely and this time the pool was in working order but I didn’t take my swimmers.

For lunch we had our usual trip to Tree Hugger, easily the nicest cafe in Dong Hoi and, while Captain Caveman engaged in a white russian, I stuck to fruit juice and herbal tea. He devoured the egg sandwiches while I took my time over my stir-fry. We spent the afternoon at the museum of Quang Binh which was surprisingly interesting and big, it took us a couple of hours to get round it. We walked back, calling at the wine shop for a few bottles to take back to Phong Nha.

In the evening, after dosing up on some medication from the pharmacy, we went to our favourite restaurant in Dong Hoi. 7th Heaven has the best Australian beef in the area and we had a lovely valentine’s meal sat up on the terrace, as it was a warm evening. It’s definitely worth a trip there if you’re visiting Dong Hoi – it’s our favourite restaurant. We shared a bottle of red wine and I had my steak with sweet potato fries and no dressing on the salad – it was delicious.
Back at the hotel we decided to watch Netflix and drink some of our newly purchased wine. By the time the first episode of Hannibal was halfway through Captain Caveman was snoring away and he hadn’t even drank his wine!

I slept so well in that massive Vinpearl hotel bed with its comfy pillows and the blackout curtains. On Thursday 13th February we ate the buffet breakfast on the 6th floor, where all the staff were wearing masks but none of the guests (including us) were. My stomach was feeling much better so I managed to eat pineapple, pomelo, pho ga with bamboo shoots and extra pickled onions, bacon, cheese, a yogurt and some seafood fried rice. I had mint tea and lots of detox water to make sure I would be ok for the journey back to Phong Nha. Captain Caveman looked concerned that I was eating prawn fried rice in case they had slipped in a mollusk! Back in the room Captain Caveman had a bath while I packed my stuff as we were getting a car to take us back to Phong Nha.
When we got back we finished off our early Valentine’s celebration with a curry at Namaste with Josh. I had my usual bhuna murg with garlic rice and shared the chai masala with Josh, always a good meal there and we went early so that Captain Caveman could get to his Oxalis briefing for 6pm. Tomorrow, actual Valentine’s Day, he would be in Son Doong so we finished off the wine we had brought from Dong Hoi to end our celebration.

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