When it comes to historical edifices and their restoration, there’s a sweet spot – a fine line between completely ruined and completely rebuilt which is difficult to exactly trace. At least, there is for me. Sadly, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu missed the line by a country mile.
I arrived at Ninh Binh train station from Hanoi as the sun was dropping out of a hazy sky. I had the general intention that I wanted to rent a motorbike and find a homestay (the Vietnamese name for a hostel), but that’s about as far as my plan went.