Visions of Vietnam: Danang + Hue

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Thursday we boarded our bus for the Tan Son Nhut Airport to fly to Danang Airport. The flight was on time and uneventful. In Danang we boarded a bus for the short drive to Hoi An.

The airfield at Danang looked much the same as it did in 1970. Shacks with tin roofs lined up just on the other side of the security fences at the remote ends of the runways. The terminal, however, was new and modern.

As we crossed the river in downtown Danang, there were new bridges decorated with gold railings designed to resemble dragons.

We drove past Marble Mountain to the West and China Beach to the East and stopped to do a little shopping along the way.

Lunch was upstairs at the “Banana Leaf” restaurant.

We were right along the river with beautifully decorated bridges.

And the covered bridge made a great backdrop for wedding photos.

While the rest of the group went shopping, Pat and I found a quiet, secluded spot to sit down and have a beer.

In late afternoon we reboarded our bus and headed to the Victoria Hoi An Resort. This resort is right on the water but the shoreline is rocky. Clearly not fit for swimming. They did, however, have a very nice pool.

The rooms at the resort were a little unusual. There were only two rooms to a building and the showers were outdoors – enclosed and separated, but not covered. We found ourselves talking to our neighbors over the wall while showering.

Friday, January 23, 2015

After breakfast, we headed into town to Vy’s Market and Cooking School. We were to learn to prepare spring rolls.

But first, we had to board boats for a trip to the market. They wanted to show us where and how they buy the food they cook.

Below was our guide for the market visit.

I believe the market pictures speak for themselves.

Then is was back on the boat and return to Vy’s for our cooking class.

There was a large sign posted in the building explaining the government rationing of food from 1945 to 1990.

Finally, we went upstairs for our cooking class where we were taught how to make spring rolls. Clearly spring rolls are a staple in their diet. I think we had them available to us at every meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The rest of the afternoon was free. Pat and I enjoyed some time by the pool and another massage.

By now our body clocks were catching up with the Vietnam time zone. We enjoyed a nice dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It was 8:30 in the morning so it must be time to get back on the bus. This time we were destined for Hue, about a 3 hour drive to the North.

Our first stop in Hue was the Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh.

Emperor Khai Dinh ruled from 1916-1925. During the French colonial period, Western culture rapidly gained influence. Construction which took place between 1920 – 1931 took advantage of new innovations in art, technology and material. This structure is the most notable example of this synthesis.

After lunch, we continued our trip to the Citadel, the former capital of Vietnam surrounded by a moat.

There are many efforts underway to preserve or restore many of the buildings that were damaged by war or just the weather.

Note the shrub below trimmed to the shape of an elephant.

The golden dragon.

Following our tour of the Citadel, we boarded a boat for a brief ride on the Perfume River.

Following a brief visit to a market, we boarded our bus and checked into La Residence Hotel and Spa for the evening.

For dinner this evening, we were taken to a restaurant where we were all dressed in Vietnamese ceremonial garb. We elected one of our couples as King and Queen. This couple had been married for 55 years and deserved the honor.

They were seated at the head table.

Pat and I were also dressed for the occasion.

And here is the whole group.

The group below was our entertainment for the evening.

And here are the three former flight attendants.

Tomorrow we are flying to Hanoi.

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