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Published: June 11th 2017
Lori and Susan heading out for dinner
Wearing our new clothes bought in Hoi An
The day started early with Susan and I meeting some of the group at 6:30 this morning for a bicycle ride around Hoi An. It was a nice morning, and we had a fun ride. It was good to get some exercise, and to see the pretty scenery around Hoi An. I tried to take some photos while riding, but soon gave up as it was too difficult to watch where I was going, keep my balance on the somewhat rickety bike, not run into one of the many motorbikes who passed us, and take photos too! There were a lot of water buffalo and I particularly remember one scene I was unable to photograph. There was a big water buffalo in a field surrounded by many fairly large white birds, with one bird riding on the back of the water buffalo. So cool to see.
We got back to the hotel at 7:45, showered, had breakfast, and finished packing up to meet the group for our 9:30 departure. I had a bit of time, and considering the time difference the time was right, so I took the opportunity to call Mom and Dad in Victoria. Hi Mom and Dad,
it was great to talk to you! We will call again when the timing works out. Glad the kitchen renos are going well; send us some photos.
We left the hotel at 9:30 and all of us were sad to leave Hoi An. We all enjoyed our time here a lot. Remember I mentioned I bought a silver necklace shaped like a Vietnamese conical hat? Well, it was quite popular with several members of our group, and two of them went out this morning to the jewellery store where I got it, and bought their own (Michelle got a smaller pendant, and Andy got earrings).
Oh yes, last evening we all went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate Michelle's birthday. It was a fun evening and she said it was the best birthday she's ever had.
So, back to today. The drive from Hoi An to Hue took about 4 1/2 hours including stops. We drove back through the beaches and resorts of Danang, then through China Beach, which was very pretty. It is illegal to call it China Beach in Vietnam and if any brochure or advertisement refers to it by that name the company
Lori at dinner
I had a "Miss Hanoi" cocktail. Yumm.
gets fined. The official name is Mye Khe Beach. It was named China Beach by American troops on R&R during the Vietnam War, so I guess that's why the Vietnam government doesn't like the name.
We then headed up over the Hai Van Pass. This was quite spectacular scenery, but because it was a very hazy day the photos don't do it justice. The road had many switchbacks and we kept climbing higher and higher. We stopped for photos at a particularly scenic spot, then a bit later we stopped at a kind of citadel which was damaged during the Vietnam War. I think this was the site of a big battle during that war.
We continued, with a quick stop for iced coffee and happy loo, and we got to Hue about 1:30 or 2. We had lunch at the Mermaid Cafe. Susan and I shared a savoury pancake (called Banh Khoai) which is a speciality of the area and I had pumpkin soup and Susan had beef noodle soup. We tried two local beers, Festiva and Huda (Festiva was much better).
After lunch we toured the Imperial Citadel. Hue was the former Imperial capital of
Susan at dinner
She had the same cocktail.
Vietnam and the Imperial Citadel was built between 1805 and 1832. Inside the Citadel is the Forbidden Purple City, which was home to Vietnam's emperors. Unfortunately much of the Citadel was badly damaged or destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. So although the Citadel isn't that old, much of it has been lost entirely.
It was interesting touring the Citadel but it was a lot of walking and we had had an early morning and it was really humid this afternoon, so we were all wilting a bit. It wasn't particularly hot, but it was really humid.
We got to our hotel, the Gold Hotel, about 5:15, and had till 7:15 when we met for dinner. We settled into our room and I worked on the blog.
This evening we did something different for dinner. We went to a local family's house for a traditional meal. Unfortunately Susan wasn't feeling well so she didn't go. A few other members of our group were not feeling too well either. It seems a lot of us have had some sort of short-lived stomach bug.
The matriarch of the family is around 90 and has lived
in that house since she married at age 18 (all through the war). Several generations live in the house. The son in law runs a little business selling coffee in the morning and the area where we ate is the coffee shop. The meal was delicious and included non meat versions also. We had really excellent pumpkin soup (much better than at the restaurant today), spring rolls, tofu and young jackfruit salad, pork and tofu clay pot, delicious tuna steak, morning glory and garlic, small stuffed tomatoes, and pineapple for dessert. I am still stuffed and it's almost 11 pm. It was such a good meal and really interesting to see the house and hear about the lady's life.
Susan slept while I was out for dinner and I think is starting to feel better. Hopefully tomorrow she'll be right as rain. Tomorrow we have a full day. We tour the sights as passengers on the back of motorbikes, visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, have a vegetarian lunch at a Buddhist monastery, and take a boat ride down the Perfume River. We don't have to be ready to go until 9 am so can sleep in a bit.
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