charming Hoi An
a wonderful little town on the water
What a beautiful country! Traveling northward up the coast next on our tour was the darling city of Hoi An. It is a charming city with lots of shops, restaurants, bars, tailoring shops, markets & friendly people. A bunch of us had clothes made & I got a beautiful Vietnamese dress & pant outfit made. We also stayed at a resort which was fabulous -- laying out by the pool was wonderful.
After Hoi An we got to travel by bus to the former capital of Hue. The scenic drive was a great opportunity to see Vietnam's stunning coastline.
In Hue we got to take a rickshaw ride around the citadel. This was the home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors 1802-1945 (I am currently looking at my itinerary...didn't memorize everything). Much of the citadel was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968, and they are gradually restoring it. There were different entrances for different people & even entrances for the elephants!
After Hue we flew up to Hanoi for the last leg of the trip. We visited lots of recent & ancient historical places including the 'Hanoi Hilton', Ho Chi Minh Masoleum, the Presidential Palace, museums, and the city's Old Quarter.
We just visited the outside of Ho Chi Minh's Masoleum because he was sent back to Russia for rehydration or some sort of maintenance of his preservation. Too bad.
Overall, I thought it was a fun city -- I had such a great time walking around & exploring Hanoi.
On the last official day of the tour we went to the stunning Halong Bay. We took a fun bus ride from Hanoi and watched the very appropriate 'Indochine'. It was very cool to be watching the scene where they are sailing through Halong Bay in the movie and look out the window and see the actual Halong Bay. Of course in the movie the weather was perfect, the water an emerald green & the actors gorgeous. In real life, it was rainy, overcast, water was brownish/green and our tour group was ... well, okay, gorgeous. =)
Despite the weather, we still got to go for a fun ride on a 'junk' (boat) around the bay. Even with the rain & the overcast sky, Halong Bay was serenely beautiful. L-o-v-e-d it.
That night we had a farewell dinner at another delicious vietnamese restaurant. It was sad to say goodbye to my
new friends but I am so grateful to have traveled with and met such great people. I had a blast & couldn't have asked for a better bunch of people -- our tour group leader said it best when she said 'it was like traveling with friends'. And it was.
Next stop -- Hong Kong -- woohoo!
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