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Published: January 13th 2013
An early start saw us leaving Hue behind for a road trip of four hours through towns and villages, heading up into the mountains with the coast running along the left hand side of the road (with an ever increasing drop!). We were taking the road across the Hai Van pass, which I found out afterwards is the most dangerous road in Vietnam - so dangerous they built a tunnel road to use as an alternative!
But what stunning scenery the way we went. Beautiful misty mountains covered in lush vegetation on one side of the road and on the other, in the distance, we could see the crashing waves of the ocean. We pulled in to a 'happy house' stop by the side of a lagoon with stunning views and while some of the group did yet more shopping the rest of us soaked up the views AND the ever increasing temperatures - phew it was getting hot! The little sticks poking out of the water in the photos were there to encourage the oysters to take residence on the ropes and netting strung from them beneath the water.
As we got to the highest point of the
pass we pulled in to a fortification area, both ancient and more recent buildings marked the spot. There were a couple of huge towered, French built fortifications and some smaller pill-box style look-out points. You could see why this place was used, it was such a good strategic vantage point all around. We went inside one of the bunkers and yes, although it was a good position, boy would you have felt vulnerable in such an obvious target. There were loads of massive bullet holes in some of the walls. War, what a fucked up horror human beings put themselves through! Usually all in the name of greed and power killing masses of innocent bystanders who really don't care about the reasoning behind it and just want to get on with living their lives with their loved ones. We are going to visit a war museum in Ho Chi Minh City later on the trip. It will be very interesting to see what the Vietnamese's way of presenting their awful war-torn past will be.
We set off again and started to descend towards Da Nang, where we would eventually be getting our train from after our 3 day stay
in Hoi An. Row after row of hotels along the sea front, some still being built. This was obviously an up and coming area with lots of tourism - their main income in this city. We passed an old American base and a newer building that had been put up. Not quite sure what this was for but it looked like a flying saucer! After a stop at the train station to pick up our tickets we eventually arrived about 3/4 of an hour later in lovely, and much quieter, Hoi An. And Phat hadn't been kidding us when he said we were having a hotel upgrade for this stay as we entered a very plush looking, and ostentaciously decorated reception area. And yay there really was a pool, with balconies all around. This was going to be a good few days, I could feel it!
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