January 2011 – “Blowin ‘in the wind” … Vietnam
The proposal comes from two friends: “Why not come to Vietnam with us?” After an initial phase of uncertainty, little to the truth, we decide … It starts. We’re four and we treat it very well.
Tour operator: Caesar tour – departure 25/01 return 6/02/2011.
Car with driver and a guide just for us.
The price is made based on the number of participants, of course, and the guide as it speaks Italian has a significant incidence (but I do not speak English!).
Vietnam, for those of my generation, started and ended with the war: ocean crowds that manifested for peace and the withdrawal of American troops.
He reads like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan singing “Blowing in the Wind” (written by Bob Dylan) and asked “How many times can a man turn his gaze and pretend not to see”, but Vietnam is very … but very much more than this.
VIETNAM TRAVEL DIARY
Day 1 – Hanoi
The sky is dark, with a mild rain and it is quite cold. We begin the knowledge of the city starting from the Temple of Literature built in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius and Vietnamese writers. It was the first University of the country and at the beginning only the children of the mandarins were admitted but after 1445 it opened to all the gifted students who came to Hanoi to study the principles of Confucianism. Our guide tells us at the entrance to a sign where visitors are asked to come down from the horse before entering.
Pagoda to a pillar. The legends on this pagoda abound, but beyond that there is a certainty: the French, before leaving the country, and only for wickedness, destroyed it. It was later rebuilt by the new government.
We continue to Lake Hoan Kiem, very characteristic of the red bridge that connects to the islet where the Jade Temple is located, inside of which there is a 250 kg turtle surrounded by pottery and various pottery.
Going to Lake Hoan Kiem we saw Opera House and St. Joseph’s Cathedral. We are in the Old Quarter, and amidst an impressive amount of scooters loaded with any kind of merchandise, a fascinating network of lanes and shops known as the “36 streets” unfolds, every street takes its name from the type of goods sold: stones, medicine , Herbs, counterfeit (they sell the money to be burned in the ceremonies called “the money of spirits”).
Within a short distance a rice wine shop with flavoring elements such as: geckos, scorpions, iguanas!
Dinner with rice vermicelli with fried fish and raw vegetables, is a unique dish called Ciacà (cost $ 12 per four including drinks). Color Note: The smallest hole in the tablecloth was of the same diameter as the plate; Where there were no holes, there were stains of size and colors as desired.
On the cleanliness I would therefore lose, and I would add that it is not always advisable to immerse themselves in their everyday life.
Day 2, 3 – Hanoi (dark sky – mild rain – fairly cold)
Wake up at dawn to Halong City. Hanoi is a city full of life since the early lights of dawn: life takes place on the street where pedestrians in a few minutes put their belongings; They set up their refreshment points (like dehors with tables and stools little bigger than those of Barbie) or they run, loaded with their steaming baskets, serving hot meals (especially women).
It is a city that blends elegance and poverty with lush parks, wide avenues, ancient pagodas alongside crumbling palaces.
There is a great deal of ferment because the city is preparing for the Lunar New Year: TET (also called New Year’s Day Vietnam, a great party that burns the whole country).
There are no words that can describe the feeling that you experience crossing this beautiful bay.
Thousands of islands emerging from the sea (appear to be 2000) and within them there are caves sculpted by erosion and wind as well as a lush tropical vegetation on some.
The emerald waters though I did not see them! Dark sky and mild rain (I had already said it?), But the slight haze that gives rise to the suggestion makes this place charming and mysterious and if, as legend says (if it is not clear here, legends , Are wasted) all this was created by the tail of a dragon … (and so on), I will tell you, if I had seen the dragon emerge from the waters, I would not have been too surprised!
Memorizing the evening before the day ends with a gorgeous dinner at the 11th floor Flower Hotel based on springrolls and noodles with pork, rice and eggs.
Day 4 – Hanoi-Danang-Hoi An (mild sky – fairly cold …)
Very interesting tour of the Ethnographic Museum outside which they have reproduced the various traditional homes of ethnic minorities.
13 o’clock flight to Danag and transfer by land to Hoi An (about 30km). On Danang I have nothing to point out, if not the memories of the war: here were the first marines to land. China Beach, was the most popular beach by the military.
Outside of Danang, here are the Marble Mountains: 5 stone hills, once islands, now emerging from the surrounding rice fields. Each one is said to represent one of the elements of the universe. We are in Hoi An, the Lantern City and the World Heritage Site since 1999.
Just off Danang, here are the Mountains of Marble: 5 stone hills, once islands, which now emerge from the surrounding rice fields. Each of them is said to represent one of the elements of the universe
There are more than 800 UNESCO protected buildings and boasts a historic center where Blend beauty and tradition. The charm of this city emerges at sunset when thousands of colorful lanterns light up giving the place an incredible charm. We see the covered bridge constructed by the Japanese in 1593 to connect their neighborhood to the Chinese one, the community house where they burned incense-shaped cone of about one meter high … Incenses that, say, last 1 month! Early morning we visited an ancient wooden house with mother-of-pearl inlays located on the river bank surrounded by lush vegetation with tropical plants, bonsai and not far away a restaurant. We booked for the evening and I must say that it was the most delicious dinner I ate in Vietnam. It is called Full Moon, if you happen to not let it escape, even if it costs something more.
5th day Hue – (sometimes mild, sometimes loud, it’s cold!) Hué was the political, cultural and Religious country for 150 years. The Imperial City, declared a World Heritage Site since 1993, built in the nineteenth century, resembles the forbidden city of Beijing. Tens of temples, pavilions, towers and beautiful gardens arise around its walls. An excursion on the Perfume River leads us to the Octagonal Tower, seven floors, a symbol of the city, each floor dedicated to a Buddha appearing in human semblance. The Monastery of Mrs. Celeste, wonderful and much more but … It rains to catinelle. Airport transfer and flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) .I just want to point out that after a week of rain is mild and lashing, It was the sun … “Incredible, but then there is still” ironically excluded from the sunshine. On the plane itself exploded a “… sooooole …”, it seemed the first time! (Someone, however, must have told you that there was!)
6th-7th day. Ho Chi Minh city (already Saigon) (Sun and warm) Last lunar calendar day. And there were already fish parades, unicorns, dragons that sing and dance to the sound of drums. I thought I had seen a lot in Hanoi, but nothing compared to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). A chaotic and deafening traffic with thousands of Motorcycles, it seems to be a motorcycle. The traffic lights, the pedestrian strips and other rules we know here are worthless. Sometimes we have been helped to cross the road by law enforcement officials who have advised us: “A steady, determined course, without stopping or slowing down, and Never and ever go back! “” They are thinking of them to avoid you! “They add … Ah. There’s nothing to hope for! We see The Notre Dame Cathedral with the nearby Post Office (designed by Eiffel) both of the colonial period. The Town Hall and then the fascinating Cholon (China Town) and still markets, pagodas, temples do not end. In the evening we go to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater for the show with Marionette on the water. Very addictive. The stage is made up of a large water tank, the puppets are maneuvered with great craftsmanship, accompanied by the sound of drums, singing, monocorde instruments with sweet sound, all designed to represent scenes of everyday life.
NOTE: After a long and elaborate reflection, I decide that the best places to enjoy the show are in front and I sit in the front row. It was the first day of sunshine as it was said. First day hot and no rain … In the show the characters are also so many: peasants, fish, huge dragon and many more. Well. At every entry or exit from the characters scene, a splash came to me. Morale: I put my hat on the rain! Did I come out of the theater that seemed to have bathed with the dragon in the tub? Returning to the city … Museum of Bellici Residues. This museum is an unequal testimony and I believe it is a moral obligation to see what the human being can do. Vietnam’s “cycle” is disappearing.
Saigon is a vibrant, vibrant city, projected in the future, with modern skyscrapers, shopping malls, restaurants, showcases of the most prestigious brands and a nightlife to envy the great Milan to drink.
This trip has been a great life experience.
Saint’ Agostino wrote: “The world is a book, and who does not travel only one page law,” and I, I agree.
January 2011 – “Blowin ‘in the wind” … Vietnam