Friday, 29 May 2015

Hue City Tour: part 2

It's hot now and our cycle tour takes us through the streets and leafy lanes, just where is Lám taking us to?

Past rice being harvested

and left to dry in the hot, hot sun.  

About 39C today.

So we have a stop here, the guys prefer fresh sugar cane juice 

which is on sale on virtually every street corner in Vietnam.

But Mariangela and I preferred a fresh coconut juice and a snooze in the hammock!  Think I need one of these factoring into my garden makeover.

It's not unusual to find women labouring alongside the men.  Here they are repairing the pathways at the elaborate tomb of  Tomb of Tu Duc, the 4th King.  He built it not only as his final resting place, but also as a pleasure garden, where his harem and court would entertain him. 

Gold fish swim in the lakes,

carved statues all around. Elephants


and the odd stern face.

But best of all were the


Let's take a closer look at these iron doors


Largely intact, despite the American bombing, there is so much to inspire.

And look, 

at this 

and this

seems they have the blue and white china fragments here too!

Lám, Mairangela and Matt looking cool in their 'cycle Vietnam' shirts, but the time has come

for Lŷ to strip my bike down as we say farewell to the back up team.  Their help, kindness and constant cheerfulness made sure we had the ride of our life.  

The bikes went back in the truck for maintenance and we boarded the magic bus to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, a Buddist Temple which was the centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960s.

Set on the side of the Perfume River

it was really quite splendid.

But best of all were 

the doors!  Of course.

Although this flight of stone steps could steal the show

I wonder where they will take you to?

Inside the temple prayers were being offered and burnt in the cauldron, see it on the right?  The monk then stuck the metal sides and the dong rang out as the thoughts and prayers floated up,

if you look carefully in the shafts of sunlight you will see them go.

Next week is Buda's birthday, so flags and lanterns have been hung in his honour,

but my shadow is telling us it's nearly lunchtime, so we need to 

board the Dragon boat and sail back down The Perfume River.  

Lined with water hyacinth and other exotic vegetation

daily life floats by

but for some

it's all too much. Sleep well Mariangela!

After such an early start we're all ready for lunch.  We stopped by a local cafe and believe it or not, ate all this!  Cycling: boy it makes you hungry.

Back to the hotel for a shower and change, pack up our bags and take the magic bus one last time down to the train station.

Time to say goodbye to Thông as only Lám comes with us as we board the overnight train to Hanoi.

The train is over ten minutes late, so I busy myself checking out the platform shopping.  Seems a better selection than on British Rail!

Look here, if you can see past Lám, take a squint and you may just make out the Hmong ladies in their traditional embroidered head dresses.

When the train finally arrives, it's across the tracks ( oh goodness, my bags are SO heavy...) and try to board with everyone else into carriage number 10.

We made it, here's our room.  See my bunk already and waiting for me?

And here is Mariangela with our tea.  The irony of it: An Italian with a carry out pizza...with chilli sauce - this being Vietnam!

So here I am,settled down on my bunk, doing a bit of stitching.  As usual there's a deadline to meet!

But the train makes a scheduled stop. So off and looking at the local stall

and there is Lám buying us some bananas!

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