It was amazing to show them where I live, work, go swimming or for a run. Which restaurants are my “locals”, to meet my Vietnamese friends and my colleagues at work.
We had 2.5 weeks together and it was still too short as always. Time was running, but we did a lot of things together.
First we rented two motorbikes for them and then I showed them around Da Nang. We visited the Marble Mountains, Hoi An, Monkey Mountain and the Lady Buddha. Not to forget some relaxing time at the beach with a swim in the sea ;)
Also we had a lovely Vietnamese dinner at my house one night with Mai, Tony and Trang, where we first visited the local market to buy all the food and then we cooked for over 2 hours at least 3-4 delicious meals :)
Next was a train trip to Hue, the former capital of the emperors of Vietnam just 2.5hours away from Da Nang. The scenery from the train is breathtaking as the train goes over the famous Hai Van Pass with the sea right beside it.
We stayed in Hue for two nights, visited the Citadel, did an one day trip to the famous DMZ (demilitarised zone) which separated North and South Vietnam during the American War.
From there, we went up North to the Vinh Moc Tunnels, which were used during the war from 60 families to protect themselves from the American bombs. The tunnels system was structured into 3 floors, with the first 13 m beneath the ground, the second 15 m, and the third 23 m. It’s linked to the sea by seven exits, which also function as ventilators, and to a nearby hill by another six. Stunning if you finally exit the tunnels on the seaside! What a beautiful location!!!
In total 17 children were born there during the war in these tunnels – astonishing.
The museums caretaker, who is dumb, lived in these tunnels during the war and was more than happy to show us around. It gave the whole visit a really personal touch I have to say and was a much more pleasant experience than the Chu Chi tunnels in Saigon. You can see him on the next picture where he is showing us himself as a child on the picture behind him.
On our last day in Hue we booked a “Xe Om” (motorbikes + drivers) trip with a family from Hue, who is running a small little coffee place across the Citadel.
We visited a few tombs, drove to the famous “Thanh Toan” Tile-Roofed Bridge and went to a private Vietnamese house to get two Conical hats made.
Back in Da Nang the suitcases had to be packed to fly up to Hanoi, ready to take an overnight train to Sapa!
Thanks to my parents and friends, who made space for some of my stuff to bring it back to Europe ;)
So far we were really lucky with the weather – we had quite a lot of sunny days, sometimes up to 27 degrees. However the weather forecast showed that a cold front is reaching Vietnam and there it was!
One day before we arrived in Sapa they had snow there! Vietnamese people told us it had never happened in the last 35 years, that it was so cold Mid of March.
Thank god we had a cozy hotel with a fireplace in each bedroom and I had my Dad with me who helped me to get a nice fire going. I had never been freezing so much in Vietnam since I arrived last year in May!
We were glad, that we stayed for three days as the weather improved dramatically on the 3rd day! We had 20 degrees and sunshine again with a lovely walk to the hill tribe minority villages. It was more than worthwhile and all my visitors seemed to enjoy themselves as well.
Back in Hanoi we had one more day to enjoy each other company before we had to say goodbye again. We had a walk around the famous “Old Quarter”, Hoan Kiem lake, went on a Cyclo Ride to see Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and had some lovely food.
Then it was time to say goodbye at Hanoi Airport, some departing to Singapore and back to Munich, whereas I was flying back to Da Nang to continue teaching English.
It is always hard to let visitors go if you live oceans and continents apart!
The positive side was, that I had known that it was only three month until I will see them again :)
Thanks to my parents + Tante & O-Dick for seeing me in Vietnam!
It was so special and will never be forgotten.