Such great pictures today showing how the past and present coexist so beautifully here.
Started the day with a drive up the coast of Vietnam from Hoi An to Hue, the former capital. On the way, we saw stunning views of the beaches below and passed American military bunkers, long abandoned and a bit spooky even in broad daylight.
Once in Hoi An, our group rented motorbikes (with drivers – I would never have made it on my own!) We stopped at a Japanese covered bridge built in 1776 – quite striking nestled amongst the rice paddies. Next up was a visit to one of the oldest operational pagodas in Vietnam. Tourists mingled amongst the monks who were going about their daily lives of work and prayer, seemingly unfazed by us. We then went on to visit a colosseum built by the emperor in 1830 to feature fights between tigers and elephants; apparently the elephants always won because the emperor deemed it so (and had the tigers’ claws removed). The next stop on our journey took us to a shop where we learned to make incense and conical hats. The woman was making a batch if cinnamon incense and the smell was intoxicating.
Our journey ended much as it had begun: at an abandoned American bunker chosen strategically for its location atop a high hill overlooking Hue. Today, that view is purely aesthetic… A magnificent look out over the Perfume River.