The last day in Vietnam was electric.
Vietnam had reached the finals
of Under-23 World Cup Football.
Apparently they never make it so big
in the world stage so this was special.
It started late afternoon as big screens were set up
and Vietnamese people were glued to the screen
Anxious and hopeful as they prayed they would win.
While we had been following up
watching quarter finals in Hue train station
semi-finals in the Halong Bay cruise,
We made it to the streets of Hanoi
for the much awaited finals.
The situation was almost tense
The crowd had blocked the streets
and everyone was clad in red.
The mood was ecstatic
and we knew even if they lost
it would not matter because
the Vietnamese had already won.
The joy and excitement could not be contained
there was fireworks, honking horns
and lots of happy people that night
They fought the good fight.
The next day in Sapa was a longer hike to Lào Cai village near China border. Apparently, it used to be a key trading post and when my google maps showed how close we were to China, I only wanted to hike till the border but that is only wishful thinking.
The beautiful ladies of Lào Cai rule rural Vietnam. From tour guides to vendors to shopkeepers of various kind, it was the women who ran the show.
They would walk alongside the hikers with their basket full of goodies and as we ended our tour, they would try to sell their items to us. Shawls, scarves, table mats, head bands etc. would be displayed and I too bought a long indigo scarf as she tied one of the friendship bands in my wrist which I still wear today.
The terraced fields would definitely look different in another season but as we left this border town that afternoon, it was shining under the sunny sky.
The trip to the Imperial City in Huế
was highly recommended by our local friends.
It was an impressive fortified city of the Nguyen emperors
but these national treasures have been destroyed by the wars in Vietnam.
Nonetheless, it was still very royal
and gave the impression of a grand palace
as it would’ve existed back in the day…
Hội An is a walking and cycling town. It is a very relaxed little town which has also made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The last trip to Hội An was only for a few hours as we stayed in Da Nang and took a taxi here only to enjoy the evening old town walk.
This trip, we arrived early morning in one of those swanky buses from Mui Ne.
Thankfully, we had booked Harmony Homestay who allowed us to check in even at 6am and gave us the room with the balcony where we had our Pho’s for breakfast.
(Although the pic below is from the second morning but I hope you get the drift)
We are not the resting type. So we walked around town and it felt like all the tourists in Vietnam had come to Hội An. It is definitely the most touristy area and they know how to maximise -as visitors pay 100,000 dong to roam the old town. Although there are various museums and interesting sites which require the entry tickets that is included in your ticket, we didn’t have time to use them all.
For lunch, we went to the central market and ate some good Vietnamese food at a very reasonable price -and some Vietnamese coffee of course.
On our way back to the hotel, we browsed through this cozy second hand bookshop which I shall detail in the next post.