The “Unified Memorial of Hope” and Hiền Lương Bridge

2017-10-02 at 20:00

Hiền Lương Bridge

Đài Tưởng niệm Khát Vọng Thống Nhất

Hiền Lương Bridge is a bridge over the Bến Hải River. The bridge is located at the 17th Parallel that divided Vietnam in two parts by the Geneva Accords of 1954. It formed part of the border between South Vietnam and North Vietnam from 1954 till the reunification. After the partition, the northern part of the bridge was painted red and the southern part yellow. Now the northern part is blue – guess they where out of red paint when they renovated the bridge. Today it is a major national monument with a museum and two memorials – one on each side of the river.

Hien Luong Bridge

The old bridge itself is a simple steel construction built by the French in 1950. On the southern side is the Reunification Memorial which for a change is quite modern compared to some of the other memorials I saw on my Vietnam trips.

Speakers
Guess they used the speakers to blast propaganda over the water. They do that still at the DMZ in Korea

Big Speaker
Does not look like this one delivers HIFI sound but judging by the size it is probably quite loud

Ho Chi Minh Monument
Monument at the North side of the bride. You see the bigger Reunification Memorial on the other side.

The Đài Tưởng niệm Khát Vọng Thống Nhất Memorial Park

Reunification Memorial
The centre piece with a woman and her daughter – in the back 6 feathers.

Reunification Memorial
The NVA is on the way down south on the Ho Chi Minh path along the border of Laos and inside Laos.

Reunification Memorial
Captured Vietnamese in prisons – the farmers pray for them.

Reunification Memorial
But the North is not only fighting on the battlefield – they also mining – man and woman together. While the US bombs their trucks. On the right you can see US soldiers – easy to spot with their fancy sunglasses!

Reunification Memorial
Fresh from the battle ship they march along. A spook on the right watches what is going on.

Reunification Memorial

NVA troops battle their way towards the South

Reunification Memorial
This way! This way!

Reunification Memorial
And in the middle of the war Uncle Ho gives some flowers to a guy. On the right the fighting continues!

Reunification Memorial
The battle is in its last days. Mortars, RPG’s and light weapons are in use, fire everywhere and big bombs drop. The man on the radio calls for instructions.

Reunification Memorial
Finally the war is over! Hill tribe girls, farmer and city girls unite and dance

Reunification Memorial

Vietnam is one
Vietnamese people are one
But what we need. Mountains can wear out.
But that truth never changes

That is what Google Translate gives me – hmmm

Next year I will be back – getting a picture of the flag pole and visit the museum – pictures will follow!

The DZM Memorial Site

 
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From Đồng Hới to Huế

2017-10-01 at 20:31

Good bye Ocean View Homestay

Slow drip coffee

It was blue and sunny! I had my slow drip Vietnamese Coffee in the garden of the Ocean View Homestay in Đồng Hới. It was a great day to drive down to Huế.

Good morning sweety
Good morning sweety – see you again 🙂 Hard to say Adios to this little fluffy ball of a dog.

Time to hit the Road

Told the Google Lady that I wanted to go along the ocean as much as possible. She had her own ideas but with some tweaking we where good to go! Thank you Trang for the discount!!

Monument in Đồng Hới
Monument in Đồng Hới at the beach

Monument in Đồng Hới
OK! Why like this?? Seals? In Vietnam?

Getting from the coast to the main road in Đồng Hới
Getting from the coast to the main road in Đồng Hới. I shall take another road next time. Google Lady was fine with it. I had to go super slow and fight with the red dust

At the QL1 outside of Gia Ninh
At the QL1 outside of Gia Ninh

Sport hall in Hồ Xá
Sport hall in Hồ Xá

Martyrs CemeteryOne of the many Martyrs Cemeteries along the road

Martyrs Cemetery

Soldier graveyard in Hải Chư
Soldier graveyard in Hải Chư

Every single one has a story
Every single one has a story

There are so many all over the country
There are so many all over the country

The beach at Quốc Phòng
The beach at Quốc Phòng

One of the many ruins along the coast road towards Giêm Hà
Another ruin along the coast road towards Giêm Hà. All over Vietnam along the coast I saw so many abandoned building projects. Not sure why they have so many of them here. They start the project and run out of money? Or was it not enough money to handle the local officials after they started to build? The other strange thing is that you see so many empty or almost empty hotels along the beach. Might be that I am not here for the season?

The coast road towards Giêm Hà
Somebody expected a lot of tourists here

Monument in Cửa Việt
Monument in Cửa Việt

They all look the same at the beach in Monument in Cửa Việt
They all look the same at the beach in Monument in Cửa Việt. How can you remember the one from the day before?? And how does that make you stand out?? STRANGE!!

War memorial in Cửa Việt
War memorial in Cửa Việt

Another War Memorial in Phú Hội
Another War Memorial in Phú Hội

Detail of the Memorial
Detail of the Memorial – A Russian tank comes out of the waves!

The Grave Road

Took a left from the DT64 to an unnamed small road that leads into the rice fields. Beautiful Chinese graves all over the place! Small ones and very big ones. I have to do this part again next year!

Rice Field in Triệu Trạch
Rice Field in Triệu Trạch

End of the road
End of the road – but a good spot for some pictures

Grave in the Rice Fields
Grave in the Rice Fields

Another Grave

Graves in a rice field
Graves in a rice field

War Cemetery in Triệu Trạch
War Cemetery in Triệu Trạch

War Cemetery in Triệu Trạch

Another one of those monuments along the road
Another one of those monuments along the road

And they getting more and more interesting
And they getting more and more interesting

Further down the road - a Duck pond
Further down the road – a Duck pond

Cycling home after work
Cycling home after work

A lot of Churches as well

Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Tây
Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Tây

Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Đông
Nhà Thờ Giáo Xứ Nhất Đông

Another Grave

Another Grave

A lot of Graves
A lot of Graves

A few more minutes till Huế
A few more minutes till Huế

Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Huế

I was very happy to pick the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue. The owners are super friendly. The room was only 6$ and breakfast was an extra 1$. They made me vegetarian breakfast and the coffee was good. My room had no private bathroom – you have to go a few stairs down. But a super balcony. The hotel is in a small dead-end street all the way at the end. This way it is super quiet at day and night. And since the neighbours all have a lot of green on their balconies it is nice to sit and relax on the balcony.

My bed at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue
My bed at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue

My bed at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue
I think the last swan I had on my bed was in Egypt a loooong time ago

My balcony at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue
My balcony at the Thanh An 2 Guesthouse in Hue

It was a bit humid - so there was a mushroom growing out of the chair
It was a bit humid – so there was a mushroom growing out of the chair

At the French Cafè
At the French Cafè

German Beer??
German Beer?? I do not think so!

Comes with a soup for 1 €
Comes with a soup and it was only a $

Today’s Drive

205 Kilometres in 6 hours and 42 minutes with lots of photo stops as well as coffee and gas stops

Looks like I switched the tracker off – I do not remember doing so! Anyhow – you get the picture!

 
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From Ninh Binh to the Ocean View Homestay in Đồng Hới

2017-09-08 at 16:31

Good morning Vietnam!
Another Gray and cold day? I did not really expect it to be nice!
Last breakfast, pack the bag game and everything on the bike. See you in a few weeks friends! Adios.
And I was on the way. Had no real plan where to end up today but further down south was the plan. The day was still young and there is a lot of road to drive all the way to the water down south if one must. I wanted to get towards blue sky and nicer temperatures quick so I stayed on the big roads most of the time. Trucks, Diesel and dust! Some crazy drivers and a few near hits with them later something in my brain told me – why not hit it and drive to Ocean View Homestay? At last it is quiet and clean there! And so I was driving a bit faster than usually and took way less pictures. But on a day like this – most of the pictures would not made it to the Blog anyhow.

Planting rice
Rice planting in action close to Ninh Binh

Monument in Thành phố Vinh
Monument in Thành phố Vinh. Look at the sky. It was like that the whole day 🙁

Church close to Kỳ Nam
Church close to Kỳ Nam

Another Church close to Kỳ Nam
Another Church close to Kỳ Nam

Lots of today’s drive was not really pleasant. Not only the same Gray sky that was so Gray you could not even guess where the sun was! There was even some drizzle from time to time. I was really happy when I reached the Ocean View Homestay in Đồng Hới. My favourite down there. Relaxing garden with restaurant and quite. Big clean rooms and friendly staff. And only a few metres from the ocean and from the backpacker place at the beach for sundowners.

Today’s Drive

410 Kilometres in 9 hours and 11 minutes with coffee and gas stops

The next Day

Had my Vietnamese slow drip coffee and walked to the beach for a look.

Old bunker
An old bunker on the beach. Once there where no trees so you had a clear line of sight.
Look at all the Gray!

Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat

Well looks like I stay in today and do nothing!

The next Day

It was actually quite nice. Blue sky with a hazy overcast but sunny. Great for a bicycle trip down town. They have free bicycles at the Ocean View Homestay.

Getting better slowly
Getting better slowly

It is blue up there
It is blue up there

Advertising for a hotel in Đồng Hới
Advertising for a hotel in Đồng Hới – nice Old School 🙂

A fisherman paddles back to his hut
A fisherman paddles back to his hut

Fishing boat in Đồng Hới
Fishing boat in Đồng Hới

Put the net into the water
Put the net into the water

Loading ice on the boat
Loading ice on the boat

Loading ice on the boat
Zoooooom – now you see it too!

Fishing Boats

Fishing Boats

Monument
Another one of those monuments. But that makes a fine place to sample some brew and look over the ocean!

Saigon Special

Huda Beer

Until the cows come home
Until the cows come home. Well lets go home as well!

The next Day

The next day I was lazy at the garden for most of the day. In the afternoon I drove up to Phong Nha to help Trang bring down a dog, cat and some stuff. She is the owner of the Ocean View Homestay and has a Bar, Beauty Saloon and Supermarket in Phong Nha now.

The next Day

Trang with Peppy
Trang with Peppy. She had to go back to Phong Nha. But she left the dog and a cat as well. I went to the beach again and biked a bit.

Beach in Thành phố Đồng Hới

Not too much going on at the hotel
Not too much going on at this hotel Looks like a Vietnamese-Laotian joint venture? The other places looked like this one. Abandoned!

 
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A few more days in Ninh Binh

2017-09-05 at 16:07

A few days in Ninh Binh and the sky was gray – all the time. What to do the whole day? Hard to say but before you realize it – the day is gone – the sun goes down and dinner is on the table. So for you this post with pictures from two days.
Wake up late – check the sky – GRAY 🙁
Have coffee and cookies and if I was up early we went for a soup next door. Waiting for dinner and talk to the guys. Sometimes we did something.
And sometimes something happened at the hotel. One day a wedding was under way and the soon to be husband with family stayed at the hotel. They all dressed nice and lots of decoration was brought to the hotel. I took some pictures for you.

Wedding Decoration
Gifts for the bride. In Vietnamese beliefs the red colour will bring luck to the young couple.

Wedding Decoration
Betel leaf with areca nut as traditional gifts

Carved Mellon
The words “song hỷ” are carved into a mellon as the Chinese character 囍. Here they used hearts and not squares. That means double happiness. Or happy together if you like 🙂

Details

Waiting for the rest of the family
Waiting for the rest of the family. You see a decorated lacquer boxes, covered in red cloth on the right of the table. And some more gifts on the left.

Dinner at Thanh's place
The other night I was invited to Thanh place for dinner. The whole family prepared a meal. That was interesting since I could take a look at another house and the customs there again.
Food was good and so was the local fire water.

Happy at the YAMAHA shop
Happy at the YAMAHA shop. Viet brought his scooter in for repairs and we had to wait for it to be finished. The girls where happy with me and needed a few snaps. I like that – it is a easy way of making a few ppl happy with absolutely no effort!

King Roti
Next we went to a gold shop to change money. And on the other side of the street I see this. Ahhh Indian Food! Lets go there quick. Turns out that they serve something strange which I really want to eat only once. Some baked little pastry or something.

Ninh Binh
Gray with a few drops of rain. Well – another one of these days…

At the park in Ninh Binh
Next stop: the park in Ninh Binh. Not sure if it is the only one but it is big and is in the centre. As you can see the Vietnamese learn to drive very early. Still it does not help. I would say they are in the lower 10% if it comes to proper driving.

At the park in Ninh Binh
The wheel saw better times as well. There where a few girls playing and they where happy when we walked past it. Time to try some of the English they learned in school.

Poor animals at the park in Ninh Binh
This was the saddest thing of the whole winter 2016/2017 trip: Poor animals at the park in Ninh Binh

Monkey in a cage
A few cages with monkeys

Sweets for the monkey
Sweets for the monkey. There was a woman selling sweet stuff to feed the monkeys. Should sell bananas or whatever the monkey needs. But not sweet stuff with sugar…

Birds
Rare birds? Nope – the usual city birds. In a small cage…

More monkeys
More monkeys

Boats in the park
Well together with the sky this makes for an another sad display

Breakdance kid's
The Breakdance kid's had fun. A few minutes later one of the gardeners saw me and gave me two 10 litre cans of water and signalled me that I should follow him. He brought me to a small patch of land with some seedlings and instructed me how to pour the water over them. Strange but a lot of fun! Since I have my personal Vietnamese translator I could ask all the questions about the strange park I wanted. Which is nice.

That looked better a long time ago
Searching for a coffee place – a local one – we stumbled over this nice pool.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich 21

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed
Better know as the MIG-21 or the Fishbed as the soldiers from the US called the plane in the last war. It does not look much but they managed to shoot some US planes out of the sky. Hit and run – do not wait for an air fight. You might lose it! That was the name of the game. Usually the attack head on was with MIG-17 and the MIG-21 came from the back. The F4 Phantom was easy outmanoeuvred and the NVA shoot down a few of them.
After almost 1000 lost US planes America had to change something. The NAVY opened their “TOPGUN” school and the USAF started a similar program. And they put different planes in the sky as well that could deal better with the light and agile MIG-21

The cone moves relative to the speed to control air intake
The cone moves relative to the speed to control air intake

The cabin is pressurized and air-conditioned.
The cabin is pressurized and air conditioned

Since the tank is very small they usually carried extra fuel tanks
Since the tank is very small they usually carried extra fuel tanks

Details on the MIG 21

Rear view
Rear view – looks like you ride a jet engine with a pair of super small wings.

All sorts of stabilizers on the plane
All sorts of stabilizers on the plane

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