Sunday, August 31, 2014

Delightfully Different Day in Đồ Sơn

What a special day I had today!  Tuấn Anh took me to his home in Đồ Sơn for the day. He likes to travel by bus, so we caught the local bus and had a quick 20 minute trip - much faster than when going by motorbike.

The road to his house is in a sorry state, due to nearby construction projects.

We stopped at his home to say Hello to his parents and have a drink, then jumped on the bike to visit a place I haven't seen before.  

Đồ Sơn is famous for its Buffalo Fighting Festival which is this week. We passed several bands of locals gearing up for it along the way . Apparently the men band together in colourful processions so that they will have good luck with their gambling...that their buffalo will win. It's an ancient tradition.

We rode to the foot of the Ninth Dragon - ninth in the series of hills that surround Đồ Sơn, and parked the bike. The only way to the top is a steep narrow path through the forest.

 This is an ancient well

 As we climbed higher, we could glimpse the view between the trees.

 These ladies were hard at work weeding the path. It was very hot!

And then we were at the top




Most of this complex looks very new, with two large pagodas. This is the first - it is surrounded by statues of holy men. I assume it is well supported by the community, for it looked very prosperous, even though there didn't appear to be a monastery.

Before you turn to look at the second building, your eyes are drawn to the spectacular view. We could see all the way from Cát Bà Island to Hải Phòng!


Tuấn Anh's house is near the one with the green roof...

The larger pagoda had a large terrace with great views from the other side of the mountain

 Modern take on an ancient theme...

The most fascinating part of the temple complex is the ruins of a 1,000 year old tower. Apparently it stood so tall its shadow reached all the way down to the beach. It was built by the same Emperor who established Hà Nội, but sadly about 500 years ago, it was demolished so the bricks could be used elsewhere. All that remains are the massive footings, protected by a large pavilion. thousand year old bricks!

Recently, work has begun on the construction of a new nine story tower.

I asked a few questions that Tuấn Anh couldn't answer, so we went down to some large rooms under the main building. The ladies who volunteer to do maintenance work every Sunday were about to have lunch and they were very happy to answer his questions as he did likewise...

 Some of them wanted photos

 ...and they insisted we sit and have a cool drink and a banana. They even invited us to eat lunch with them.

Then it was back down the mountain and off to another interesting spot...

This spring water is called Dragon Stream. It has been supplying local families with sweet, pure water for centuries. It tastes better than bottled water.

 So after a full morning exploring, we returned to Tuấn Anh's home for lunch and a nap.

It was mid-afternoon when we headed down to the beach and opted for a deck chair in the shade and fresh coconut juice, because it was hot out in the sun.

It was very pleasant - lying back relaxing and chatting, while we watched the crowd gradually gather on the beach as the afternoon cooled down a bit. This beach reminds me how spoiled we are at home with the beaches around Coffs Harbour!


By the time we left, there were lots of people enjoying the beach - playing and swimming. It was probably quite nice in the water today. 

I caught the bus home, and soon after I arrived, Lan Lovely and her husband Hung and baby Dung dropped in to say Hello.  I was so thrilled to see them, I forgot to get my camera out...AARGH!  Hung is waiting for his next ship and Lan is a full time Mum. I do hope I get to see more of them this year!

They stayed for a couple of hours, which was lovely, and went home when Dung got tired. I will definitely take photos next time!

Later in the evening, Ủy and I went for a walk and stopped off for a fresh sugarcane juice ... very refreshing on a hot night!

 What a lovely end to a memorable day!

No comments:

Post a Comment