Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Exploring the Centre of Dalat

We seem to struggle to get it together quickly in the mornings at the moment; despite the fact that we were all awake before 9, we didn't leave from the hotel for a day of sightseeing until past 11, which is a bit of a shame really as I certainly didn't fly all this way to sit in a hotel room waiting around.

Last night we found a good restaurant that did the best pancakes in Vietnam so far and served British food like apple crumble and bread and butter pudding! Although, it wasn't exactly the largest portions - I miss the oppourtunity for seconds that you get at home! Anyway we went back there for breakfast this morning; going back to the hotel to grab some stuff before heading out on the walking tour at 11.

The first sight on the self directed tour was "The Crazy House" - voted one of the top 25 strangest buildings in the world. The house that is now operated as a guest house, was very interesting; build in the shape of a mangled tree the rooms are dotted in random places, with tiny staircases leading all around. We explored the weird architecture; it seemed to us a bit like a giant climbing frame with the occasional bedroom in it's upmost reaches - quite amusing at bringing back childhood memories.

The second stop was the Bao Dai Summer Palace - this was built for the Bao Dai dynasty in the 1940s, and although it looks rather like a post WW2 bungalow in the furnishings - it is quite a grand building in size - remining us all of the hotel in 'The Shining'! It was interesting from a historical perspective as well; as it was abandoned in 1954 with the Geneva Convention, and it demonstrated the vast difference in attitude to architecture by the Vietnamese in comparison to say a British 'Summer House' like Osbourne House.

From the Palace, which is position high on the hill above Dalat, we headed back down towards town; intending to look at the Dalat Cathedral; however we got caught in a heavy shower and as the cathedral seemed to be closed, we just sheltered in the porch.

Then it was back into town to grab a late lunch and we headed back to the hotel again for a rest; we all seem to be a bit tired at the moment for some reason.

This evening we are going to head out to have a look at some more of the town and market and then go back to the restaurant that we went to last night; as we are keen to have a bit more of the good food; and as we left a tip last night, we are hoping for bigger portions if we ask for them - strange how stuff like that works our here!

Tomorrow we are heading off on the 8hr bus journey to Ho Chi Minh City: yet another big change again I am sure!

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