Colonial Da Lat: cathedral, flowers and lake

Da Lat, our next stop, was situated in a totally different landscape in comparison to what we had seen by that time. Leaving Mui Ne our bus diverged from the straight road along the coast leading to Nha Trang and headed towards the mountains. On our way we passed spectacular mountain sights, and stopped at a local bar for vietnamese coffee, served at a handmade wooden carved table. At arrival, we booked a room at the very place the bus left us at, the hotel above the office of Hanh Travel. We got a spacious, colonial twin bedroom with a high ceiling, for just 10 $. We didn’t hesitate as we reached the town in the early evening and still wanted to make it for the evening Mass in the cathedral and then enjoy the food market, of which we heard that it was even better than Can Tho. As you can see below, Catholicism is still deep-rooted in some parts of Vietnam, even after (or maybe due to) decades of communism that came after driving out the French. The celebration was held in Tieng Viet, but in some way comprehesible for someone grown in the European culture and heritage.

The food market was very colourful, very busy, but not as tasty as in the Mekong Delta, perhaps because of the lack of sea food. What we liked a lot was some sort of tortilla with egg, that we had already tasted before, sold by a very young boy. It was very depressing,  to look at children preparing food in the evening instead of preparing homework for the following day at school, though I guess the best thing you could do was buy it. Nevertheless,  it neither helped them a lot nor did it ease our conscience. Another boy sold some form of flat, sweet, roasted potatos.

There were also many stalls selling shashliks, yet not as diversified regarding the ingredients. What we have eaten for the first time were some type of sweet spring rolls, made of green rice that tasted coconut.

Da Lat was quite charming at night, yet we decided to move on, and reserved a bus to Nha Trang at 1 PM the following day. We still had some time in the morning, which we planned to spend walking around the city, and maybe sailing aorund the lake in a small swan-shaped pedal boat.

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We read in a guidebook that it was regarded kitsch, and in very bad taste by >>enlightened<< western tourists. We thought it would be just fun, but unfortunately it was raining every fifteen minutes so we gave up. Instead, we visited the Da Lat Flower Park, which was described as very picturesque by the same guidebook. We didn’t find it that remarkable, yet it was pleasent to walk around.

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What we enjoyed much more was vietnamese street food sold in front, a typical sandwich with a mix of whatever ingredients were at hand. And the classic coffee shortly thereafter, at the same plastic little table. The woman preparing the food was quite excited, that I was taking photos of her stall.

As for what you can take with you on a motorcycle, well, trees and a fish tank packed in plastic bags, for example.

From the flower park we continued to the colonial railway station of Da Lat, with a historic train changed into a cafe. On our way back to the hotel we were reeled up to by a a watchman sitting at the entrance to a restaurant garden, who appeared very much bored with his job and  wanted to practice his English by talking to us. In the end I decided that I want a photo with this nice guy, he even knew were Poland is, and he was interested in photography:). I believe a conversation with the angler fishing on a pile of garbage would be even more fascinating. Bon appetit

Regarding the bus, well it just happened to leave half an hour earlier than we were informed it would. Luckily, it came back for us when the receptionist called the driver. Good for us, as the views on the way were just spectacular.

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