I’m 25!

I decided on the spur to spend a night in Lăng Cô for my birthday. Called to book a room at 3p.m. while Col was out taking a walk. He got back at 4p.m. and we left right away to avoid riding in the dark. It’s only 40kms north of Da Nang, but the road winds up and down a scenic pass, the famous Hải Vân, which divides the north and south of Vietnam.

We saw ominous clouds forming as we left the house, and felt big drops of rain by the time we approached the foot of the mountains. As the wind gusted, I started regretting. I should have asked whether it was raining when I called to book the hotel. The bad weather would defeat the whole purpose of this beach and exploration getaway. If Col had said a word of caution and doubt at that moment, I’d have turned back right then. The rain dropped faster and heavier; I wanted to stop and buy raincoats, but Col said to press ahead, that the longer we took, the wetter we would be. The clouds grew darker and lower as we climbed up the mountain, and everyone that came down from the other direction had a wet raincoat on. It obviously rained on the other side. Up and up we went. The rain lightened to a sprinkle as this side of the mountain was actually quite shielded.

Hải Vân pass has a very special place on my heart. It used to be my favorite of the North-South train journey that I took every summer as a kid. From the window, we could see the train curving around the mountain with the ocean below. We would go through a tunnel; the darkness and the echo were always so exciting. This is where the mountain goes all the way out to meet the ocean right in the middle of the country. The pass is 20 kms long but the highest point is only 500m.

These are the photos we took on the way back the next day:

Hải Vân pass, đèo Hải Vân, Vietnam, abandoned bunker, abandoned check pointabandoned bunker and ancient check point at the top of Hải Vân pass

Hải Vân pass, đèo Hải Vân, Vietnam, Đà Nẵngview to the south over Đà Nẵng from the top

Hải Vân pass, đèo Hải Vân, Vietnam, Huế, Lăng Côview to the north over Lăng Cô, Huế from the top

When we got to the top and crossed to Thua Thien Hue province, it was obvious that we actually lucked out. It had rained on that side very recently: the road was soaked and the water was still running off. We got there just in time for the dwindling sprinkle. Now I was so happy that I didn’t ask about the weather, or else I’d have stayed home.

to be continued…

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