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On the road to Oman again…

So, it’s another day tomorrow, another week, another chance to travel.

Back to my favorite country in the morning, Oman and driving down to the furthest place you can sensibly go to, Dhalkut, Dhofar Governorate, Oman.

Then working back up the long coastline, eventually to Shannah port and finally heading home to Dubai across the vast deserts, gravel plains and sabkhas ( salt plains) of Oman.

It runs into thousands of kilometers for  a round trip and needs to be planned carefully in advance. There are few hotels in this vast space, camping has to be part of it.

 

The fridge is full of BBQ food ready to go, cold drinks; the car is packed with the tents, chairs, BBQ etc. The jackets are in just in case it could be cold, yeah, we are ready to go there, again…

Suspect I may be out of Wifi for my regular postings , but I’ll be catching up when I can … have a good week everyone!

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Garden Challenge: November, Woodland.

This month’s challenge from Jude is “During November I want to see trees or leaves or anything found in a woodland environment”.

There are no woods in the United Arab Emirates, but luckily I had a trip to Central Vietnam during this month.

It was lovely to walk through wooded parkland admiring tall, leafy green trees, finding fungi, reveling in the greenery and soaking up the tranquility of it all. No jungle for me this time, just ancient ruins and lakes surrounded by trees.

Such a refreshing change from desert lands….

Taking part in Jude’s Monthly Garden Challenge: November, Woodland.

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Thursday Doors: 24/11/16

Huế’,Vietnam, November 2016.

Huế’s Imperial city is surrounded by a moat and thick walls. Building started in 1804 in the reign of Emperor Gia Long. Until the demise of the Emperors in the mid-1900’s, more moats and building were added. During the Vietnam war, due to Huế’s religious and cultural status, US troops were ordered not to bomb or shell the city, for fear of destroying the historic structures.

But, as the Tet offensive escalated, restrictions were slowly lifted with street to street fighting ensuing. The end result was that the Imperial city suffered extensive damage. Out of 160 sites, only 10 remain .

In 1993 the site was made a Unesco World Heritage site and repair and renovations continue to this day.

My visit coincided with a morning of thunderstorms, so a taxi ride was necessary to get myself across the Perfume river and to the entrance. As I entered the site the rain stopped. Poor light, clouds and a miserable overcast day but a place to spend several hours soaking up (literally) the atmosphere of Imperial Vietnam.

The elegance of the buildings and tranquility of the gardens, moats and lakes allowed for some quiet reflections on the beauty of my surroundings.

Come and stroll around slowly with me, let’s find some doors and possibly a few other beautiful things in this haven of Vietnam’s imperial past…

 

Linking with Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton. Pop over and check out some more door posts for today….

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Monday Window: 21/11/16

Vietnam, November 2016-seeing Hue.

When you have a dodgy hip and you don’t want to stop seeing Hue, the answer is to hire a Cyclo driver.

After a morning at the Imperial palace, which is huge, impressive and awesome, my legs told me I couldn’t do much more, but there was so much more of the city to see.

Hobbling out to the road to try to find some form of transport back to the hotel , the cyclo drivers were lined up just waiting for the likes of me.

One enterprising soul spotted me as a sure thing and came bounding down the pathway to offer me an arm and a half hour ride ending back up at the hotel for a price. As I needed to sit desperately and public benches were lacking on this cobbled walkway, I half-heartedly played at haggling, knowing he would do well out of me.

Bliss as I sat in the Cyclo.

Well, what a prize I found. I want to see it all, life on the streets, down the narrow alleys, in the markets and my man, 25 years on the Hue cyclo road knew it all, but there was still a small frisson of colonial servitude in my mind over the method of transport.

Fifteen minutes in, having got over my embarrassment of being cycled around like some sultan in a palanquin, it was perfect for me with a want to see, but a hip that was failing me ( damn that hip, it lets me down so much) and this was his job, so a little renegotiation of time and cost and I had the perfect tour guide. His English was perfect and he knew everywhere in Hue.

Out of nowhere, on one of the main roads the Catholic church in Hue, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Hue, Thua Thien appeared above the festoon of wiring… Oh yes, Monday windows!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cyclo man himself. If you are ever in Hue and he offers you a cyclo ride, take it! For the next day we arranged a further trip, but more on that another time…

An interesting link to Rusty Compass for more information on Hue, historic churches and history of religion in Hue.

Linking with Monday Window, pop on over and see some more windows or even join in …

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny (2)

Earlier this year I was in Bristol, Uk, doing town with my daughter, who lives and works there and happened upon an exhibition of “Briswool” for Sit and Knit at the Mshed museum on Bristol docks.

I would highly recommend Mshed as a place to go if you ever happen to be in Bristol. It holds an excellent representation of Bristol’s social and working history with an eclectic collection of objects, photographs, paintings and of course, some Banksy history.

The knitted depiction of Bristol was a fantastic effort, so lovely to see and having been to Bristol a couple of times, was an excellent representation of the city in wool. A city downsized to tiny.

My congratulations to the knitting team.

 

Tiny

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Thursday Doors: 17/11/16

I didn’t post for Thursday Doors last week as I was en route to Vietnam.

I’ve now reached Huế in Central Vietnam.

Huế was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802-1945.

The city is located in central Vietnam on the banks of the Perfume River, just a few miles inland from the East Sea. It is about 700 km (430 mi) south of Hanoi and about 1,100 km (680 mi) north of Hồ Chí Minh City.

During the Republic of Vietnam, Huế’s central location very near the border between the North and South put it in a vulnerable position in the Vietnam War.

In the Tết Offensive of 1968, during the Battle of Huế, the city suffered considerable damage not only to its physical features, but its reputation as well, due to a combination of the American military bombing of historic buildings held by the North Vietnamese, and the massacre at Huế committed by the communist forces.

After the war’s conclusion, many of the historic features of Huế were neglected because they were seen by the victorious communist regime and some other Vietnamese as “relics from the feudal regime”; the Vietnamese Communist Party doctrine officially described the Nguyễn Dynasty as “feudal” and “reactionary.” There has since been a change of policy, however, and many historical areas of the city are currently being restored.

And beautifully so. Huế is the place to see tombs, pagodas, temples and the Imperial City and dive into the history of the  Emperor dynasties.

I’ve started with tombs ( these tombs are equivalent to country estates) and am working up to the Imperial City for my final day.

I’m not one for coach tours, so having found a great Vietnamese motorbike driver in Hoi An (who touted me on the side of the street.Yeah, I know, I did wonder what I was getting into, but, hey, I’m grown up now…) and who gave me an amazing day out in the villages around Hoi An, we made an arrangement that suited us both for 2 days biking around Hue.

Today was Tomb and Pagoda day. Impressive. All beautifully kept and such serene places, steeped in tradition.

It was a joy to do history and culture today, and then cool down on the back of a bike.

Walk with me around the tomb of  Emperor Tự Đức who was the fourth emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty of Vietnam and reigned from 1847–1883. Concentrating on doors  of course…(and arches too, forgive me Norm, I couldn’t leave them out!)

 

Information about Huế from Wikipedia.

A post for Thursday Doors, Norm Frampton’s weekly challenge . Pop on over to check out other doors for this week…