Rong Ji seafood hungry buffet here

VINAPHUNU

01.03.2010 We'll meet at Tegel Airport around 7:00 p.m. Because of the baggage check-in at the counter, there is a hectic rush among the women, as they have to consider who is checking in with whom so that all items of baggage can be checked in. In the end we can do it. We say goodbye to families and the many friends. Small (small) Hoa and Lanh wait until the moment when we are all admitted into the waiting room. 9:40 p.m. it goes to Doha. After a six hour flight we arrive in Doha. An hour and a half later we can finally take off for Saigon. Shortly after take-off, the aircraft gets into turbulence. The sudden drop in altitude is frightening. We have never asked so much as we do today! In the end, thank God, everything went well. 02.03. 2010 At 18:40 our plane lands in Tan Son Nhat. Duc and kl. Hien come from Hanoi. After the customs control we will be met by Ms. Tuong, Dong, Duc and kl. Received and picked up here. Since this evening is also Ms. Tuong's 64th birthday, we give her the flowers and gifts brought from Germany. While Katharina is playing on her violin, we sing the birthday song in three different languages ​​to wish her a happy birthday. After the greeting we all board the comfortable bus arranged by Ms. Tuong. According to Ms. Tuong, the bus driver must not be too young (because of the lack of experience), but also not too old (because of the slow reaction). Unfortunately, Susanne had a little accident while getting on the bus and injured her knee. We are very concerned and fear that worse could happen. Out of consideration for the group, Susanne has taken care of herself for the time being so that we can drive to Ms. Tuong's house. There, Susanne's knee is massaged daily by Dong so that the pain is relieved. When we get home, we gather in the living room and give her the gifts she brought with us from Germany as a thank you for her hospitality and help. Around 9 p.m., the meals Ms. Tuong prepared herself brought us back to our strengths. There is chicken salad with seaweed and vegetables, chicken rice porridge, boiled chicken and various fruits for dessert. Accommodation and food (breakfast and dinner) during the Saigon stay are sponsored by Ms. Tuong. Immediately afterwards, Ms. Tuong's son Rang Dong and his wife Mai drive us to the city center in family cars to experience Saigon at night. Because of the long journey from Germany to Vietnam, some stay at home. Elke was the only one of our German friends who came with us. 03.03.2010 At 7:00 in the morning we have breakfast on the terrace. The prawn spring rolls and the grilled meat are delicious, but a bit too hearty for breakfast. 8:15 we leave the house. Since we have two important appointments in the afternoon and in the evening, everyone brings their evening clothes to change. First we do a city tour around the Chinese district, past the Thien Hau Pagoda, the Binh Tay Big Market. Then we visit Saigon's center: Saigon Cathedral, the main post office and the Independence Palace. Next we drive to the town hall, then to the Ben Thanh market, as some want to go shopping, Duc and Ngoc buy their Ao Dai there for the later events. We continue by bus to the War Witness Museum. The exhibits and photographs touch us deeply. They help us to understand the war better. Then we make our way to the women's museum. When we arrive, it is unfortunately lunch break and the museum is closed. The nice security guard lets us in anyway and informs the guide so that she can take us on a tour. As a farewell, everyone receives a pin with the museum's logo as a souvenir. We also visit the largest pagoda in Saigon called Vinh Nghiem. Unfortunately, the main altar hall is closed, so we can only look around the towers and the forecourt. Lunch is served in the pagoda's vegetarian restaurant. To escape the midday heat, we spend the break under the Boddhi tree. We freshen up on the bus for the meeting at the Saigon City Women's Union. Ms. Luong Bach Van - Deputy Chairperson of the National Front, Deputy Chairperson of the "Association for Relations with Vietnamese Abroad", Ms. Ngoc Hanh - Deputy Chairperson of the Women's Union of the City, Ms. Thu Hien - Head of Family and Education Affairs, receive us at the entrance and introduce us to the assembly hall. The subsequent discussion was ceremonial, informative but also open. We are making a donation of 10,000,000 VND for the project “Supporting Poor, Sick Children”. The women in our group donate an additional 7,000,000 VND for the project “Operation of Children with Heart Disease”. The Frauen - Union gives each person a small gift that is made from one of the numerous projects to support women. We visit the Phu My Hung district (the most modern residential center in Saigon) and change our clothes on the bus and prepare for the invitation to the “Spring Meeting of Vietnamese Abroad 2010” from the National Front. There is a cheerful and exuberant atmosphere. Jokes and compliments fly back and forth while changing clothes. When we arrive, Ms. Luong Bach Van gives us a warm welcome, while reporters from various press agencies are besieging us. The interview with Thu and the pictures of our women in Ao Dai were broadcast on different TV channels on the same day. The highlights of the meeting for us were the photo shoot with the deputy mayor of HCM City - Nguyen Thanh Tai and the performance of To Van with Dam Vinh Hung, a famous pop singer, in front of an audience. We all enjoy the buffet with thirty different dishes. Our German friends are eating mashed potatoes with Asian side dishes and main dishes for the first time. 21:30 we arrive home. We exchange our first experiences in Saigon. Thu waits until everyone goes to sleep so that she can finally keep a travel diary. She works on it until four o'clock while everyone else falls into a coma-like sleep. 04.03.2010 For breakfast there is Pho bo made by Dong. On this day we will visit the Mekong Delta. First we go by boat on the Tien Giang River to an island. There we drink longan pollen tea with honey and listen to traditional music performed by three singers. These singers are so graceful in their facial expressions and gestures, which is characteristic of the women of the Mekong Delta. Then we have a look at the orchards in the region and take the canoes back along the canal to the main river. The canal is lined with water coconut trees. At the river we switch to the big boat, drink fresh coconut juice and drive to Lan Island, where we are introduced to the production of coconut substances. Last we go to the Phung Islands. On the way there is a traditional vocal performance by Van "Chèo" and To Van. On Phung Island we get to know a cultural phenomenon of the Mekong Delta, namely a 20th century thinker Nguyen Thanh Nam, who founded the Dua religion (the coconut stands for modesty). Around 1 p.m. we arrive at Buu Lam Co Tu (pagoda). This pagoda is very close to Ms. Tuong's family. The great-grandfather was the main monk of the pagoda. The family donated a lot to help build the pagoda. The reigning main monk welcomes us and invites us to a vegetarian meal. The food is a feast for us. Then we return to Ms. Tuong's house to freshen up. In the evening we will visit the Phu Nhuan Theater and watch the play “The Tears of the Crazy”. This piece reflects the social problems through a family drama. The actors are excellent. After the performance we meet the actors and take souvenir photos with them. We take two taxis to dinner. We arrive home around 2am. We didn't go to sleep there straight away, but talk about the play into the early hours of the morning. Thu works through the diary again. 05.03.2010 After two hours of sleep we get up again and take the bus to Tay Ninh, the holy place of the Cao Dai devotees. Ms. Tuong has prepared baguettes for us so that we can have breakfast on the bus. On the way to the holy site of Cao Dai, we pass Nga's mother-in-law in Cu Chi. The old lady is very pleased with our visit and has given us coconuts to drink. On the way our bus collided with a power pole. The emergency braking causes chaos in the bus. Thu almost flew out of the car's windshield. In Cu Chi we visit the historical Cu Chi tunnel system and get to know the defense systems of the Vietnamese in the war against the US Army. Here we can understand the true nature of war. Through this visit we learn to appreciate the peace, freedom and unification of a people. Van Cheo is the only one who descends into the old, very narrow entrance to the underground city. We arrive a little late at the sacred site of the Cao Dai devotees. But we can still witness the lunchtime rituals. The sacred buildings of this religion are extremely colorful and splendid. The first Buddha, Jesus Christ, Jade Kaiser, Victor Hugo, Montesquieu, Lao zi, Jiang Zi Ya, Boddhisattva, Guan Gong, Sun Yatsen and other historical figures are venerated as saints in this religion. On the way to Saigon we stop by Cu Chi again and visit Huong's family. We experienced a very warm welcome from her parents. There we get to know life in the countryside in the south of Vietnam. We arrive in Saigon around 5 p.m. At 7 p.m. we are invited to dinner with Dung, Thus Cousin. At this meeting, we toasted with sparkling wine brought from Germany. Katharina is performing a piece on her violin. Dung cooks more than ten seafood and vegetable dishes for the standing buffet. We will return to Ms. Tuong's house later. That evening, Ms. Tuong goes home early to make preparations for the next day. Thu works again until four o'clock that night. 06.03.2010 From today we will leave Saigon towards the north. Before our arrival, Ms. Tuong personally inspected and checked all the hotels on our route. Around 7 in the morning we bring our luggage downstairs, say goodbye to Ms. Tuong's family and thank her for her hospitality. Then we drive to Buon Me Thuot, the capital of Daklak Province. Because of the many construction sites, the journey takes 11 hours. Shortly before Saigon we stop at the Dai Nam Recreation Park. The climate in Daklak is very dry, the red bazan soil can be seen everywhere. The mineral-rich composition of the earth makes Buon Me Thuot an ideal place to plant coffee, cashew, rubber and pepper. We use the break in between to visit a plantation. For the first time we learn that the cashew core grows outside the fruit and develops as the first part of the fruit. Ms. Tuong has provided food. For breakfast there is sticky rice with gac fruit and chicken. For lunch, rice balls with dried meat and beans tossed in oil. After a long journey we arrive in Buon Me Thuot around 6 p.m. We stay at Trung Nam Hotel. The hotel is comfortably furnished. After checking in at the reception, we freshen up in the room and then go to a music event of the ethnic minority E ’De. In this cultural event we are introduced to traditional dances and songs of this ethnic group. It is very interesting to get to know a completely different culture in Vietnam. Then several of us go to dinner. This is how we experienced Buon Me Thuot during the night. Thu and Conni work on the blog until the morning hour, without success. Since everyone knows that our travel diary is eagerly awaited in Germany, the two are very angry about the fruitless work. 07.03.2010 At 6:30 am we check in our rooms. We put the luggage on the bus and drive to the restaurant for breakfast. Then we drive to the cemetery of the ethnic minority M ’Nong. The traditional tombs of the minorities in Tay Nguyen (Central Vietnamese highlands) are equipped with totems. The totems are divided into three groups: animal figures, scenes from everyday life and sacred symbols. There we visit the graves of two famous elephant hunters. We continue to Ban Don. On the way there the tour guide Ms. Viet explained the culture of the minorities and showed us the tree of the ethnic minorities, the Konia tree, which is typical of the highlands. Ban Don is well known for elephant hunting and taming. We walk over a bamboo suspension bridge that crosses the Serepoc River to the elephants. Many of us go on elephant rides there. The ride goes over the river into the village. The river landscape is very idyllic. We take many photos as a souvenir. For the first time, our German friends hear the sonata of summer in nature, the cicada song. There are also cicadas in the countryside in Germany, but none of them has ever heard such loud singing. Then we drive back to the city of Buon Me Thuot and buy Buon Me Thuot's specialties: coffee, pepper, can schnapps, etc. We say goodbye to the guide and thank you for her informative explanations. Then we go to lunch. There are self-made portions. After lunch we say goodbye to Buon Me Thuot and make our way to Nha Trang. The journey takes five and a half hours. We have to cross the dangerous and long Phuong Hoang Pass. Once in Nha Trang, the entire group surprises the Phuong family with a short visit. Phuong's mother was very happy about our "attack". Then we drive to the Hotel Phuong Nhung, check in, freshen up and go to dinner around 7:30 p.m. We eat a specialty from Nha Trang in the evening (nem nuong Ninh Hoa). The rest of the day is free. Many of us walk the streets of Nha Trang to absorb the life here. Some take the cyclo for a city tour. Others make themselves comfortable on the beach. Thu and Duc work on the travel diary until after four today. We hope that we will manage to post on the blog tomorrow. But now to bed. Because tomorrow we can expect an island tour off Nha Trang and more experiences with the culture of Vietnam. 08.03.2010 Today we meet around 8:30 in the hotel foyer. A tour of the island followed by a swim in the sea is planned. For the first time Thu was late because on the one hand she was too tired, on the other hand no one woke her. It was also the first time that we had to take care of our breakfast ourselves. Some eat baguettes, others indulge in a hot pho noodle soup. According to our German friends, they couldn't imagine having hot soup for breakfast. However, they have found a liking and a taste for pho. Before departure, there are also problems with Conni's flight ticket, so Thu still has to make phone calls with the airline. After about half an hour late, we make our way to the port. Our nice, young and very humorous tour guide with the stage name Chin wishes us the best for International Women's Day and accompanies us to the port, where we get off the bus and board the ship "Tu Hai 07". We bring fruit, drinks and corn on the cob just in case. Today is To Van's birthday. As a congratulations, we sing her birthday songs. Our first stop on today's tour is Mun Island. For the first time we experience the deep blue, clear water through which one can see the coral reefs. Many of us went straight into the water and didn't want to come out despite the heat. Conni dives in the sea for a while with snorkeling goggles and comes out of the water enthusiastically to report how beautiful the parrot fish are. Anna - Katharina takes the time for a walk on the beach and explores the vegetation on the island. After bathing, we take a glass-bottom boat so that we can see the seabed with all the coral reefs and the fish even on dry land. Unfortunately, our tour guide has to stay on the island to take care of the groups' belongings. The coral reefs of Nha Trang are among the most beautiful in the world. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that the coral reefs are very close to the coast. The colorful underwater world persuaded Ngoc, Dong, Huong, Duc, Hien and To Van to do a lightning dive. We return to the island of Mun to pick up our things and head out to sea to do the dive. Unfortunately, To Van has to cancel the dive because she cannot handle the oxygen cylinder. The four of them come out of the water to raging applause. Immediately afterwards there is lunch on the ship. It was planned that after dinner we would go to the pier on the island of Mot to have fun with the guests of other ships. Since the dive was put off schedule, we unfortunately missed the singing event. Instead, a dancer flew in from Thailand for International Women's Day, who dances on swim rings and pours alcohol for guests who want to take part.Dong and Hien attract the attention of all the guests by doing a hot dance. Guests dance on the ship, some swim in the open sea while drinking wine. The women of the Vinaphunu Asiaticus got tired of the hustle and bustle after a while and decided to do some water sports. With a kite umbrella, they can be pulled by a motorboat and fly over the water. Nga, Dong, Ngoc, Huyen Van are the only ones participating. Unfortunately, Nga injured his knees and elbows at the start. Nevertheless, she is very enthusiastic about this sport. Our tour takes us next to Soi Island. The island's beach is littered with pebbles. The waves are big, so women can sunbathe on the beach. Since most of the cameras either ran out of batteries or fell into the water, we bring a photographer on the fly to have us take souvenir photos. He brings the photos to the hotel in the evening. After an hour we get back into the boat and drive to our last stop on the island tour. We visit a small aquarium on this island. There are some extraordinary fish there that many of us have never seen before. We return to the port after an exciting island tour, say goodbye to the friendly guide Chin, and take the bus back to the hotel. Some head to Dam Market to pick up gifts and souvenirs for friends and family. In the market, Vancheo steps on a sharp splinter of wood and closes a wound. The wound is so deep that the bleeding continued for a long time. After a short visit to the pharmacist, the women gather at the hotel to have dinner together. We are surprised by a bouquet of flowers from Saigon on Women's Day from Rang Dong, Ms. Tuong's son. To Van invites everyone to eat bun ca (noodle fish soup) with her. After dinner, Thu informs the group about the program for the next few days. The rest of the evening is free. Some of the group gather in front of the hotel to share the day's experience. Some go to the hair salon to relax. The night is coming, the bed is calling. Tomorrow we will spend the night on the bus for the first time. Therefore we, Thu and Duc, will “only” work until half past twelve for today. Maybe we'll get up at five tomorrow morning to watch the sun rise over Nha Trang. Everything else in the next episodes. 03/09/2010 Some of us start the last day in Nha Trang on the beach. It was planned that we would experience the sunrise together. Since many turned night into day yesterday, only Lê and Hoàn treat themselves to this experience. We leave the Hotel Phuong Nhung around 10 am and drive to the "Church on the Mountain" or "Stone Church". The church is located on the mountain Bông and is approximately 38 meters higher than the other buildings in the area. We take the footpath to the church and admire the bonsai plants that have been set up on the edge of the path. On the right wall of the path there are memorial plaques of deceased members of the Catholic community. Then we visit the sanctuary of the Cham people, the "Cham Towers Po Nagar". The facility is located at the mouth of the Cái River and the sea and is divided into three areas. The entrance gate in the first area has unfortunately been destroyed. In the second area two rows of octagonal columns have been preserved. According to the guidebook, offerings may have been prepared in this area earlier. The Po Nagar towers are in the third area up the stairs on a hill. Today's Cham people originally come from the Champa people, who were influenced by Hinduism. The towers are dedicated to the Hindu gods. Since the Boddhi leaf is a symbol of Hinduism, it can be seen all over the towers. With the Chams, only the priestly caste had access to the holy places and only the high priest alone was allowed to enter the premises. Therefore the entrances were kept very small. Scientists have not yet found an explanation for the seamless construction of the towers. None of the theories put forward have been confirmed. After the tour our women visit the souvenir shop as always. Nha Trang is also famous for its precious sandalwood products. Our women buy sandalwood jewelry and decorations as gifts for family and friends. They are also very enthusiastic about the sand paintings made by an artist who is the only one in Nha Trang to do sand painting. The final destination in Nha Trang is Long Son Pagoda. The pagoda was built over 100 years ago. From the main building of the pagoda we walk 193 stairs to the top of the Trai Thuy Hill, where the largest seated Buddha statue (Kim Than Phat To) in Vietnam can be seen in the open air. Buddha was depicted in the position of teaching. The statue is 21 meters high and sits on a lotus pedestal that was built 7 meters high so that it can be seen from the ships ahead. Below the statue are paintings of seven monks who burned themselves alive during the time of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in protest against the suppression of Buddhism. After the "strenuous" climb down, we storm the stalls with sugar cane juice and fresh tofu in ginger syrup. The sellers are of course very happy about our “thirst”, as they sell their entire range of drinks through us. On the way to Hoi An we will take a break at Dai Lanh Beach, walk on a secluded beach and take souvenir photos. Then we continue our journey to Hoi An. This is the first time that we sleep on the bus for the night. We spend the long journey singing. Lê presents a performance that amazed us all. Hoan sings her favorite song "Tau anh qua nui" and everyone sings or hums along. It turned out to be a very amusing evening. On this evening the group membership can be clearly felt. Sáu, one of the bus drivers is entranced and sings us songs from his region and a "self-composed song" based on the melody of the song Kachiusa. Everyone admires his talent for singing and writes down the lyrics to remember him. 03/10/2010 With several stops on the way we survived the 14 hour drive from Nha Trang to Hoi An. Thu stays up with the drivers most of the night to motivate them. Nga represents Thu for an hour so that Thu can lie down briefly. Around 3 o'clock in the morning we have a flat tire in Tam Ky. While the women continue to sleep in the bus, our bus drivers have to change tires and take the opportunity to drink coffee. Thu meets her cousins ​​here, whom she has not seen for over twenty years and who have been waiting for her most of the night. Since Thu has a sore throat, her cousins ​​are supposed to bring her a bottle of salt water to gargle with. But because they couldn't find any salt at home, they bring soup broth dissolved in water with them, since they assume that it also contains salt. For Thu this is an experience that you shouldn't have a second time in life, and it gives others the opportunity to laugh again until they have a stomachache. After everything has been settled, we continue to an unscheduled destination, Quang Nam. We visit the temple town of My Son of the Cham people. The site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This area was bombed by American airmen during the war, so that unfortunately almost everything was destroyed. Restoration work is particularly difficult due to the unclear construction method of the Cham. Of the 70 temples that were discovered at the beginning of the century, only a little more than 30 are now partially preserved. Here we find this seamless Cham construction again. One of the many theories is that the temples were completed before they were covered with earth and then completely burned again so that the bricks can "grow together". We attend a Cham dance performance. Anna Katharina in particular admires the grace of the dancers and the technique of the old Cham musician. We then drive to our actual destination: Hoi An. Around noon we arrive at our hotel, which is about 10 minutes' walk from the old town. Opposite our hotel is a temple dedicated to Confucius. Because of the long night on the bus, Thu has given us two hours of rest as an exception before we get together and go to the old town. Some have used the time to lie down. We later found out from our German friends that they also slept soundly. Hoi An is located 30 km southeast of Da Nang. Between the 16th and 19th centuries and especially during the Nguyen Dynasty, Hoi An was a flourishing port city in South Vietnam. The atmosphere in Hoi An is very idyllic and nostalgic. The people are peaceful and graceful. The existence of the city of Hoi An, whose old buildings and traditional customs have been preserved and passed on for centuries, is unique in Vietnam and very rarely found in the world. It is a living museum about ancient architecture and urban life. We go to the old town together, have some group photos taken at an old covered pagoda bridge. This bridge is the symbol of Hoi An. There are two statues of monkeys at the beginning of the bridge and two statues of dogs at the end. This symbolizes the beginning and the end of the bridge's construction period. There we split up so that everyone can inquire about the city according to their interests. Our small group observes a religious ceremony of a community and strolls through the small and large alleys. Here Thu gets some inspiration for the next Tetfest exhibition. We were warmly recommended by friends to visit the small café by the water in the evening, which exudes a nostalgic atmosphere. In the evening the city was illuminated by lanterns, which gives you the feeling that you are right in the middle of the past. Back to the future, in the late evening, many women in our group set off and storm the street restaurants in Hoi An. On the way back to the hotel we see our German friends in a cafe with large and small souvenir bags. If we weren't too wrong, our wallets have become a lot lighter, as the tailor service in Hoi An is breathtakingly fast, cheap and good. Many bought lanterns, others bought jewelry. Duc has a pair of shoes made that were delivered early the next morning. The day in Hoi An was colorful and eventful. We recommend every Vietnam visitor to put Hoi An on their travel route! 03/11/2010 Today we drive to the old imperial capital Hue. On the way to Hue we make a stop in Da Nang and visit Ngu Hanh Son, the Five Element Mountains. The five mountains were named after the five elements; Metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Due to time constraints, we only visit Thuy Son, the water mountains. This mountain range has three peaks. Pagodas and caves can be visited on each peak. Particularly beautiful are Chua Non Nuoc, the pagoda of the mountains and the river, and Dong Huyen Khong, the cave of mystery. In this cave the Buddhist statues are carved directly into the stones of the mountains. There are many natural stone formations on the ceiling of the cave that let visitors see something else such as elephant heads. Anna Katharina is so fascinated by the drums in the cave that she started to drum right away. At the foot of the mountain is a sculpture village. We visit a sculptor's workshop, buy souvenirs there and finally make our way to Hue. We arrive in Hue around noon. We immediately made our way to Tu Hieu Pagoda. The presiding monk of the Pho Da pagoda in Berlin, who has a friendship with VINAPHUNU, grew up in this pagoda. The name of this pagoda, Tu Hieu, was given by King Minh Mang of the Nguyen Dynasty. Translated it means “Pagoda of Childhood”. It goes back to the true story of a monk who, because of his mother, accepted the sin of killing (slaughtering animals) so that his mother could be cured of her illness. As a result, Emperor Ming Mang was so touched that he had the pagoda where the monk lived expanded and renamed the pagoda. Then we visit the tomb of the fourth king of the Nguyen Dynasty, Tu Duc. Tu Duc thought of his “house after death” at an early age. He had the facility built shortly after his accession to the throne and was the only king of the Nguyen Dynasty to use this facility during his lifetime. Tu Duc was also a poet. Its layout is very idyllic and romantic, there are many hundred-year-old Francipani trees that bloom all year round. He was also the only king of the Nguyen dynasty who did not have a descendant of his own, so that after his death his foster sons were named king one after the other. Historically, the Tu Duc tomb has become famous due to the uprising during its construction. The complex was originally called Cung Van Nien, which means “Palace of Eternity”. After the uprising, it was renamed the Khiem Cung, Palace of Humility. The names of all 50 buildings contain the word "khiem" (humility). We check into the hotel in the early evening and after half an hour we go to the port of the Perfume River, get on a boat and watch the "ca Hue" performance. "Ca Hue" is a traditional form of singing and traditional instrument accompaniment that can only be found in Hue. It is the bridge between court and folk music. We use the break in the performance to let water lanterns into the river. It is believed that then his wishes will come true. After the enchanting performance we go to a small snack bar and eat Hue's specialties there, banh bot loc, banh beo and banh nam. Unfortunately, Nhung and Thuy Van could not travel with us, but they still gave us money so that we could get together can do something as if they were there. You have therefore donated this meal. Immediately afterwards we sent our German friends to drink coffee and eat “trung vit lon”, duck eggs, a Vietnamese delicacy. Only Anna Katharina stayed with us. We still have to ask them about their "experience". Afterwards we walk on the historic Trang Tien Bridge to experience Hue in the evening. After that, we will return to the hotel to rest for tomorrow. 03/12/2010 Some of us are having breakfast today with other specialties from Hue; bun bo gio heo, a type of rice noodle soup with beef and pork knuckle, or com hen, rice with clam soup. Then we cleared our room. Around 8 a.m. we drive to visit the Citadel and the Forbidden City of Hue. We first visited the Ngo Mon Gate, which was built south of the citadel in 1833. This is the main gate and the largest gate. Translated it means "the gate of the zenith" or "the gate in the direction of the horse", which means "the direction of the ruler" according to the Asian philosophy. The citadel in Hue was modeled after the "Forbidden City" in Beijing. It is divided into three areas. Each area is protected by walls and moats. The innermost area is the Forbidden City, where only the king and his family were allowed to enter. The citadel was badly damaged by the war and art theft. The reconstruction work is still in progress, so we cannot visit the Forbidden City, for example. The next destination in Hue is the Thien Mu Pagoda (Pagoda of the Heavenly Ancients). It is the oldest, largest and most beautiful pagoda in Hue. Prince Nguyen Hoang built this pagoda after dreaming of an old woman who predicted that a true ruler would come to Hue. Nguyen Hoang then said that he supported her, and that he would one day take control of the country. Later the Thien Mu Pagoda was raised to the group of 20 Hues sights by the Thieu Tri King. At noon we drive to the Dong Ba market and eat there in a street bar. Since one bar is lined up next to the other, we were fought over by the owners. Then we take our time and go shopping. Afterwards we visit long Khai Dinh, the tomb of the 12th king of the Nguyen Dynasty. The Khai Dinh grave complex unites the culture of the west and the east. You can see influences from Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, elements from the European, East Asian and West Asian regions. The last attraction that we visit in Hue is the tomb of the Ming Mang king. Ming Mang was the king who had the most wives and children in the Nguyen Dynasty. Unfortunately, he had not seen the completion of this facility. So far it has not been found out where the king is. The tomb itself is only 18 hectares in size. But the forbidden zone extended to 475 hectares. What is certain is that the king was buried in this area. We leave the city of Hue towards Ninh Binh. There are five dinner dates with five different families until the next morning. Our first destination is a farming family who are related by marriage to Ms. Tuong and who live outside the city of Hue. We take the bus to their "Million Star Restaurant" in the middle of nowhere and are so touched by their hospitality and warmth that everyone has arrived, despite the knowledge that more food is waiting for us. The hostess sings the song “Hue thuong” as a farewell.This experience touched us all deeply. The simplicity of the people and the poor living conditions have not only not weakened their friendliness, but are many times more pronounced. We say goodbye to the family and continue to our next meeting. We arrive around 9 p.m. in Dong Ha, a small provincial town near Hue. Dong Ha is the capital of Quang Tri Province, which was a hard-fought area during the war. There we are received by Thuy's (Vinh) family. Unfortunately, Thuy was unable to take part in this trip for family reasons. However, she expressly sent us the invitation from her parents. We are warmly welcomed there by your entire family. Her parents live with her brother's family. They have prepared chicken rice soup and made a lot of regional specialties, so that we can take away food by the bag. Unfortunately, Sáu and Kim cannot find a parking space in front of the house, so they have to park the bus somewhere else. So Thuy's mother brings them food to the bus. Thuy's father was the provincial mayor. After retiring, he volunteers for a charity that collects donations for schoolchildren and students from poor families. There we handed over the donation from the children of VINAPHUNU's Vietnamese courses. In addition, the women of the tour group also spontaneously donated money for this organization. After a few hours we say goodbye to them, thank them and get on our way again. 13.03.2010 Around midnight we arrive in Vi Tuyen 17, on the 17th latitude. This was the border when Vietnam was divided into North and South Vietnam in 1954. When we arrived it was so pitch dark that we asked the two nice bus drivers to turn on the bus high beam so that we wouldn't have to visit the memorial in total darkness. We take souvenir photos at the "Vietnamese Berlin Wall" and drive on. Around 1 am we arrive in Dong Hoi. There we visit the family of a former prisoner who was looked after by Elke and Thu during his imprisonment in Germany. One goal of our trip is not only that the women get to know or deepen the culture of the country, but also that communication between people is made possible. Not only the members of the VINAPHUNU are visited, but also the people who indirectly became part of the VINAPHUNU through their work. These visits do not necessarily fall into the friend visits category. However, through our meeting we hope to contribute a part, albeit a tiny one, to reintegration into society. The fact is that convicts who are also released are ostracized in society. Even a little visit can encourage them and perhaps give them an impetus to start a new life. Shortly before 5 o'clock in the morning we arrive in Ha Tinh. Two other former convicts await us there, who have been waiting for us in a cafe on the edge of the highway since 2 a.m. There we are invited by the two of them for coffee. We talked to them for a long time. But one sentence from the two touched us deeply, "Men like us are never allowed to cry, but now there are tears in our hearts." We took a lunch break in Thanh Hoa. Elke and Vân chèo grabbed the opportunity to wash their hair and have their head massaged. After lunch we drive to Ninh Binh. Ninh Binh is famous for its Phat Diem Church, which was built in 1891. When Catholicism came to Ninh Binh, the Catholic Church had a house of worship built in the form of the Buddhist pagoda. It was thought that the potential followers would get used to the new religion more easily in a familiar environment. After we visited the church, it got dark. We continue by bus to the Bai Dinh pagoda complex. It's a shame that we can't admire the beautiful river mountain landscape in the dark. When we arrive we are the last visitors. Pressed by the people from the region and tired from the trip, we unfortunately cannot visit the pagoda complex. For the second time, Ms. Tuong is giving us money back from the travel budget. So far we have been reimbursed a total of 150 euros of the 900 euros travel expenses paid in advance. Ms. Tuong has always calculated the costs so that we always get the best at the lowest price. She is truly an excellent business woman, and many whisper that Ms. Tuong has the ability to even order the right weather for the trip. We arrive in Hanoi late in the evening. We check into the Hotel King Crown. Some of us from Hanover drive home to their families for the night. Sáu and Kim again struggled to find a parking space for the bus. Because our hotel is in the center and there is no parking space for large cars. The two of them return starved at 1:30 in the morning. Restaurants in Hanoi unfortunately close much earlier than in Saigon. 14.03.2010 Today Duc is leaving the group for one day for family reasons. Thu takes on the translation work for our German friends again, so that in addition to being a “travel guide”, she is also an interpreter, photographer and filmmaker in one. In the morning the group goes to Hanoi for breakfast for the first time. There is delicious wonton soup with crab meat. Then we tackle the first sight of the capital. First we go to visit the Schwertsee from the hotel. We take souvenir photos in Ly Thai To's memorial, the first king of the Ly Dynasty, who founded the capital Thang Long (now Hanoi) 1000 years ago. Since it is very difficult to take the bus in Hanoi in the old town, we go on foot from Ly Thai To's memorial to visit the Sword Lake. The shore of the Schwertsee is covered with weeping willows, phoenix and Loc Vung trees. This gives the Schwertsee a very romantic effect. We walk over The Huc Bridge (Sunshine Bridge) to the Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain Temple), which is dedicated to Van Xuong, a literary star, and Tran Hung Dao, a hero in the 13th century. At the entrance to the bridge there is a pillar symbolizing a writing brush that draws a picture "on the blue sky" (ta thien thanh). After a short stay at the Schwertsee, which we used to admire the turtle tower (thap rua) in the lake and to take photos, we make our way to Van Mieu (the temple of literature), Quoc Tu Giam (the first university of VNs ). Van Mieu with Quoc Tu Giam are one of Hanoi's historical cultural heritage. The plant is located in the south of the old capital Thang Long of the Ly Dynasty. If we look at the 1000 year old tradition of Hanoi, the Temple of Literature is indispensable. Van Mieu is a temple dedicated to Confucius, his disciples and Chu Van An, the first university rector of Quoc Tu Giam. Quoc Tu Giam is unfortunately no longer completely preserved today. Van Mieu was built in 1070 and was also the first school for the royal family. It was not until 1076 that Ly Nhan Tong Quoc had Tu Giam built next to Van Mieu. Initially, enrollment was reserved for the royal family and members of the aristocratic class. From the Tran Dynasty onwards, the university was made accessible to every good student from the lower classes. Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam is a very harmonious, calm and beautiful facility, an environment ideal for studying and researching. Today pupils and students usually make a pilgrimage here before an important exam to pray for happiness and success. When we pass through the Dai Trung Gate, we come to the Khue Van Cac (a covered terrace dedicated to the Star of Literature). Khue Van Cac is very unusual, yet simple and elegant. The terrace is supported by four pillars below. The stairs lead to the terrace, which is made of wood and carved with floral motifs. The round window and the wooden beams around the window symbolize the literary star. Via the Dai Thanh Gate (Gate of Success) we cross the large forecourt to the temple of Confucius and his disciples. Then we drive to Chua Mot Cot (the one-pillar pagoda). This pagoda was built in the Ly Dynasty to pray for good luck and long life for the king. This pagoda is one of the most architecturally extraordinary buildings under monument protection in Hanoi. Together with Khue Van Cac, the pagoda is also part of the cityscape. Both are Hanoi's landmarks. Our next destination is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Due to time constraints, we only have souvenir photos taken in front of the mausoleum and drive straight to the Quan Thanh Temple, which is just around the corner. Quan Thanh Temple is one of the four Daoist temples in Hanoi, which is dedicated to Huyen Thien Tran Vu, a legendary figure of the city. In this temple stands the Tran Vu bronze statue, which was cast in 1667 and is 3.69 meters high and weighs almost 4 tons. The statue is in the sitting position with hair loose, barefoot, the fingers of the left hand in the shamanistic position, the right hand holds a magic sword that is entwined by a snake and stands on a turtle. This position is typical for a Daoist. The statue is unique in Vietnam and symbolizes the pinnacle of bronze casting in Vietnam. Unfortunately we cannot visit Phu Tay Ho (West Lake Temple), although we are already nearby, because our big bus cannot turn around in the small streets. The West Sea Temple is dedicated to Mother Lieu Hanh, one of the four immortal heroines of Vietnam. It is also one of the extraordinary sights around the West Lake. In the past, palaces were built around the Westsee (also called Nebelsee) for the royal family. On nice days the citizens could watch the king in his golden dragon boat with his concubines on the lake. Our last destination in Hanoi is the Tran Quoc Pagoda, which is also located on the West Lake. It is one of the most beautiful pagodas around the West Lake. Since we will part with the two bus drivers Sáu and Kim the next morning, Hien invites the whole group and the two to eat banh tom (sweet potato pancakes with shrimp). Banh tom is Hanoi's specialty. It reminds us of wartime, when banh tom was a luxury. Then the day is free to design. Most of the participants explore the old town while Thu goes to buy books for VINAPHUNU. She manages to buy 50 kg of books in Hanoi within a few hours. The Old Quarter of Hanoi is the center of Thang Long, which is around 100 hectares in size and was located in the east of the old city area. The houses in the old town were also called hose houses, which were built very narrow, but deep and relatively low. This came from the regulation that the houses could not be built higher than the royal litter. The street names were named after the goods offered and the professional communities. The houses are now a listed building. Life in the old town is very colorful and varied with various festivals and ceremonies that take place in the many temples and pagodas. In the evening, many of the group meet and have coffee together. You see Conni, Elke and Susanne walking back to the hotel overloaded with bags. That evening, to the horror of everyone, Thu left her bag in a café. It was only when we were sitting in a street snack bar selling snails that she noticed the loss. With the help of her friend, however, she gets the bag back from the three waiters. By chance we meet a well-known actor / cabaret artist. We talk to him, take souvenir photos and exchange phone numbers. Then we go back to the hotel, amused. 03/15/2010 We have combined all official visits on this day, so that we have to leave the hotel very early. We, Sáu and Kim are invited to breakfast by Hoan. Then we say goodbye to our two nice bus drivers from Sai Gon. Most of us sent the excess baggage resulting from the trip by bus to Ms. Tuong's house in Sai Gon. Our first meeting is the editorial staff of the newspaper "Phu Nu" (Vietnamese for women). This newspaper is the spokesman for the "Central Women's Union" of Vietnam. The house publishes 5 newspapers and magazines. VINAPHUNU has been reported on several times in this publishing house, many articles by Thu and our members have been printed here. After an intimate conversation with the editor-in-chief, Ms. Thuc Hanh and the journalists, we hand over the donation from the calligraphy exhibition for the Tet Festival 2009 for the Agent Orange victims and then go with them to the Central Women's Union. We are received there by the chairwoman of the “Central Women's Union”, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa and her staff, Ms. Duc Hien and Ms. Tran Thi Lan and other journalists. After the official announcement and exchange of information, Ms. Thanh Hoa thanks the Berlin Senate Department for Women for the financial support of VINAPHUNU over the years. She is of course happy if the German government continues to provide this support. After the conversation we take souvenir photos and say goodbye with their promise that they will have to visit us when they come to Berlin. After this meeting, we will go to the Museum of the History of the Vietnamese Army. The director of the museum invites us to lunch there. Mai (Vinh), a member of VINAPHUNU, is the daughter of director Le Ma Luong. Mr. Le Ma Luong is a general who influenced generations of young people in war with his propaganda slogan. There was bun cha, cha la lot, rice noodle with grilled meat and grilled meat and herbs to eat. Then the general and his staff receive us personally. After a conversation in which we asked him many interesting questions, we visit the museum and take souvenir photos with the general at the flag tower of Hanoi. The flag tower is Hanoi's symbol, the beginning of the 19th Jds. and was in the area of ​​the old government district of Thang Long. Then we have to drive to the WWF office. WWF Greater Mekong has a new managing director, Mr. Ramesh. Of course, he is very surprised by a group of Vietnamese women who have come from Germany. Especially since we are concerned with environmental issues and have organized exhibitions to collect donations and to hand them over personally at WWF in Vietnam. We gave them an album with photos of the exhibitions. VINAPHUNU's "sudden" interest in environmental protection was awakened by Aymi Tran and Nemanja Vucicevic, who won first place in the WWF competition in October 2008 to design an advertising campaign for the protection of rare animal species. It is a motivation for Mr. Ramesh to do his work better and also the confirmation that the work of WWF has reached the population. After we have said goodbye to WWF, the time until departure to Sapa is free. At around 7.30 p.m., the Thang tour guide picks us up from the hotel. We drive together to the train station, get on the train and drive to Lao Cai in the sleeping compartment. Shortly before departure, a misunderstanding led to a dispute, which, thank God, can be resolved while driving. March 16, 2010 We arrive in Lao Cai at around 4 o'clock in the morning. Many of us were woken up in surprise when funny accidents occurred. Like, for example, that Hien wrongly put on the trousers from the thin Lê, or Duc walked around with the t-shirt on the wrong way round all day. We wait about an hour at the train station, pass the time chatting and take the car from Viettravel to Sapa, to the hotel. Sapa