As I left my hotel room early in the morning I decided to take one last photo of the back streets of Hue.
As we sat at the gate after having had a look at the few duty free shops I started playing with a couple of siblings and ended up having a good time before boarding the flight.
We were welcomed by a rather serious looking guide who took us straight into a restaurant once we made it through the dense traffic outside Hanoi city.
Our scheduled visits were slightly adjusted so we sonn made it to the Ba Dinh square where a heavy grey structure, Ho Chi Minh's last resting place stood out. Considered as "ponderous and unappealing" the mausoleum's exterior was nevertheless impressive, especially because the closest outstanding building was just across it- The National Assembly building significantly constrasting with it in architectural terms.
Stern-looking guards stood outside the Mausoleums's entrance, which we couldn't get close to. Being an important pilgrimage site for the Vienamese it was one we would be visiting the following morning.
As we turned left we came across the Presidential Palace, a typical example of the French-Colonial style, Ho Chi Minh himself believed to be too grand for him on becoming President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, this being the reason he opted to live in a 1954 house and later a wooden stillt-house built in a corner of the Palace's extensive grounds.
The 1954 House.
Surrounding both houses Ho Chi Minh lived at were carefully tended gardens with weeping willows, mango treees, frangipani and jasmine. Cypress trees' roots could be seen along the fishpond in front of the stillt-house.
The two-storey still house is known and often referred to as Nha Bac (Uncle Ho's House). Underneath it, more precisely next to the stillts were tables and chairs which were used by members of the Politburo during meetings with Ho Chi Minh. We climbed the stairs at the back of the house so as to have a glimpse of the study and the bedroom, both rather spartan in their approach.
The whole atmosphere was serene and we couldn't help but praise this incredible person's modest way of living, as he dedicated himself to a whole nation.
We walked around and unexpectedly found ourselves facing the back of the Mausoleum, as impressive as its front.