Violet Versus Vietnam

Violet's sporadically-updated Vietnam blog documenting her year of teaching English in Tra Vinh and further adventures in Da Lat

I wear a hat and go on an adventure: secret shrine edition

Two-face!

Two-face!

The shrine of Nguyen Huu Hao -- father of Nam Phuong, the last empress of Vietnam -- is half-hidden in a pine forest on the edge of Da Lat. The internet informs me that his official title was "Pierre Nguyen Huu Hao, Duke [or possibly Marquis] of Long-My," but not much else, other than that he was very wealthy and very Catholic, and Nam Phuong had the shrine built in 1939. I'm sure that the ancient groundskeeper who lives in a hut at the foot of the hill knows some more secrets, but he was very busy sharpening a machete and didn't want to talk to me. 

Ten million billion treacherous steps covered in slippery pine needles.

Ten million billion treacherous steps covered in slippery pine needles.

The shrine is pretty much deserted and in the process of being eaten by the forest, but, rather than feeling abandoned and spooky like so many other old places here, it's peaceful. Enchanted. Maybe it was just the stone lions, but the place gives me Asian Narnia vibes. I really wouldn't have been surprised if a goat-man had suddenly popped out from behind a tree. 

roof sprouts

roof sprouts

Picnic time

Picnic time